Our journey to love is a lifelong quest. The concept of a "soul mate" has been around forever. Usually referring to a romantic partner bound to you forever, as in the perfect match, the term, however -- whether by fate, destiny, or divine intervention -- is defined differently by different individuals, especially as it is related to the concept of love. In my own journey this is what I've discovered...
Where is it written you can only have ONE soul mate? In yoga, we venture to know the self. On my journey to love, many people who became close friends have blended into my life. And yes, the soul mate, the perfect match, does not always result in perfect harmony. That person can irritate you and yet share beautiful intimacy.
Is it the soul mate who makes us feel "complete," once we have found our "perfect match"? I have come to believe the answer to love, to finding our soul mate, is really finding intimacy within ourselves. If someone provokes irritation in you, this shows a weakness in yourself that needs to be elevated. Use this information as a gift to evolve and grow rather than using it to attack another human being. When a person irritates you, they are giving you a gift to be your best self. Once we accept our own shortcomings, we can find our higher consciousness, and thus wake up to our own full potential.
Try this little exercise. Strive to capture the feeling of love that one of those people holds and invokes in you -- you are beautiful, smart, fulfilled, acknowledged, etc. -- and now claim that feeling as truly your own, not just when that person is around you. It's yours, own it! This practice is most invigorating to me. Can you claim this feeling for yourself, this intimacy, this expression of love, and call it your own?
In the Kabalah it said that before this world existed we were all one big soul of light. When the world was created, we all separated. When we meet certain people and our heart is open enough to receive them, we can see their light; that shared moment before the world existed. It takes us to the remembrance that we were once joined as the same light.
So, how then can we take this journey towards love and make it our own? It's the deep knowing that when your heart is open, you can see clearly the love you have for another human being, including yourself. You embrace all the imperfections, limitations and faults. And yes, it is like being married for 21 years. It is a long journey without a book of instructions. I now see how the love grows, based upon kindness, respect, appreciation, honesty and on generosity of the heart.
Recently, I had a deep conversation with a good friend, the songwriter Marion Loguidice, about keeping the heart open, even when you are hurt. That's the challenge. In Buddhist study, by understanding someone's suffering, it helps us be less judgmental and kinder. It helps in certain places but not always. So different approaches work differently. I do not have all the answers, nor claim to.
"We must sort out what is of value," Marion says. "If we truly wish to love we must constantly be asking the question, Is this idea that I am nursing about you opening my heart or closing it? Because the sad truth is that a life lived with a closed heart is a pitiful life."
And guess what? It is this journey to love that makes life so fulfilling. I do know that keeping your heart open is a full-time job. It keeps you grounded in truth and can lead toward real happiness. For me, this journey for heart-opening started while practicing Kundalini breath work. After an intense practice with Hari Kaur, we all felt like a ball of love and light. Really! I realized then, however, it is impossible to hold it, to grasp it, because, as soon as you do, you lose it. It's a practice you need to do all the time, every day, like strengthening a muscle.
So along the road, on this journey towards love, stop seeing the failure in people. Embrace the feeling of love and hold it close to your open heart and be at peace. And, of course, you must take care of yourself in this process and make sure your values remain intact. For me, the journey towards intimacy and true love includes being honest with myself and accepting my own imperfections first, so that I can be openhearted towards another human being.
We also need to be comfortable with all the mess that comes with another person and love them unconditionally. Being tender with their pain and scars and not judging them, rather loving them enough that they can choose to overcome their samsara or pain is an obstacle we must face on this journey to true love.
Once we embrace this, our messy life, we can become filled with juicy living.
With LOVE and blessings, Osi
P.S. One last thought: Experiment and look into someone's eyes, even a stranger. You might just see their soul.
For more by Osi Mizrahi, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.