Does everyone have a Soulmate?
Many people believe there is only one right person for them to marry. This person is often called a soulmate or other half. I have met people who say they are married to their soulmate, and I see no reason to doubt them. So I have evidence that some people have soulmates. I do not know, however, whether everyone has a soulmate; maybe some do and maybe others don’t. Many people think the whole idea of a soulmate is a fantasy or over-romanticization, but I think careful consideration of the concept shows it is not that comforting.
The classical description of the soulmate idea is in Plato’s dialogue The Symposium. Here, the Greek philosopher says that people were originally totally round creatures, like balls. Unfortunately, we angered the gods and were split apart into two. Since then each half has been trying to find its other half. Plato describes romantic love as the feeling that results from finding your other half.
For many people, romantic love feels so intense it does feel like finding a part of you. In his novel The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks describes the main character of the novel as feeling he had been searching for his other half through many lifetimes. He was so glad to find his soul mate, that this love could sustain him through the trials of her alzheimer’s disease in which she rarely recognized him. This kind of caring love inspires many people to hope they find their soulmate as they will then indubitably have the one right person for them.
Nevertheless, there are big problems with the whole concept.
First, being in a relationship with a soulmate may be great at the beginning, but what if your soulmate changes significantly? What if to stay married to your soulmate you have to do things that you are utterly opposed to? In Emily Giffin’s novel Baby Proof, the lead character, Claudia, is totally against having babies and meets her soulmate Ben. On their first date she tells him she is totally against babies and he agrees. They are totally in sync in so many ways, and they get married. After a few years of blissful harmony, Ben totally changes and wants a baby. He even says that he will quit his job, stay at home, and do all the nighttime feedings. Still Claudia won’t even consider it as she thinks he is betraying the basis of their relationship by wanting a baby now. After all, their relationship was built on both of them never wanting any babies. They both become very unhappy, but she is not willing to change as she thinks he’s at fault. Only when someone says to her, that if Ben was really your soulmate, you would do anything to get him back as “that’s the nature of soulmates,” does she change. She realizes that soulmates overcome any obstacle to stay together. She has to face that either they are not soulmates or she should change to keep him as that is what soulmates do. She decides to change for him and is willing to have a baby for him.
People may think soulmates mean a Hollywood ending, but the Buddhists are so right when they say that everything changes. In the Emily Giffin novel, the husband changed significantly and if she wanted to keep him she would have to change too. Soulmates may mean you have found an enduring love, but it may also mean you have to make changes you never bargained for, changes that are so profound you never would have started the relationship had you known about them earlier.
An even worse problem with the soulmate idea is that you may find your soulmate, but she might be married to someone else and have his kids. A situation like this happens in Robert James Waller’s novel The Bridges of Madison County. The lead male character, Robert Kincaid, has a great life as a National Geographic photographer. He travels the whole world taking pictures and enjoying romantic interludes along the way. He has money, a fulfilling job, artistic integrity and sensitivity. But then he meets a farmwife in Iowa and they fall deeply in love. They are so deeply in love, that they have a kind of certainty that a love like theirs comes around only once, no matter how many lifetimes someone lives. Nevertheless, she chooses not to leave her family as leaving them would hurt them so much. She says she “can’t tear herself away from the realness of my responsibilities.”
This novel shows you can meet your soulmate and you could end up much worse off than previously. Before Robert Kincaid met his soulmate, he had a great, fulfilling life, afterwards he says he lives in “a world that seems God-abandoned.”
Third, anyone who thinks about it will wonder about the odds of ever finding your soulmate. With six billion or so people alive, why would your soulmate be in the same country, much less the same town? Or if you believe in reincarnation (as Plato does and Nicholas Sparks and Robert James Waller possibly believe in), why would your soulmate be alive at the same time as you, instead of shortly after you die?
These odds of finding your soulmate are considerably improved if you can get a spiritual intuition of where she is. In chapter seven, I talk about getting guidance and advice from spiritual sources. I also describe how over several years I built up a connection to my spiritual intuition and learnt to trust it.
When I was twenty, after I had finished with college, I moved to California. I had no job or living accommodations yet, but I assumed I was going to live there. A few weeks after I arrived, my spiritual intuition advised me to go back right away to my former college town in New Hampshire. In the last few months I had gotten two other messages with advice from spiritual sources and following them had worked out very well. Thus I trusted this intuition even though I had no reason to leave California.
The advice was very clear that I should go back as quickly as possible. I had no job or living arrangements so it was easy to leave California. The harder thing was to spend the last of my money on a plane ticket home. I was somewhat reluctant to fly back when I couldn’t figure out any reason to hurry, and I could easily get a drive-away car. But the advice was clear that I should go back as quickly as possible. Furthermore, whenever I would stop and tell myself to be reasonable, I felt like I was making a mistake in following the current of my river: I felt abandoned on the side of river with no energy left.
I got back to my college town in New Hampshire and one of the first people I ran into was a recent acquaintance. She invited me to her house and I cooked her dinner. It turned out I had shown up a couple days before she was to leave on a week long canoe trip with a guy who was romantically interested in her. But because she met me, she didn’t go on this canoe trip; instead, we spent time together. A few months later, I was in love with her and was sure she was my soulmate; nine months later we were married. A year after that we had our first child. As I write this, we have been married over thirty years.
If I had not gotten that intuition and if I had not followed that advice, I would almost assuredly have missed making a connection with my future wife. In one way I was lucky to have gotten the advice telling me to go back home, in another way, it was a more than just luck. If we stay centered on shallow, surface level things like Bridget Jones or stay focused on our selfish concerns like Scarlett O’Hara, we do not make connection with the deepest and strongest waters in the current of life. But if we get past our individual concerns, and open up to more spiritual forces or beings in the universe, we can find our lives filled with a deeper wonder, joy, and meaning and be led by our spiritual intuition to find our soulmates, if we have one this lifetime.
After this book is written, I am hoping to get it published. It would be helpful if you tell me any questions you may have or any parts that you have found helpful. If you have sections that you do not understand or you think are stupid or misguided, I would very much appreciate if you tell me. It is much better to hear these comments now, when I can easily change things, then later, after I have published a book. I will reflectively consider your concerns and, if warranted, I will change things to incorporate your concerns into the book. You can email me at email@example.com. Please put “About Connections,” into the subject heading of the email.
This book was written by Joseph Waligore with the help of Michelle Stage. Joseph teaches philosophy and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. More information about him can be found at his MySpace profile or his Facebook profile. Michelle works in a bank in St. Paul, Minnesota as a learning consultant and in a Minneapolis night club as a dominatrix.
This website is one of four websites I have. Another one, www.followingtheflow.com is for spiritually oriented people and discusses very similar ideas from a more spiritually oriented perspective. Another one, www.josephwaligore.com is for academically or intellectually oriented people. It has my writings about spiritual philosophies such as Stoicism, Socrates, the Deists, the Enlightenment period, and the rise of modern science. Another one, www.spiritualcritiques.com, has critiques of many popular spiritual teachers and spiritual teachings. It looks at teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Ken Wilber, and Pema Chodron. It also looks at teachings like “All is One,” “The Hundredth Monkey,” and “If it Rings True, it is True.”
There is a Facebook group called Flowing. People interested in meeting other people who are interested in these ideas and/or participating in discussions about these ideas are invited to join the group.
Many people reach this site through keyword advertisements. It might be of interest that Joseph got the money for these ads through his day trading profits.