IMG_0424 (2)Is it that certain look in the eyes? Knowing, intense, unwavering! You know the one. The one that holds us mesmerized. Well, it might be, but probably not. There’s a good deal of that kind of looking going around in young love. And it always seems to diminish over time.

Yet, hasn’t it been said that the eyes are the window to the soul? So if not the eyes, where do we look to find our soulmate? Perhaps it’s in the spoken words or the resonance of the voice that speaks them. I know a couple who talked and talked for hours each day over a three month period, yet never met. No physical allurement clouded their perceptions of the words that were spoken. Yet when they did meet, the bond was magical and all-consuming, and they married before the year was out.

If it is the words, spoken and written, what is the nature of words that can create the soulmate bond? Dreams are articulated, aspirations are expressed, and common experiences are shared. There is a synchronization between individuals that is forged through words. Ever so subtle, yet all so inclusive, a definition of the bond begins to take shape through communicating. And, as additional elements and promising details are added, the bond only grows stronger. Then at some point, the best moments happen when words need not be spoken at all and a knowing look, a different kind of look, serves as the language that cements the contract between the souls. As the country song says, “You say it best, when you say nothing at all”.

If people were honest with themselves they’d admit that they marry for all sorts of reasons, few having anything to do with soul-mate-ness. Many of the reasons are disingenuous, yet perhaps appear to take on the trappings of soul-mate-ness. Three sessions with a therapist, however, or three years of marriage usually reveal the real reasons. There’s the obvious ones (physical attraction, sex, lust, money, etc.) and the less obvious, but more pervasive reasons (loneliness, status, childhood dysfunction, self-esteem issues, tradition, personal expectations, power, etc.). But no matter how long or how unwittingly these reasons endure, they cannot transform into soul-mate-ness.

There are a thousand songs and poems and stories written about soulmates. Either everyone has found one or no one has. Either the lyrics and verses pine for a soulmate lost or pine for a soulmate never found.

“After all the loves of my life,

Oh, after all the loves of my life.

I’ll be thinking of you – and wondering why” – MacArthur Park

 It seems like even if we find one we can’t hold on to him or her. There’s always “the one that got away”, or worse, the one where memory has subconsciously distorted the facts. Or the strange name a person with Alzheimer’s shamelessly calls out in their waning days.

Perhaps human nature, frail as it is, cannot abide a soulmate. After all, having a soulmate implies total vulnerability and exposure. As appealing as having empathic abilities may sound, do any of us really want another individual to be able to see all the secrets of our soul, or perhaps worse yet, us seeing all the likely frightening secrets of our lover’s soul? Is it surprising then that the vast majority of couples close their eyes when making love? It’s just too scary not to do so.

And so, denied a soulmate, we settle for relationships or companionship… or perhaps marriage.

And yet…and yet…and yet we still search. The utmost joy of that soulmate’s look, that word, that touch is an incomparable human experience, filling us with meaning and purpose and unsurpassed peace. And in excruciating contrast, going to our grave, without a soulmate, is perhaps the saddest, loneliest, most disconcerting thing a human being can imagine.

A soulmate is perhaps only a hope, but it’s a hope that people just don’t seem able to live without. “Hope springs eternal”, especially when it comes to soulmates. So a word to the wise; if you find one or the next best thing closest to it, hang on to it with grit and determination.

Somewhere out there, someone’s saying a prayer, that we’ll find each other, in that big somewhere out there” – An American Tail

Do you believe in soulmates?

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