Consider These Ten Things Before Declaring You Have Found Your Soulmate

First and foremost a spiritual experience, divine love, the essence of the soulmate experience, is the epitome of love and can also be part of all other loves. Viewed on a continuum, love can be parental, filial, sibling, romantic, humanly, for all sentient beings, universal, or divine. Because these various types of love combine in different ways, to different degrees, and even fluctuate over time, one’s experience of loving another is multifaceted and not always easy to understand.

Love is most difficult to define though most attempts to do so underscore the primary psychological components of accepting, affirming, considerate, and compassionate actions, and feelings of closeness, warmth, kindness, tenderness, and gentleness. Consistency and reliability of these qualities are assumed, as is their validity.

We know people confuse psychological phenomena. One might feel compelled to act in a certain way believing that the power of the drive confirms it is the right thing to do when irrational beliefs or neediness are the actual cause. Denying or misreading one’s emotional states is another example, as is living in anxiety and drama believing it is excitement. If not recognized for what they are, such intensity may cause one to believe one is in love with another.

We also know people confuse spiritual transpersonal experience with ego individual experience. One might imagine one has heard spoken words and mistake them for Spirit informing one on important matters, confuse a common dream with a clairvoyant one, or believe one is in a transcendent state of mind when one is only spaced out, having difficulty focusing, or even anxiously dissociating. If combined with loving feelings one could assume the love being experienced involves Spirit and therefore is divine, when in actuality it is only imagined to be so.

Divine love is not the obsessive, even compulsive attachment one has with another in which one gives up or loses oneself in relationship at the cost of other interests, friends, goals, etc. Nor is it the co-dependent belief the relationship is critical to one’s happiness, experienced as the “life or death”, “must have” the other person in one’s life. These are signs of incomplete psychological development often expressed as difficulties with autonomy, assertion, and self-worth. In contrast, the nature of divine love brings up in one the longing for Spirit, which is a desire to be in union. This is gentle and patient, without urgency and is frequently supported by a strong individual self.

Nor is divine love the archetypal seizure in which one feels complete and whole when the other is in one’s life. Mistakenly understood as powerfully loving the other, it is often a falling in love with the repressed and unknown qualities of oneself, e.g. a man denying his feminine qualities will be seized by a woman exhibiting strong stereotypical femininity. This is not the union of divine love in which one experiences the peace, love, and joy of being in oneness with the world and its aspects. Rather, it is a dependent reliance on another so one can experience one’s personal self indirectly. And for the person affected by the archetype it prevents personal healing or growth toward authenticity and wholeness.

Romantic chemistry between two people is a function of fit regarding values, interests, definitions of attractiveness, aspirations, and communication. This fit is strongest when there is considerable commonality, differences are one’s that foster individual and relationship growth, and there are no deal breaking differences, i.e. ones that either partner cannot bear to live with. This fit gives rise to and serves to maintain the loving feelings and actions previously mentioned. Together these aspects of romantic chemistry, i.e. feelings, fit, and loving actions, support a simultaneous autonomy and connection between the partners.

Divine love is a chemistry of spiritual fit. Between the partners there is similar or complementary spiritual development and a shared and/or respected spiritual worldview that creates an unconditional love that arises when in one another’s company. Characteristically one may experience elements of unitive and nondual awareness including not thinking, a blending with the other as boundaries dissolve, absence of fear, and action without action. Significantly outstanding in this love is the absence of attachment to the other person. The perfect love shared is not a function of each one’s personal qualities but is due to Spirit recognizing Itself through the eyes of the people involved. There is a strengthened attachment to Spirit by the individuals with both of them feeling as if a circuit has been completed among Spirit and themselves. As partners they experience an eternal unconditional love that seems to be destined as it is being fulfilled: a phenomenon only possible because Spirit is present in the relationship. If there is no illusion or consideration of romance this may be considered the first of three types of soulmate experience. It is the simplest, purest, and the one most likely to be experienced in a spiritual community.

Of the two other types of soulmate experience the one that ignores the mutual influence of divine love and romantic attraction on one another is the most heartbreaking. The persons involved do not realize the powerful love felt is not based on chemistry but rather Spirit, which leads them to falsely believe their romantic love is a perfect fit. They are convinced they have found the one and only love of their dreams and that it is kismet. Simultaneously, the desire for romantic love now obscures the divine love and results in the lover replacing Spirit. Only later do they discover their unconditional love has been weakened, they do not really know each other, and the differences between them are irreconcilable. And because this discovery process has involved the slow erosion of the divine love that was present in the beginning, as they part their loss is twofold, and they lose both their partner and Spirit.

The third type of soulmate experience is one in which there is both true romantic fit and divine love. The persons involved realize this to be true, enabling them to nurture their romantic relationship while maintaining their spiritual life. This lifestyle commitment preserves each one’s relationship with Spirit, allowing both the mundane and spiritual relationships to support one another in an aura of beauty. This is a highly evolved and paradoxical relationship that places Spirit before partner while respecting that one’s relationship with the other is an anomaly, a miracle granted by Spirit. As such it is of great value, and in an enlightened manner one learns to place both Spirit and partner before oneself, resulting in a deeply intimate and connected loving with one’s partner, and with Spirit. This further facilitates one’s spiritual growth, especially regarding divinely loving the world as Spirit loves the world and all in it.

2 thoughts on “Consider These Ten Things Before Declaring You Have Found Your Soulmate

  1. Hi Bob

    Have you ever experienced divine love and if so how did it manifest itself? I can’t say that I have ever experienced this kind of love.

    Do you make a distinction between infatuation and love?

    How much does the sharing of common experiences have to do with our experience of love with another person? Is ‘love’ what develops between people sharing a daily set of common experiences? By asking this question I am thinking about how important memories are in my experience of love and how having another person who has shared a large set of common experiences has deepened my sense of love with that person. So I wonder how much of our experience of love is tied with our memories. Since our memory of our experiences shapes our interpretations of current experiences knowing there is another person who has shared the same set of experiences and interprets them in the same way seems to develop a type of bond between them that I think of as love. But it means that love is something that develops over time out of the shared experiences of a relationship and is more like the relationship between an oak barrel and a chardonnay wine that turns the wine into a good wine. To me, love is the good thing that can emerge from the shared experiences of two people but in this definition it takes time and so I would say that the love relationships that many people have are infatuations that can develop into love with time but not necessarily so.

    Maybe I’m wrong here because this topic of what love is is so fraught with misunderstanding and is so individual dependent as to be a bottomless quagmire leading to meaninglessness.

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    1. Hi Donald,

      As do all of my writings, what follows comes from my personal experiences and from research I have done on the topic. Like most I have spent a lifetime pursuing love. Love from my parents, love from my lovers, and love from myself. I believe these pursuits, along with transmodern psychospiritual study, have led me to have some understanding of the greatest love, divine love.

      Yes, love is a very complex topic. First, let me say I agree with your observations about memory and development of love between two people. And would underscore it is dependent on initial fit between them. Life experiences, values, principles lived by, and lifestyle must be similar. And when different must complement one another so each individual’s growth is fostered through the differences. If differences are extreme and interfere with personal growth, love and relationship fail. I would add that this dynamic requires effective communication so partners authentically share, examine, collaborate, and act as truth requires. This requires living on the leading edge of discovering oneself and one’s partner. Relationships seem to lose intimacy, and therefore love, if they do not interact deeply and intimately.

      The love I’m referring to above is common love, sometimes called romantic love. For purposes of answering your questions, I think it is best labeled attachment love. This allows the ideas to be expanded to loving others, e.g. family, friends. And, conceptualizing this way helps to distinguish it from divine love which is without attachment. One more note: divine love can be divided into two forms. There is divine love from an awakened or post-satori perspective and from the enlightened perspective. Compared to the nondual awareness of enlightenment, awakened awareness operates from (the less comprehensive) unitive awareness. It is important to note that the strength of presence of an element of individuality and independence determines the degree of ego functioning in awakened awareness. Because of this, ego may introduce attachment into feelings of divine love, reducing its purity. Think of divine love as Being Love. The love intrinsic to enlightenment.

      The following paragraphs describe attachment love first, and then compare it to divine love. If important I’ll distinguish between awakened and enlightened. Most importantly, I’ll emphasize awareness of the one experiencing love. Awareness is defined as the nature and quality of experience one has in the subject-object relationship. The practitioner is the subject, and all other objects, people, events, etc. in the world are the objects. This is distinguished from concepts alone, or consciousness which is best understood as type of information in the mind. Because an information type (e.g. subjectivity, transcendence) can produce different awareness this consciousness-awareness distinction makes it easier to comprehend one’s own experience. One can discern the information generating a particular awareness, useful in determining validity and quality of experience.

      An important note. Do not read the comparisons as types, stages, or categories organized in a hierarchical manner. They are best understood as holons in which agency exists separately but is also subsumed and included under the larger truth. Ken Wilber talks of this as “transcend and include”. The larger truth being defined as the one that most accurately and comprehensively explains something while being applicable to the greatest number of those involved. In this case divine love is seen as the greater truth. Holonarchy also indicates that one’s awareness can experience a combination of these two loves in any given moment, easily revert to attachment love, or suddenly feel divine love.

      One last note. Presenting this description as I have, artificially separates various elements of the divine love concept and experience. I suggest you read through the material in its entirety, and then review it so you can piece together ideas and concepts where they are obviously linked, or in some way overlap. And of course, I’d like to hear back from you if you’re willing to share more of your ideas, opinions, questions.

      Attachment love is felt viscerally, and one is aware of sensations throughout the body. Often these are labeled as soft, tender, warm, caring feelings. There is a sensuality that is physical and therefore dense. And frequently these feelings are focused on, or directed toward a singular object or person. Divine love is experienced as more ethereal and subtle. And even when focused on a subject is felt to be beyond the individual to something more universal. One does not so much feel it, as one partakes in a transcendent experience that includes the aforementioned concepts of warmth, etc. I would say they are more “transcendently cognitized” than felt (realizing I’m bending the meanings of cognition and cognize). It seems one is experiencing them in their (nondual) “formless-emptiness-form-fullness” ideal. At these times there may be direct-knowing or “thinking without thinking” that confirms this understanding.

      Attachment love is a love of desire. There is a sensual feeling that seeks expression and satisfaction. It is often physical or sexual (though not always), and always directed at meeting some want or need. One engages in goal-directed behavior we call loving another. Some write of it as involving completion of oneself, perhaps in some archetypal fashion, e.g. masculine-feminine. It is a feeling of coming together as one. But this one is not universal as it is in divine love. In divine love one feels the nondual oneness of existence, and love and loving adoration appear without volition or goal. Physicality is minimal if present at all, and the nondual oneness is felt as being. The focus is not with, or on some other object but is on totality. It feels as if the other person is irrelevant in this union and plays no part in the experience.

      In attachment love, one’s usual grounded and/or centered subjective agency is strengthened. One feels connected to one’s environment and the mind feels more alive, more aware. One feels strongly in one’s body while also pleasantly at ease and focused in mind. Love feels good. In divine love these feelings are “transcended and included” giving rise to bliss. A bliss that is peaceful and love-filled, and felt to be of the universal existence. There is the strong recognition that it is bigger, stronger, and holier than either of the two participants could make it on their own. One realizes one is being archetypal love.

      As mentioned earlier, attachment love involves feeling connected through shared aspects and experiences of life. A bond based on knowing one another, and if sustained through good relating maintains loving feelings. Divine love feels universal as noted above, but is also distinguished by another aspect. Divine love feels sacred from the inside (that is to the subject), and feels holy from the outside (that is to the object or other). In sharing divine love with another the union is godliness.

      In attachment love there is a physical, mental, emotional attraction or pull to the other for reasons already mentioned. One feels connection and is drawn toward the other, to see them more, know them better, etc. This can be an infatuation based on limited or false information about the other (e.g. assumptions, projections), or it can be based on a valid genuine true fit between partners. If the latter, it likely endures, and the relationship is deemed of good quality by those involved. A quid pro quo of responsibilities and expectations is established and partners believe there will be a continuance of quality relating. The attraction in divine love feels more like a magnetic pull that draws one to something bigger, not to the other person. And it can feel as if a circuit is completed. But the circuit involves the two people and Absolute/Spirit. Subjectively it feels as if two have come together and become three, and the three is One. In divine love this can occur without knowledge of the other person. The other person’s psychological qualities and personality are not significant in this phenomenon. The onset of the love can feel sudden and immediate, unexplained, while paradoxically feeling eternal and everlasting. This aspect often causes people who have the divine love experience to declare they have known one another before, often declaring they have lived a past life together. This seems to be different from feelings of memory or déjà vu. I conclude this when I examine them while considering other aspects of the divine love experience (that these two other experiences do not possess). Divine love, unlike attachment love does not have a quid pro quo. There is no expectation of reciprocity, responsibility to the other, or commitment. In actually, divine love is characterized by, and facilitates liberation.

      Attachment love is associated with another (animate or inanimate object) and therefore is circumstantial and conditional. While it provides a form of security to those in a love relationship, e.g. support, affirmation, it fluctuates and is not necessarily enduring. Associated with the world it is understood to be impermanent. On the other hand, divine love feels eternal and everlasting, forever. And it provides a significant reduction in fear. More accurately stated, it provides an enduring “fearlessness”, a blissful security in the world. One is more identified with Spirit/Absolute and one’s heart is more open to the world. The feeling is not simply that one has changed, and therefore perceives differently, but that all other (i.e. existence, the kosmos) has been transformed also. Not me alone but you too are different. Though both loves alter our identity, divine love grants identification with God and also alters our world.

      Attachment love changes us and our experiences in the world. Not only our identity as mentioned above, but also our reaction to the world. This is especially true and significant regarding feelings (emotions and conditioned feelings of agency). There tend to be more positive ones, and we tend to manage them better and our wellbeing is improved. Divine love strengthens feelings of tranquility and equanimity. A “spiritual being” feeling endures. And part of this seems to be a “sugar-coating” of negative feelings. Though experienced (not denied, suppressed, or repressed) they are felt with less identification, and more as part of the universal identity (i.e. “transcendentally cognitized”). They rise up and pass easily, and with less intensity.

      Lastly, attachment love is “doing”. It involves acting lovingly or giving love. And it involves receiving love. Divine love is “being”. Being Love. Without volition, but as part of the Absolute/Source/Spirit/God, and consistent with the Divine Principle.

      As part of the previously noted holonomic aspect of awareness, like with other aspects of enlightenment (and enlightenment itself), one must apply the idea of divine love across all life circumstances. With the busyness of life and shenanigans of the monkey mind it is challenging to discern and practice divine love. Going shopping, driving the car, eating, kissing, dancing, working, praying, being. As a single, in relationship, as a friend or colleague. A stranger or new acquaintance, blood relative or not, a spiritual practitioner or teacher. One can only realize what is possible, and then one can only practice to the best of one’s ability.

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