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.