By Joulia Pitsouli
Our soul mate! We have all dreamt of it and wished to meet it. Despite our doubts whether it actually exists, deep down we want to believe it does.
This is not just a romantic desire but a universal concept that is present in traditions across cultures. This ancient metaphysical belief is described vividly from Plato in his “Symposium” where Aristophanes narrates the primal myth of the souls: “the original physical condition of the human kind was not like the present but different” he says. “In the beginning there was the androgynous being (the Androgyne), that was a mixture of both male and female. All humans were once like this and our form was complete, which means our shape was round. But humans attempted to attack the Gods and for that reason Zeus decided to split them into halves. After the division of the human form, the one half would crave to rejoin with the other half; they would put their hands around each other and entwine in mutual embraces, longing to reunite and become one. Since then each of us always seeks for this other half, seeks to unite with his or her beloved person and dissolve in his or her arms becoming one again. Therefore what we call eros, is really the desire and effort to complete ourselves. This is why the ideal is for each of us to find his or her other half and merge with it so that we can go back to the original human condition”.
When we Lost our First Love
Plato’s description suggests the universal belief in the existence of an ideal partner, one who not only speaks directly to our soul but one who is also part of it. As Jung notes, this is a universal archetype that roots back to mankind’s period in paradise. Somewhere in the far past of our ancient existence, when each of us was in complete unity with the whole there was no sense of separation. All souls were in a state of total bliss, because they were one being, one unit of divine consciousness and love in total identification. So joined in pairs the souls metaphorically had the shape of spheres as Plato describes. In the language of symbols the circle symbolises the unity and the divine while the half moon symbolises the individual soul. So two half moons, that is two half circles, composed the two soul mates united in a sphere. However the state of bliss and connection with the soul mate gave in to splitting and separation. According to metaphysical legends, “something” happened and the souls were cut from each other. It is said that maybe it was the appearance of the ego that brought a kind of fall in consciousness. Metaphorically we can say that souls were subjected to what happens to clear light when it goes through a prism: it divides into its constituent colours. Since then, each part of the soul went on its own route, feeling deeply nostalgic about the initial state of unity. This is why it always seeks to regain its original state and rejoin with its lost “self” as with all the other souls.
The Desire to Merge
The primal and universal metaphysical belief appears to be deeply rooted in our unconsciousness leading us to form close relationships. We always seek our other half.Psychology explains this in less poetic and metaphysical terms, and relates it to our early days of life when we still did not have a sense that we and our mother are two separate entities. Each infant feels like an inseparable part of its mother and in this way lives in a state of wholeness and security. Growing up though, the realisation that the mother is actually a separate entity, comes with surprise and pain. This is an important moment in the lives of all of us as it defines the basis of our future relationships. All our life from then on we will be seeking close friendships and intense love relationships, trying to relive this state of unity, love and bliss that we did during our early days of life.Jung describes in his own way Plato’s theory on soul mates and their complementary relationship. He believed that each of us has an anima part (the female soul) and an animus part (the male soul). Neither of them is whole though. They need to find the partner that will complete the missing part. This complementary relationship is described perfectly according to the wisdom of the East with the Yin Yang symbol. The two halves that form the whole are not only a pair of opposites but also the complementary powers which can generate the universe.“The mutual desire to merge is powerfully rooted in the human condition. It is the primitive urge, the power of matching of the human race, the tribe, family, society. Without this need for love humankind would not be able to survive a day” Erich Fromm says.
The Moment of Recognition
Thomas Moore, psychotherapist and bestselling author, writes about this meeting in his book “Soul Mates”: our soul mate is someone with whom we feel a deep internal connection so that there is no need to make any kind of effort in order to understand each other. It just happens, as if it were a divine gift. We feel natural familiarity and freedom, joy and deep companionship.Most people romantically believe that whoever manages to meet their soul mate go on to live in the perfect relationship, however reality is a bit different. We have a soul but we also have a personality. On the soul level we might be match perfectly but on the personality level there might be substantial deviations, which means that relationships between soul mates not only are not free from conflicts but that we might have even married our soul mate and not be aware of it! In reality no one can really be certain that he or she has met their soul mate except if he or she has already reached a significant level of self-awareness. The game goes something like this: we must first meet ourselves in order to be able to find and recognise our soul mate behind the mask of its personality.It is said though that when two soul mates meet for the first time there is an immediate unconscious recognition of each other and a sudden flood of emotions. At the same time there is a very specific bodily sensation. People who have experienced this say it is a feeling of numbness that extends across the chest or rises up from the bottom of the spinal cord and spreads across the whole body or can be like an instant electric discharge. However there is a basic detail: our twin soul is not necessarily the love of our life. It might be a relative or a close friend or it could possibly be of the same sex. Whatever the form of our relationship though it is certain that it will provide us with a feeling of completeness, joy and love, and mainly it will inspire us to express the best sides of ourselves. There is also the possibility that our soul mate is not on this level of being. Metaphysical theories say that it might have already evolved so that it holds no more karmic obligations. Having been freed from the need to be in a physical body it might have ascended to a higher level of being. In that case it will be somewhere in some cosmic dimension, waiting as impatiently as we are, for the Big Encounter which in this case will take place when we manage to transcend the human level of being.