The book ‘Anam Cara’ by John O’Donohue is of particular interest in our search for a soul mate. In his prologue the author explains: ‘The Celtic understanding of friendship found its inspiration and culmination in the sublime notion of the ‘Anam Cara’. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul; cara is the word for friend. So ‘Anam Cara’ means soul friend. The anam cara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam Cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul.’
To this he adds in the chapter ‘Love as Ancient Recognition’: ‘Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved. Friendship is always an act of recognition. This metaphor of friendship can be grounded in the clay nature of the human body. When you find the person you love, an act of ancient recognition brings you together. It is as if millions of years before the silence of nature broke, his or her clay and your clay lay side by side. Then, in the turning of the seasons, your one clay divided and separated. You began to rise as distinct clay forms, each housing a different individuality and destiny. Without even knowing it, your secret memory mourned your loss of each other. While your clay selves wandered for thousands of years through the Universe, your longing for each other never faded. This metaphor explains [tries to render an explanation] how in the [first] moment of friendship, two souls suddenly recognise each other.
‘It could be a meeting in the street, or at a party, a lecture or just a simple, banal introduction, then, suddenly there is the flash of recognition and the embers of kinship of ancient knowing. Love opens the door of ancient recognition. You enter. You come home to each other, at last. As Euripides says: ‘Two friends, one soul.’’ Words in square brackets have been added in the hope that they will help to clarify the quote’s meaning.
To shed some more light into this, an Irish speaking friend of mine added the following interesting comment. ‘The word ‘Anam’ in Irish has another much more frequently used meaning, which is simply ‘Name.’ Therefore, the first question you are ever likely to ask an Irish person in Irish is: ‘Cad is anam duit?’ Its modern and surface meaning is ‘What is your name?’ However, the deeper felt underlying question it contains is: ‘What is the Soul that you have on you?’ ‘Duit’ literally means ‘on you’.
To my mind, O’Donohue’s interpretation of the meaning of soul friends was a valiant attempt by a Catholic priest, with his religion’s lack of understanding of the spiritual background of life, at finding an explanation of what up to now had to remain inexplicable. There is some truth in what he writes, but I believe that ever since coming away from God, the missing part our soul has eternally been searching for is not another person but the other part of us – our own inner woman or man. All the lovers we ever did embrace in the course of many lifetimes could only ever be outer manifestations of the God and Goddess, who had to wait along time before they could come consciously alive within us.
S/he is the dream lover we are all yearning to meet, the one being in the whole of Creation who really knows and understands all our deepest, innermost needs; who is always there for us and who will never leave us, in all Eternity. This lover is now waiting to fully become one again with each one, the inner Teacher, Healer, Master and Guru, who does have our best at heart. It is the all-wise, all knowing and all-loving being, in whom we have every reason to trust implicitly, for It will never lead us astray. It is longing to be fully reunited with us, as much as we have always been yearning for It. It is not meant to be found in another person, because It is already contained within each one, waiting to come fully alive again, to take over our whole being.
For as long as we insist upon looking for the above mentioned qualities in another human being, our human relationships, even the best, will always remain unfulfilling and disappointing. They are meant to be that way, because otherwise we would get lost in the illusion of the other one. But, for as long as we are still trying to do that, we cannot become whole and healed again. Happiness can only be found in accepting another for what they truly are: companions only for a while. They are soul and spirit, the same as you; they too have to find their own way back to wholeness and God; waiting to be reconnected and healed together with their own ideal lover, within. That’s what healing is all about, for to become whole means to be holy and healed.
Whenever we come together with anyone, it is because during this lifetime we shall be given opportunities for working out between us some more of our Karma, as once upon a time in the world of spirit we agreed to do. And when two souls are meant to come together as lovers, partners or friends, the sometimes instant recognition they feel is a signal from their inner guide, who is trying to help them to come together again. Loving relationships, especially between soul mates, do not happen by chance, the same as everything. The same as anything good that comes into our life, they had to be worked for. If such a relationship comes suddenly into someone’s life, then the two souls concerned are sure to have worked on and suffered for their love, during other lifetimes. This then comes back to them on the credit side of their spiritual account, i.e. Karma, during this lifetime, so that they can work on their relationship some more.
The implications of this final stage of our evolution for the societies we live in are as revolutionary as the earlier overthrow of the traditional order or the ancient patriarchal revolution have been. Ever more peace will come to our world when, instead of paying attention to the dictates of external groups, institutions or ideologies, individuals fully discover and take possession of their personal centre of authority and analysis. We shall then all learn how to reorganise, control and create a new life for ourselves by following the instructions that have their origin in everybody’s own inner source of knowledge. Once we have learnt to rely on it for its wisdom and truth, we no longer feel the need to follow other people’s beliefs.
The masculine principle of the living God within helps us to differentiate the world in which we live, to discriminate between the different aspects of nature and also to classify and order. This not only leads us into fully experiencing our essential individuality, but also into healing together with our God or Highest Self and, through this, with the whole of life. Although on the earthly plane we may at times stand utterly alone and we may find ourselves unsupported by institutions, personal relationships and ideologies, or by identities of race, sex and class, in truth we are never alone because on the inner higher and highest levels all life is one. This realisation brings the extraordinary and often alarming knowledge that we can look to no-one and nothing other than to ourselves and nobody except our inner guidance can supply us with reliable directions and answers in any given situation.
Why is there so much disappointment coming from human relationships? A valuable contribution towards a better understanding of this comes to us through Luise Eichenbaum and Susie Orbach in their book ‘What do Women Want?’ Don’t be put off by its title; this is not a feminist book. A better way of calling it would be ‘What do women and men want now that the New Age is with us, to help them live together more happily and harmoniously?’ But then, that would be far too long.
In the chapter ‘Dependency and Couples’ the authors come to the conclusion: ‘Showing love, exposing our need and desire for contact, touches our feelings of dependency. Letting ourselves feel our wants for another person is a kind of letting go. It is giving of ourselves. Emotional dependency, needing, wanting and giving love to another person is the fabric of intimate relationships. In their emotional lives people are both strong and sensitive. Loving someone and feeling emotionally vulnerable to them is both effortless and painstaking. It is the easiest thing in the world and the most difficult. We long for intimacy and we fear intimacy.
When we are involved in a relationship, our emotional channel is on fine tuning. We feel disappointment at the smallest thing. We are so tuned into our partner psychologically, that their behaviour or even their mood affects the way we ourselves feel.’
We are in this life to help us learning to love wisely, the way God loves us. That’s why everybody needs people and also someone special in their life to care for, love and appreciate and who, ideally, return this to us. For a long time in our search for the right partner it feels as if we were looking for a missing part of ourselves. However, on the inner level we already are whole and it would be folly to believe that anyone can make us that way. The only thing we have to do is get in touch with our inner man/woman and take possession of him/her. If we are fortunate enough to find someone who feels like our soul mate or twin flame, it eventually dawns on us that this person is but an outer manifestation of our inner lover, who is waiting to be acknowledged by us at last and become our best friend.
* * *