I waited all my life for my soul mate. I always knew, somewhere deep down inside myself, that the perfect mate was out there somewhere, waiting for me just like I was waiting for him. His absence had been noticeable for as long as I could remember; it was always as though a part of me was missing.
In my younger days (before my spiritual path took me in the direction of things like reincarnation and karma) I didn't think in terms of a soul mate. I just knew that my "knight in shining armour" would be riding his white horse into my life someday, and he would bring with him everything I needed to be happy.
Fairy tales don't come true, and soul mates aren't always what we thought they would be. Almost everyone agrees that the soul mate relationship is a karmic one, in which souls choose to share life experiences time and time again. The souls plan to come together to accomplish specific spiritual learning objectives in specific lifetimes, just as best buddies on the physical plane might decide to take a pottery class together.
Notice that I never said "soul mates come together within a specific lifetime to share the perfect romantic relationship." Not all soul mate relationships are romantic in nature, and not all are harmonious. Sometimes souls plan to learn from NOT getting along, in which case the relationship is usually fairly short-lived, unless both souls are well versed in the lesson of acceptance.
To some, the terms "soul mate" and "twin flame" are interchangeable, but for me that's not the case. I think of a 'soul mate' as a learning partner, who agreed to meet with me in this lifetime so we could learn and grow from our relationship. That learning relationship could be on any level; we could be friends, we could work together, we could be teacher and student, or the friend of a friend of a friend. It may take only one chance meeting to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish; it may take a lifetime of shared interaction.
The connection between twin flames is so strong, on the other hand, that they literally can't be happy unless they're in each other's lives - which is a great karmic way to ensure that the lessons they intended to share are actually shared. Life just doesn't work for either one of them, unless they learn to put their love, on whatever level they may be experiencing it, above all else.
We choose life as thinking, feeling human beings so we can learn to express God's love by the way we think and the way we feel. It's a lesson that takes hundred - sometimes thousands - of lifetimes to learn. We may choose, in-between lifetimes, to continue these lessons with the same souls we've learned with before. That's what makes up "soul mates."
It's a pretty rough row to hoe, when you think of coming together with another soul lifetime after lifetime after lifetime, trying to get 'universal love' right. Because we are thinking, feeling human beings, we have a tendency to let our ideas (or expectations), our feelings (relative to the present relationship or not) and our physical drives (especially sexual ones) be the driving force in our relationships, regardless of what level we may be relating on.
Choosing to respond from a carnal level instead of from a spiritual one incurs karmic debt, which means that we have to be on the receiving end of our carnal response sooner or later. The learning cycle goes on and on and on until we've related enough to know, from our own experience, that responding with love to every person, event and circumstance that comes into our lives is the only way to go.
In the meantime, while we're still learning our lessons on love, we live our lives as thinking, feeling human beings, and each time we meet someone who feels comfortable to us - someone who is so much more familiar to us than the other people in our lives - we think we must be in love. And we LIKE thinking we're in love, because being in love is a driving force in all of us. How could we ever be in a position to learn the lessons we came here to learn if we aren't?
That's when the fairy tale aspect of the soul mate dilemma comes to light, and we begin to realize that romantic love isn't always the driving force in a soul mate relationship. The goal, we come to understand, is the opportunity to choose and express love and acceptance for each other, even if neither of us is who the other hoped we would be.
That's where the most difficult soul mate relationship lessons come into play. We have to make a choice, and it's no easy choice to make. Do we let the 'love of our life' go, because we love them and want them to be in a relationship where they can be accepted for who they are, or do we stay in the relationship, hoping that something that we do on an emotional, mental or physical level will change them into the person we want them to be?
Lois Grant-Holland is a Life Path Focus Counselor offering Life Path Focus Sessions, Karmic Astrology Charts, Channeled Guidance, Intuitive Readings and Classes and Workshops to spiritual seekers on all positive paths, and is the site facilitator at The A.N.S.W.E.R. - (The Seeker's Resource Guide to Alternative, New Thought, Spiritual Growth, Wellness and Enlightenment Resources.)