16 Mar 2012
March 16, 2012

The Idea of Soul Mates


Question: The problem seems to be that when you are in a relationship, in the beginning everything is happening, but when you marry that person it changes. I’ve been in several relationships, major relationships, I’ve been married and divorced twice and I’m searching for something special. Something I’m told is called a “soul mate”. Do you believe in such a relationship or person and what would that mean? How would I know that?

RamDassMaharaji-250x192Ram Dass: Got it! Keep looking! I’ll give you the farthest out answer first of all and then we’ll come back to something that everybody can handle. In the farthest out answer, we have all been around so many times that every one of us has been everything with everybody else. So when I look at you, you and I have been in so many relationships together. It’s just that we don’t remember them. Do you know how many times we have been born and died? Remember Buddha’s story: If you take a mountain six miles long and six miles wide and six miles high, that’s the distance a bullock walks in a day. And a bird flies over the mountain once every hundred years with a silk scarf in its beak and brushes the tip of the mountain. In the length of time it takes the scarf to wear away the mountain, that’s how long you have been doing this. Just think about that. Once every hundred years the scarf goes over; a scarf and a mountain. It goes on and on and on. In India there are Yugas and Kalpas of hundreds of thousands of years and then they start the cycles all over again. And we’ve been through all of them again and again.

Now, behind all of this is the One. And that is all there is. All of us here are one in drag, appearing to be many. So we are all “soul mate”. There is only one of it. It’s not mates, because it’s not even two. It’s only one. There’s only one of us. So what you’re really doing is constantly marrying yourself at the deepest level of God marrying God. Now you come down into soul. And each soul has a unique karmic predicament (you could call it a psychic DNA code) that in a way guides which way its life will go. And it is entirely possible that souls when they take birth into parents that are part of their Karma will at some point meet a being and they have agreed in advance to come down and do this together and meet. And that’s what we usually call soul mates.

What you have found from your past marriages is that what you are attracted to in a person isn’t what you ultimately live with. After the honeymoon is over — it’s after the desire systems that were dormant in the relationship that have the attraction in it pass and all of it passes — then you are left with the work to do. And it’s the same work. When you trade in one partner for another, you still have the same work. You’re going to have to do it sooner or later when the pizzazz is over. And it just keeps going over. And you can’t milk the romanticism of relationship too long as you become more conscious. It’s more interesting than that. It really is. And people want to romanticize their lives all the time. It’s part of the culture. But the awakening process starts to show you the emptiness of that forum. And you start to go for something deeper. You start to go to meet another human being in truth. And truth is scary. Truth has bad breath at times; truth is boring; truth burns the food; truth is all the stuff. Truth has anger; truth has all of it. And you stay in it and you keep working with it and your keep opening to it and you keep deepening it. Every time you trade in a partner, you realize that there’s no good or bad about it. I’m not talking good or bad about this.

But you begin to see how you keep coming to the same place in relationships, and then you tend to stop because it gets too heavy – because your identity gets threatened too much. For the relationship to move to the next level of truth requires an opening and a vulnerability that you’re not quite ready to make. And so you entrench, you retrench, you pull back and then you start to judge and push away and then you move to the next one. And then you have the rush of the openness and then the same thing starts to happen. And so you keep saying “Where am I going to find the one when this doesn’t happen?” And it will only happen when it doesn’t happen in you. When you start to take and watch the stuff and get quiet enough inside yourself, so you can take that process as it’s happening and start to work with it. And keep coming back to living truth in yourself or the other person even though it’s scary and hard.

~Ram Dass


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  • RandNotAyn

    “After the honeymoon is over — it’s after the desire systems that were dormant in the relationship that have the attraction in it pass and all of it passes — then you are left with the work to do. ”

    And I agree. Can you give me some tips to find interested parties that aren’t very bothered when I tell them that physical attraction can’t count in the long term so I’m ignoring it in the short term?

    It always seems to me that the relationship can never survive the injustice that he wants to be validated but wanting that isn’t a ‘strong’ quality – equality isn’t part of courtship.

  • http://NA Carol Lee Whitmore

    Thank you for this insight.

  • Cathy Dombrovske

    Ram Dass, this brought tears to my eyes and I found I was sighing deeply over and over as I read it. I am printing it out in order to go over it again and again and ponder your words, because it is clearly a place where I need to work. Thank you, older brother, dear friend along the way.
    Cathy in Montana

  • Brian

    I think there is validation in a relationship of the self through the other; a relationship of grasping the ideal mate in order to catch the prize and hold onto the courtship for the duration, without change as if it were locked in a vessel. Some would have in a relationship another to mold as a means to their conception of the ideal, in order to furnish another’s expectations or comforts and security. And finally there are some that find an ideal thst they do not want to change or grow, simply remain the Dorian Grey archtype. These have been my experiences.

    But, the previous references are not what a relationship or soul mate represent. Instead, a relationship is about a journey of change and growth with total vulnerability enjoined with life as it simply presents us with newnesses in order to test our resolve, reflexes and willingness to grow at a deeper level felt intertwined and destined to be.

  • http://Website carole

    Right on. Relationship of any depth requires continual transformation..demands it ..just as the spiritual path is not smooth or straight but circuitous and treacherous to the ego so too relationship. The path is not a solitary one but challenged and proven through relationship but also enriched by the warmth and support of another pilgrim wayfarer.

  • http://www.shantibhaktiom.tumblr.com Gian

    thank you very much for this. this really helped me today. very crazy 7 day span for me. im glad i had this to read and help re-root me.

  • http://bethpurcellmosaics.com Beth Purcell

    I highly recommend the book ‘ Mating in Captivity’ by Esther Perel…
    This book and the spiritual wisdom of this lovely man, Ram Dass, could heal so many marriages…
    So much more to say…and….
    Blessings to all on the path is enough…

  • http://www.asonginthisworld.com Brad Fisher

    Baba thank you for the timely post! The work is always there. Maybe a Bashert is someone we love the god in? We love our partners idiosyncrasies, the way they burn the toast, the fits, the humanness rather than the initial excitement. Go back and re live what attracted you in the beginning and hold that close to your heart. Expect change and embrace it and support it. Like you said you have to work at it. Hari Om

  • http://vanessadiaz.tumblr.com Vanessa

    WoooW! Brilliant!

    Thank you Ram Dass! <3

  • http://Website Lalit Krsna das

    I think as we become more awakened or more conscious we realise that in truth soul mate means god and not another human being , at best we can find someone who meets our needs and is like minded as long as we are not co dependent , if they leave us we are absolutely fine without them because we realise that only Radha Govinda are our soul mates, why are we looking for a soul mate because we do not have self love and feel incomplete there’s deficiency something missing , we also on the soul level are crying out for love and affection , we are looking for someone who can meet our need for love , tell us we are loved , needed , and special because we don’t believe we are special and needed because of lack of self love and acceptance , when we enter a relationship with such deficiency we are bound to have expectations from the person we meet , Sri Krsna is our only soul mate I recommend a web site http://www.purebhakti.com Awsome article thanks rama dass

  • http://www.apennine-retreat.com Alison

    Dear Ram Dass, Thank you so much for this wisdom – I have discovered it to be so true in my own life and at last I am with someone with whom I am learning to meet in truth and depth. I feel your heart and the truth that you and I are also in relationship for ever and always – ‘hanging out together in Love’ as you say about your relationship with your own guru. THANK YOU.

  • http://www.PivotGuild.com Alyson

    Conscious awareness at a given point in time seems to play a big role in what Soul Mate means to each of us. I used to think it meant to be “seen” – to validate each other’s existence. But after 20 years of marriage and being on a spiritual path together, I now believe we’ve given each other the experience of being imperfectly complete – which enables us to move from alienation, to the knowing of The One or The Whole. I’m grateful to have a partner in the search for and experience of reconnection.

  • http://turtleislandnomad.blogspot.com/ cretia

    For 10 years I was a hospice nurse going into peoples homes. it was very common for the ’til death do us part’ couple to fight and bicker over countless daily issues and continue to profess LOVE for one another. only occasionally did I see the long term relationship which included MUTUAL RESPECT which I believe to be the true hallmark of healthy relationship. very rare is the mutually respectful relationship.

  • http://www/swiha.edu KC Miller

    WOW ~ I am reading this on my 22nd Anniversary and am deeply moved by its truth ~ Long term relationships are work . . . mostly on ourselves. Blessings for the work YOU do in the world ~ Blessings : ) KC

  • Katie

    Brilliant, Ram Das. You are blessed with such wisdom and thank you for sharing your wise words with us. Love and light to you.


  • Synthia Jones

    I’m a counselor, and convinced that relationship is the hardest journey, but the main learning we get on this planet.

  • David Decker

    Who did the painting that’s on Facebook? Looks like something Carol Bridges would have done back in the 70s.

  • Ido c

    Thank you Ram Dass. I always knew this on a knowledge level but on the last 6 years am experiencing this in a being level . Yet, there still remain two questions … Dies that mean that if we both want to work and love with truth , any two people can be together , no matter how different they are in the realm of personality ? Shouldn’t there be some kind of spiritual connection on the personality level to lean on before we go to truth ??

    With love and many blessings

    • Lloyd

      My answer is – yes, any two people can be together and work it out, if they both choose to do it. It’s not compulsory, it’s a choice. For the second question, Ram Dass’s story of the mountain illustrates we are all spiritually connected.

  • Dan Barnes

    Brilliant. This has been with me for a while, i started too see things my father did with respect too relationships and how i was playing them out in mine also. What changed is when i stopped looking and hoping to find that special someone.Instead i tried to find myself and refine my instinctual habits, then out of no-where my beautiful fiancee revealed herself ‘again’, as we have been together throughout of past reincarnations which are revealing themselves more and more. One instance is that we where burned at the stake for heresy which is interesting as what work we do would be frowned upon now by almost all institutions .Whats pretty interesting is that i was on the same flight as her, but i was leaving and she was arriving in Peru, but this wasn’t the 1st time we where almost crossed paths. Find yourself 1st, not in reverse this will only bring hurt. http://ruvedic.net/

    • Stephanie Allard

      How do I find myself first?

      • mjk

        Your CHILD self is where you will find your TRUE self.

        • Stephanie Allard

          How do I find my CHILD self? Sincerely.

          • mjk

            By *memory*.

            Remember yourself. Go back to that child. I don’t know her, you do. Children hold the MOST truth in them, are PURE. Untainted by life and the world and society & culture. They are GENUINE.

            The ways to explore – you can GO INSIDE, you can WRITE, you can look at pictures. FEEL her.

          • Stephanie Allard

            Okay I’ll give it a go!

          • mjk

            Enjoy! She will remind you of who you are (your dreams, what you love and believe in… what you wanted to do and be when you grew up). She is your very best friend!

            You’ll do wonderfully. :)

          • Stephanie Allard

            Thank you. I really did enjoy life and my own entertainment. I was an only child for first twelve years and it was a different time.

          • mjk

            Sounds to me like a private world and you would like to find the right person to SHARE your world with.

            Your world and your WORTH.

            They say that the other half of you, the soul mate, the twin flame, is ALWAYS connected to you and you can access that person directly from right inside of yourself.

            When you connect to your TRUE self (which the CHILD self will help you to achieve that) you will discover more about a lot of things.

          • Stephanie Allard

            I had a mate. We were like opposites attracting each other. We have two sons, a 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and a 2 year old grandson. Somewhat often we still do family things Including in laws and others. He was remarried and divorced. I never “found” anyone else. I looked but nothing stuck. I haven’t been “looking” for almost 10 years. Finding myself is obviously what I need to be doing. Rediscovering the me I lost along the way.

          • mjk

            What a real JOY grandchildren are! Unfortunately, my granddaughter passed away in infancy but the JOY she brought, just in having been born, was amazing. And I grew from it! I went from being somebody’s daughter and sister to somebody’s mother and then a GRAND mother! I really liked being Gram :)

            When I found my “other half”, my “twin flame”, it was the RECOVERY of my child self, my TRUE self, which brought that about!

            But it is so difficult because we have this idea of a life of TOGETHERNESS and partnership. The one, the RIGHT one, the ONLY one, who is truly RIGHT. The “complement”, they say. That is when nobody else will ever do. Or at least, we think so. We FEEL so.

            I think it is not all as “universal” as some people would have us believe. For some people, maybe being in a partnership is RIGHT and maybe for some others being SINGLE is right. I think it is different for everyone.

            And as far as I know, “twin flames” are very different from “soul mates”.

            Self-possession and self-ownership are GOOD things. From there, each person will know what is right & good for them (or, what is possible and what is not).

          • Stephanie Allard

            I am Grammy to my two grands. They are wonderful. I am still learning how wonderful. I was born 1954. Graduated high school 1972. Lots of experimentation. Our first son was born in 1975. Second son 1981. Anyway…I’ll close now before I try to tell you my whole story. TX.

          • mjk

            Good Will to You & Yours :)

          • Stephanie Allard

            Yes. I like this.

          • Stephanie Allard

            I am sorry you lost your granddaughter. I didn’t say that earlier. it sounds like you are grateful to have that chance and feel that Joy. And the love.

          • mjk

            ty, I was grateful. Still am.

  • Nicola Bibby

    A beautiful article, thank you Ram Dass, Blessings!

  • eljeran

    another soul from the collective came to this life, this world, with me. I cant be sure who it was because we were formless, all I know is the feeling that I had, the connection I had to this soul. I believe it was my husband. I was to be born first and they would come later, when they were ready. I remember knowing that they were not born yet when I was a very very young child. My husband is 4 years younger than me. So I do believe in soul mates. However any two people can make a marriage work if each puts the other first and the marriage first and use spirituality to make their decisions for them rather than ego.

    • Sue Raven

      I agree with you…I had a similar experience…was told of him at age 13 given his birthday and when I met him we recognized each other immediately. Such joy!! It was extremely beautiful (and is) and extremely painful(couldnt be together) I am told we are always together in spirit…and yes…this is true on a greater scale with every soul. Still…in this human incarnation there are some powerful experiences when you link up with your soul family (smaller scale) and soul mates. The main thing I learned is that when you meet a twin soul, you are looking in a mirror, and it magnifies everything so much … the good and the bad. You have to be very very evolved to handle this. Once I love myself I am automatically connected to him (happening more and more very day). Unconditional love is the lesson…no matter who we are with.

  • Jane Jones

    You start to go to meet another human being in truth. And truth is scary” You have to meet one another in truth, and truth is scary because it shows our vulnerabilities; it “messes” with the ego. Spiritual people, whether in a Soul mate relationship or not need to live from truth, from a knowing that they are divine and all this “stuff” is bs, an illusion, not important. Then we can laugh at life and enjoy the absurdity while maintaining that ever-developing stillness of the divine within. Egos have got to go~!

  • Just Sayin’

    I don’t think that attraction part wears off or that people simply fall out of love or anything. Some people look at the work and feel if it’s work it’s not meant to be. But that’s not true. Keeping the passion and love while having to work through things is part of that work!

  • KA AN RA

    What if a person is literally never in a romantic relationship? Does that mean that person has nothing left to learn about being in a partnership?

  • PamelaHaley

    Exactly; it’s not about finding a one or The One. We are All One… Some people really need to stop putting all they’ve got into something somebody else does not want. Other’s need to realize they don’t own anybody. You may have to swim through an ocean of fish to realize you’re in school.

  • Mark Welte

    Funny, I wrote about this just a few weeks ago on my site Householders’ Gazette.

  • Janet Atkin Covington

    This is the most perfect explanation for what relationships are all about. No matter what relationship it is. Oh that we could grasp this and understand it and live in it. I myself have been in a personal relationship that is exactly how Ram Dass explains. Not only is it interesting but it continues to drive me deeper and deeper into myself and into the person I am with. I choose not to leave. By the worlds standards I should have left a long time ago. But staying here, I keep finding new levels of myself and what I am willing to learn about love. Love is not a feeling. Love is not even an action. Love is unexplainable and incomprehensible. What I am doing is learning about higher consciousness. It’s not really about my beloved….it’s about me, who I am. How far down the rabbit hole can I go…into myself. How far can I go with compassion and forgiveness and letting go of my ego. Oh I’ve wanted, even threatened to leave a thousand times because it is so hard. I’ve been given a challenge…he IS a challenge. But with whom else could I learn what I have and what I still need to. It’s not about roses and pink clouds…..awakening is hard WORK!!! It’s messy and hard and emotional and clouded and sometimes just plain painful. But it’s worth it. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Me going out and finding someone else would just bring me back round to here again. Don’t want to do that!!! =)

  • mjk

    SOME people have an actual other half. In a time and place LONG ago, we used to be fused together as ONE BODY. FUSED together. We existed in that form, physically, but had NEVER been born (through the vagina). A spark separated the FUSED TWO (we are ALWAYS two, even when “one”, we are ALWAYS two) and we set out to literally BE BORN.

    We FUSED TOGETHER. It is a lot like melting and merging metals. Remember this: when the TRUTH is known, people COVER IT UP. One way, of many ways, of covering up the TRUTH is by LYING. That is because of fear (fear of consequence) because REALIZATION of TRUTH can change reality.

    So people cover it up.

    I was face to face with my “other half”, in THIS life cycle. I recognized the feelings (the energy). Extreme pain to be in near contact and then SEPARATE. The energy wants to DRAW THE TWO TOGETHER and there could be RE-FUSION.

    • Eabha Rose

      I dwell on this a lot…and I wonder if that incredible burst of love – unconditional love – accompanied by this realization,is in fact an encounter with the Divine…as in, is this the God within us meeting the God within the other…the portal through which we commence the journey towards Awakening?

      • mjk

        For myself, the other half is EVIL and not good. Satanic, sadistic, violent, sexual abuse, immorality and those things. I see no “god” in him and never will. We are we Eternal enemies (no matter our connection). People think it is all good, all positivity, all divinity but it just is not. EVIL & SATAN are very very genuine realities. My suffering is Eternal. I have that awakening (which is remembering). NO GOOD for us all. Some, but NOT ALL.

        • Eabha Rose

          Ah…sorry to know that you have had such an intense experience…mine was very beautiful and certainly very positive, thankfully,,and yes, i do believe in the concept of light and dark and the battle that can exist. Take care

  • Jeffrey Whittaker

    You have revealed some important truths here! Our eternal desire can trap us in endless pain if we keep doing the same thing over and over! We must change to get different results! But we must also learn to appreciate others and their changes and needs then we can satisfy their needs and ultimately satisfy our needs!

  • Barbara Yaffee

    Love this! Well said. Yes! After the honeymoon is over, the growth, the work, the integration, they all begin! ;)

  • Marko Esquandolas

    I’m not going to donate anything because we have all given so much money to each other in previous lives. When I look at you, I wonder how much you could afford to pay us for visiting your site in this life.

  • Amy

    According to this line of thinking, one is avoiding God if one isn’t in a close relationship. Sounds off to me.

  • Cyntha Craton

    I agree … WholeHeartedly ;)))