I have been thinking about what it might mean to have a soulmate recently. Thinking about the connections that form between humans on deep spiritual levels. Soulmates. We bandy the word around a lot. Too easily perhaps. Is a soulmate a lover? Possibly, but not necessarily. A life partner? Maybe, but also maybe not in the traditional sense of couples in relationships or marriages. A partner, certainly. A friend, most definitely. I found this definition which is the one I think I like the best.
In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul love; “Anam Cara” may sound like some new French perfume, but it actually refers to the Celtic spiritual belief of souls connecting and bonding.
In Celtic Spiritual tradition, it is believed that the soul radiates all about the physical body what some refer to as an aura. When you connect with another person and become completely open and trusting with that individual, your two souls begin to flow together.
Should such a deep bond be formed, it is said you have found your “ Anam Cara” or soul friend.
Your “ Anam Cara” always accepts you as you truly are, holding you in beauty and light. In order to appreciate this relationship, you must first recognize your own inner light and beauty. This is not always easy to do. The Celts believed that forming an “Anam Cara” friendship would help you to awaken your awareness of your own nature and experience the joys of others.
The “ Anam Cara” was originally someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the “Anam Cara,” you could share your innermost self, your mind and your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an “Anam Cara”, your friendship cut across all convention, morality, and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the “friend of your soul”. The Celtic understanding did not set limitations of space or time on the soul. There is no cage for the soul. The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other.
This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special companionship. When you love, you open your life to an Other. All your barriers are down. Your protective distances collapse. This person is given absolute permission to come into the deepest temple of your spirit. Your presence and life can become their ground. It takes great courage to let someone so close. Where a friendship recognizes itself as a gift, it will remain open to its own ground of blessing. When you are blessed with an “ Anam Cara”, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home. This bond between friends is indissoluble: “This, I say, is what is broken by no chances, what no interval of time or space can sever or destroy, and what even death itself cannot part.” [From Anam Cara: Wisdom from the Celtic World, by John O’Donohue, as found online in Lisa Sabine's Blog.]
My soulmate is someone I can believe in even when he doesn't believe in himself. Who I can trust to be honest with me and tell me to shut up when I need to shut up and to listen to me when I need to talk. My soulmate is a person who will forgive me when I need forgiving and who I will forgive when he needs it, too.
And if sometimes we need space from each other because the Real (tm) World has been closing in on us and we (who are very human after all) have felt crowded or insecure and taken it out on each other, well, then I just have to trust there is a connection that brought us together and which will let us--when we are stronger--come back together, some way, some how. . . serendipitously.