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The Reality of Soul-Mates

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By Rahayu Ratnaningsih

One episode of “Sex and the City” threw away a question:  soul mate, is it a reality or a torture device?  Then it went on with the questions: what happens to those who think they have found their soul mates but then their marriage goes sour and ends up in divorce.  Were their spouses once their soul mates, and now are no longer?  Isn’t the idea of a soul mate for good?  Or should there be only one soul mate for every person?  What about the ideas of several soul mates, those people dear to you whom you don’t necessarily sleep with and whom you can relate with in a deeper level?  Is it possible to have seasonal soul mates?

I have come to the conclusion, while it is the most cherished ideal to have that one person who completes you, your perfect match, whom you are so romantically, physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually connected with –presumably till death do you part-- you in fact can have several soul mates at the same time, the people who make every day of your life worth living. 

Besides, we know how many marriages are nothing but a farce, not to mention the large number of them which end in divorce.  Here is some consolation for those who are still “forced” to be single: first, every twelfth marriage ends in divorce; second, that since 1870 divorces have increased from 28 to 73 for every hundred thousand population; third, that adultery, since 1867, as ground for divorce, has increased 270.8 per cent; fourth, that desertion increased 369.8 per cent. And often, embittered split couples, who were once so crazy about each other, can now no longer tolerate each other.

So perhaps unconditional love and care for others, unspoiled by romantic intention and jealousy, makes a more fertile ground for cultivating more lasting soul-mate species.

I personally have a few close friends who are very dear to my heart whom perhaps I can consider as soul mates, if not perpetually at least from time to time, and perhaps each of whom for a certain type of “function.”  I might tell certain things to one soul mate only but not to the others.  And these people sometimes don’t have to be physically here with me for me to feel their presence, love, attention and support.

Russ was my boyfriend of 9 years.  We are still very good friends and care for each other a lot.  Though we are no longer a couple in the strictest sense, I still care about him so very dearly the way I would my own brother.  No matter what we do, I want to make sure he’s happy and well.

Pantja is my best girlfriend, we usually can talk about everything.  Though at times, I find her sometimes too easy going, carefree and “unreliable” (like she would promise a few things but then either forgot them or just didn’t really care to fulfill them) but I have learned to accept her the way she is, warts and all.    Overall she is a good, loyal friend and I miss her a lot when not talking to or seeing her in a while.

Benny, he is often insensitive when criticizing my appearance.  He will have no compunction commenting on my “wrestler’s arms” or my sometimes bulging tummy or love handles or not substantial enough bosom with a straight face, because he’s really mad about waif-looking girls with thin, long arms and skinny catwalk model appearance.  I’m usually very tolerant being abused like that, so I will just ignore him thinking that it’s just a sexually frustrated man’s verbiage, while he himself can be real touchy when I unintentionally exert “my intellectual prowess” over him by calling him –again quite unintentionally- dumb or silly.  And once he was real agitated when I was speculating, quite jocularly of course, on his wife’s physique after giving birth to their first son.  However, when we are not insulting each other generally speaking we are real good friends.  He would tell me some very private stuff about his wife or marriage that I bet he wouldn’t dare tell anyone else and vice versa. 

Mr. T,  he’s a decent, respectful man and a great father (I’m not sure if he’s a great husband).  He’s endearingly funny in his own uncanny way.  I adore his decidedly cute kids very much.  As a self-proclaimed philosopher –a label he deems as quite apt considering that, he said, all philosophers start as self-proclaimed until long after their death-, his philosophy is often too deep for me to grasp so I’d rather not discuss anything of the sort with him.  But somehow he’s got the impression that I’m an eternal spiritual fountain so he will eventually go back to that subject again and again.  He is redoing and maintaining my website now.

Bobby, oh…he’s wild.  When driving, he will find a way –any way at all- that will prevent him from taking his foot off the accelerator so he fidgets and incessantly swears in such a fashion that would make an Irish Navy blush, mind you LA roads are not that bad to drive on at all.   Sitting next to him as he is driving will make an experience of a lifetime.  He should come and drive in Jakarta and I bet he will be incarcerated in a mental institution after two weeks.  I bought “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” for him to read especially because it contains a chapter on enjoyable and stress-free driving but apparently that book doesn’t do much on him.  As a true woman lover (and a self-proclaimed male feminist) and in his tireless quest for an ultimate soul mate, he dates numerous women at the same time, so you’ll find a lot of traces of quite a number of ex-es and currents scattered in every corner of his unkempt house, from the bathroom to the kitchen cabinets.  But there is something about him that I adore: his childlike sunny-ness – almost like innocence-  and a tender heart beneath his hyperactive and loud persona.  We can talk for hours on the phone, 3-4 times a week, sharing our  -usually doomed- love lives, among other things, and laugh about them.  And he will make sure that he doesn’t spare any fine details of his dates of the week, how they look, measure and taste and what they do together.

Craig, he has this appealing English wit so when we meet we will guffaw like a pair of prepubescent kids.  He has his shallow side to him, which I forgive.  We will be at each other’s throat when talking about a certain subject like spirituality, so we’d rather discuss things that are palatable to his left-brained predisposition such as reproduction system and methods or the mechanism of how the toilet actually flushes.  Despite our apparent incompatibility in some ways, we get along very well and care for each other a lot.

There is also Ann, whom I met in one of my retreats with whom I feel so much connection for the wonderful and gentle spirit that she is.  And Andi, my pen –now e- pal whom I’ve known for 11 years and a throng of other more casual friends and e-friends whom I never met but have been a part of my “support system” for quite a while now.  These people would send me books and are on-goingly very supportive of what I do, whose friendships have enriched my life and my quest for spiritual nourishment. 

These are the people who accept and take us for what we are and in the same way we return the favor to them.

And this soul mate group is potentially still growing.

Sure I still want that very special, ultimate soul mate, like everybody else: that one man who sweeps me off my feet…  But I guess I can’t be more blessed for what I already have now.  As the adage goes, don’t forget to count your blessings.

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