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Do Soulmates Exist?

I’ve been thinking lately about whether or not there really is such a thing as two people being “soulmates.”

I know, you’ll probably say that means I have too much free time. I really don’t. Nor am I wondering if someone in particular is my soulmate, though Michael Cera and Penn Badgley have an open invitation to call me. 🙂

Part of the problem is defining what a soulmate is. Is it just someone with whom you feel a strong connection? Someone you love, and who loves you? That makes “soulmate” a metaphor for a strong, loving relationship. That’s fine, but I don’t think it’s what we mean when we ask if someone is our soulmate. We’re asking something deeper.

But what are we asking, then?

Well, depending on the religious tradition you follow, you might believe that you are a soul manifesting itself through your body. Buddhists believe that the self is an illusion, but (though I’m not an expert) it seems to me that they mean the self we see in this world. And the soul is not something we see in this world. We only see its effects.

I’m a Catholic, so I know my church teaches (Catechism 364-366) that the soul is the “form” of the body, that it is created by God, and that it survives the death of the body.

If the soul is just the form of the body, it doesn’t sound like there can be soulmates in a spiritual sense. However, the idea of a “form” doesn’t mean just the physical form: it means the animating force that makes a body alive and conscious. And a force normally has a matching opposite.

When people ask if there are soulmates, they’re asking if each soul has a “matching opposite,” another person whom she is somehow meant to be with: a person whom God created just for you, and for whom God created you. It’s another person who perfectly complements and fulfills you.

A lot of “new age” people say that there are soulmates. I’m sure that they mean well but I’m not sure how much they actually know. They seem to pick little bits of religion and philosophy from all over, then put them all together to tell a story that makes people feel good. That doesn’t make them wrong, but it doesn’t make them right, either.

So are there soulmates? Sometimes I kind of feel that there are, but I really don’t know.

I guess that the safest thing is just to try treating everyone with love, and hope that if your soulmate shows up someday, you won’t be busy taking a test. 🙂


Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

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  1. David
    February 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    My 2 cents (since when did a keyboard not have a cents sign?):

    Soulmates develop. Since you and I are the same faith, you might be able to see this. Love is really a decision. First there’s attraction, but when it comes down to brass tacks, loving someone means sacrificing yourself for your partner. And if both do that, you get soulmate. Don’t get me wrong, romance plays an important part of a marriage, but when you’ve been married awhile, and the physical beauty has worn off, the conscious decision to keep loving the other, regardless of how they look sans makeup or after giving birth, or after a few too many beers a day for the last 5 years, will keep a marriage going. Working on projects to keep your house neat or whatever will build your soul-mate-ness…:D

    • Rinth de Shadley
      February 25, 2010 at 1:51 am

      Hi David —

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment! You’re right about relationships and commitment (based on my more limited experience, at least). But I think what you said is consistent with the idea of spiritual soulmates, whether or not they exist. Something that my Mom said fits your analysis. She and Dad have been married 26 years as of last year, and she told me that a person who loves you “sees you the way you wish you still looked.” 🙂

      And thinking about it, your idea that commitment and decision are so important takes some of the pressure off. Instead of frantically wondering “Is this the right person for me to choose?”, you know that by your commitment, you make him (or her, in your case) the right choice. I like that idea.

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