Adam Gilad is the host of the 5-part Evolver Intensive, "From Sex to Super-Consciousness: The Future of Love."  For this live, interactive video course, Adam has assembled 7 remarkable experts on the ways that sensuality and intimacy provide an ecstatic path to profound spiritual experience: Annie Lalla, Alex Allman, Sera Beak, Michael Mirdad, Marc Gafni, Carol Queen and Reid Mihalko. It all starts on February 10.

I don't like how people hawk soul-mates the same way casinos dangle jackpots. As a one-time hit.  An anomaly.  An "out."  An end. It's a con, playing on your hope.  You wait for the dealer to flip you the winning hand. A game of luck.

I don't like the idea of soul-mates. It suggests the wish-fulfillment of a pre-destined fixed-deck.  Which reduces you to a hapless rube at the card table of love. 

I am not a fan of passive living.

I am not a fan of any habit that puts you in the mind of powerlessness or entitlement.

I am not a fan of Calvinist pre-destination, nor of the Platonic/Kabalistic/Gnostic mythology of the original human being a four-armed, four-legged androgyne, something so whole that the gods or God had to split it, for fear of being matched or challenged by so "whole" a being.

These proto soul-mate mythologies leave us, as men and women, eternally seeking our "other half."

I don't like it, but, hells bells, I understand it.

And I feel it, too, in the dating realm. Often!

I feel that rush of "this is it!" when I scan the "favorite books" section of an online dating profile and all our favorite authors match up — Neruda, Vonnegut, Twain, Hitchens, Dylan Thomas…

Surely she and I are soulmates!

But there!   On another profile — all our favorite crazy eclectic musicians click like paired DNA — Ella, Muse, Chopin, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Coltrane, McCorkle….
The bliss of it!  No doubt!  She's my soul-mate!

The thing is — the wonderful thing is  — if your heart is open, if your curiosity is great, if your enthusiasm for life abounds, potential soul-mates will keep skipping toward you out of the mist.

They will just keep coming. But who among them will really be your "other half"?

Let me ask it another way — "how many shared authors, bands, beliefs, preferences, sexual kinks and future visions does it take to screw in a soul-mate?"

At what percentage point of "OMG!" do you so "click" into place like a divine zipper with somebody so that it feels like pre-destiny?  

What's the tipping point that makes someone your soulmate? 51%?  75?%  90%?  100% (as if that were possible among two evolved adults).

I have a radical answer to this.

It's the wrong question.

My working hypothesis is that every person you encounter is your soul-mate.

I believe that it's far more useful — and more true and more awakening — to peer right past the quirks and similarities and annoyances of every single person living on Earth and see them as your soul-mate.

Maybe you believe we were all created by one puppeteer God.  I don't.  But I do know that we are all related.  That we were once all wide-eyed children, allured to joy.  That we all grieve our loved ones, and, quietly, our own winnowing years.  That we delight to the same bejeweled sky when we can see the damned thing, and feel our souls soothed by the same tongue-touch of the seas on the ocean shore.

Most of the spiritual "giants" had it right:  love is everywhere and love is now.

It is available to you, if you choose to feel it in the eyes of the barrista at Starbucks, the nutcase sitting opposite you on the subway, the weary mother trying to tie her squirming toddler's laces, the girl who broke your heart when you were 14, the man who betrayed you when you were 40, the child soldiers pressed into service in the Congo… soldiers everywhere, the shamed, the enraged, the flailing, the lost.

And I'll tell you something…

The more you practice seeing, feeling — creating love — with every person on this Earth — as screwy, confused, deluded, yearning, lonely and annoying as they are — as, by the way, you and I are…

… then, when that lovely individual wanders out of the mist who dreams dreams similar to yours, who wishes to create an intimate life similar to the intimate life you wish to create, and yes, who may even read and listen to the same artists who craft those nuances that open your souls in the similar ways…

… when he or she appears before you…

… your heart will know that no matter how "special"  or "unique"  or "soul-matey" he or she seems to you, that that person is not some one-of-a-kind ace of spades thrown your way to complete your life's royal flush…

…but simply another wanderer in the forest of life.

Even though you will feel, in the dizzying rush of hormonal ecstasy, that you have found your "mystical" other half…

… you will know that it's not "game over," or "bingo!" or "jackpot!"

It will not feel like a "whew," like a closure, where you can now shield yourselves from the pain of the raging and painful world. But rather as an opening to feel — more safely now, more true now — the pain of that world with more compassion.

Deep inside, you will know that your DNA can pretty much combine with lots of other people's DNA to create a perfect, wonder-bound infant. Whether that infant is an actual new drooling human — or simply your new infant love, this new story of intimacy crawling forward, eyes-wide with wonder…

You will know that if you take this person's hand, you have the power –  the practiced and humbled and expanded heart – to create a unique path of your own through the dark glades where all your other soulmates are also stumbling forward.  
Which allows us to bear whatever monsters may arise from the shadows.

Image by jardek, courtesy of Creative Commons license.