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?
Ram 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