"So Adam," she said. "How about you? Marriage and kids any time soon?"
I paused a moment. How straightforward do I want to be with this virtual stranger? It's a pretty personal question. "You know, I always thought that I'd be married with children by the time I hit 30," I finally said.
And I thought about adding a line used more than once by the world's most eligible bachelor (that is, until recently) George Clooney, when he said, "I haven't met the one." But that was before Clooney did meet the one, and married his beautiful Arabian princess. It must be love. Then while at the market I chanced to see in the tabloids (where I get so much reliable information) that they were going into politics. The new power couple, George and Amal Clooney. Love or political strategy? Hopefully both.
I didn't tell Lizbeth I hadn't met the one since the more I think about it the one may not exist. After the bulk of 4 decades spent searching for that special someone I've come up empty. Maybe I'm not the one. Maybe it's me! Maybe I'm not meant to mate for life.
And here I have spent most of my life believing in soul mates and twin spirits. This notion is not at all new, by the way. Over two thousand years ago the Greek philosopher Plato posited the existence of twin spirits.
"There were once three sexes, he writes in his Dialogues, "male, female, and androgynous, all of whom were once curious chimerical creatures with double the 'normal' number of limbs and members. The gods, in anger, split them in half. And love is the passionate search of two natural halves to find each other again."
More recently the notion of twin souls separated at birth has been popularized in movies, my favorite of which is Don Juan De Marco (1995) starring Johnny Depp, a delightful film wonderfully written, which features one of the most beautiful lines ever uttered in cinematic history. Johnny Depp as the titular character has the exquisite pleasure of saying:
"There are those that do not believe that a single soul born in heaven can split into twin spirits and shoot like falling stars to earth where over oceans and continents their magnetic forces will finally unite them back into one. But, how else to explain love at first sight?"
To this I answer: falling in love is easy. Staying in love, not so much.
More contemporary authors have questioned the utility or feasibility of finally and everlastingly attaining true love. A.J. McIvor-Tyndall, author of Cosmic Consciousness, The Man-God Whom We Await, maintains that the romantic quest may represent a misplaced desire to reunite with God.
"Whether this reunion be considered from the standpoint of finding the other half of the perfect one, as exemplified in the present-day search for the soul mate, or whether it be considered in the light of a spiritual merging into the One Eternal Absolute is the question of questions."
Question of questions indeed. I've been struggling with it all my life!
Since Tabitha in early nursery school right up until the present, the prospect of finding my "other half" has haunted my days. But if you are denied the boon of true love lasting til death do you part, you may be up for something even more grandiose. The religious ecstasy which results from spiritual aspiration, an ecstasy that can result from the union of the soul with its "other half," is also obtainable in the impersonal reunion with the Causeless Cause, the Absolute, "from which we are earth wanderers."
So as the Persian mystic Mahmud Shabistari so eloquently urges, "Go, sweep out the chamber of your heart, Make it ready to be the dwelling-place of the Beloved. When you depart out, he will enter in, In you, void of your self, will he display his beauty."
In the classic French author Honore de Balzac’s novel Louis Lambert, the titular character, when on the brink of enlightenment, reconsiders the question of marriage, realizing it to be “an obstacle to the perfectibility of his interior senses and to his flight through the spiritual worlds” and ultimately deciding against it.
Richard Maurice Bucke, in his excellent book Cosmic Consciousness, writes on page 175: “And, in fact, when we consider the antagonistic attitude of so many of the great cases toward this relation [Gautama, Jesus, Saint Paul, Whitman, etc.] there seems little doubt that anything like a general possession of Cosmic Consciousness must abolish marriage as we know it today.”
Choose one, earthly love or spiritual ecstasy, but not both, seems to be the argument handed down to us over the ages.
The divine yearning was felt by King Solomon and expressed in his Song of Songs.
Solomon had only partial glimpses of the ecstatic state, frequently backsliding from divine contemplation and allowing his yearning for the state of liberation to express itself in love of woman.
It seems I am in good company. Care to join me?
Of course this divine love precludes the prospect of biological children, but the earth is overpopulated anyway. To paraphrase my favorite author, Aldous Huxley, perhaps it is best to "love every human being with the love of a mother for her only child." Do this, and how sweet a place the world can be.
But what if you don't want to be a Christ or a Mother Teresa, if you're a born romantic who will not rest until the amorous quest has been fulfilled? We can choose a more recent pop culture reference to light the way. As Whitney Houston once sang, "Find your strength in love."
The key that unlocks the door to illumination is Love - not the personal type, but the impersonal, unconditional love freely given and received. This Love (capital L, to be sure) is an outpouring and overflowing of your own nature - and that goes whether you're single or spoken for.
And when you realize that you are already whole, then finding you other half loses the allure it once possessed. It has for me. Finding "the greatest love of all" inside your very own precious heart, you are truly free to play the game of romance should it come your way and for as long as it chooses to stay.
Let unconditional Love be your Plan A. Loving indiscriminately must be pretty good if Plan B is George Clooney.