Mar 9 2017
Two weeks later, Sylvester said he was done with the assignment. He asked me to take a look at what he had written, to make sure he was on the right track.
“Wait,” I said, “do you remember me saying that you don’t need to show it to anyone, because you are writing it for youself?”
“Yeah, I remember.” He said, “I just want to get your feedback on a few pages, because it’s important to me to get it right.”
So I took a look at what he had written. He enjoyed creative writing, so he wrote it like an excerpt from a novel. After a while, I pointed a few things out: “Most of it is good, but here you describe her as a blonde bartender. Why so specific? Why not something more general, like someone whose job is dealing with the public?”
“I know, I know,” he said. “It’s just an impression that came to me as I was writing, and it felt right somehow, so I decided to stick with it.”
“We’ll let that go for now,” I said. “Let’s take a look at her other characteristics. You describe her as having a dancer’s physique, able to move confidently and gracefully. You also describe her as deeply spiritual but not overly religious. Can you elaborate on that a bit?”
He went on at length about this girl he hadn’t even met yet. He talked about the sparkle in her eyes when she laughed, her deep sense of connection with the people she loved, and much more. After a while, I stopped him.
“This is excellent, Sly.” I said: “It is evident to me that you have visualized your soul mate to a sufficient degree of clarity — and more.”
He was pleased to hear this, and wanted to know the next step. Was he done?
“Oh no, you’re not done,” I chuckled. “People who read New Age books like The Secret may think this is pretty much it — clearly visualize what you want, think about it all the time, maybe repeat affirmations to yourself — and suddenly she will appear in your life. They are absolutely wrong.”
“Well, yeah,” he said, “that’s why I’m asking you and not reading those books. I assume you had me write all this stuff down for a specific reason, right?”
“Yes. The next thing I want you to do is contemplate the yin and yang symbol and the concept of complementary duality. Your soul mate is literally your energy complement. She’s someone who inspires you to better yourself, and at the same time is inspired by you to better herself. She is your perfect match, which means you have to be her perfect match as well.”
“Okay,” he said, “I’m following everything you are saying so far.”
Step 3: Contemplate the soul mate of the soul mate. Now that you know your soul mate clearly, what kind of person would he or she be looking for? Who can be the perfect match for him or her?
“The next thing you must do is look at what you have written, and for all the different aspects of her — physical, mental and spiritual — you must visualize a good match for her, essentially a better version of yourself as the person she would wish for as her soul mate.”
“You mean I should apply my description of her to myself? I’m not sure I follow.”
“No, not quite. Let’s go through a few examples. You describe her body as that of a dancer, and her movements as naturally graceful. Right off the bat, this suggests that her soul mate would not be a clumsy oaf. He doesn’t have to be a dancer, but he would be in good shape. He would have excellent muscle tone and have excellent control of his movements.”
“Okay, I see what you mean.”
“This means you’ve got some work to do. You’re not overweight, and that’s a good thing, but you are not yet at a point where you can stand next to her and feel that the two of you are a good match physically. Therefore, the work you have to do will involve regular physical exercise. It’s all about mastering your own body. The more fit you are, the more gracefully you can move. At some point, your movements will blend with hers harmoniously and naturally.”
Sylvester gave this serious thought. After a moment, he said: “I have always been interested in yoga, but never acted on the interest. Yoga classes are not that expensive. I think I’ll take action on this idea and commit to it for a few months.”
Step 4: Use this concept — the ideal of your ideal — as your aspiration. It is the best version of yourself that you can become. Compare this apsiration to you in this moment. In what areas are you lacking? What exactly do you need to work on?
“Excellent,” I said. “You will also need to examine all the other aspects of her and take similar action. For instance, your soul mate is deeply spiritual without being religious. How well do you measure up in that respect? Can you converse with her on spiritual topics in a way that is mutually enriching? What do you need to do to get to that level?”
After another long pause, Sylvester said: “I think… I will benefit from a more regular practice of meditation. I should also pick up some of the books I’ve been meaning to read. You are right — I want someone I can learn from, and also learn from me when it comes to the spiritual side of life.”
“Follow the same process top to bottom. Create a plan to better yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. And remember: this plan is only for yourself. You don’t have to let anyone else see it. Therefore, you can be completely frank about where you fall short and where you need to improve.”
Step 5: Instead of focusing on an external search for your soul mate, focus on the internal reinvention of yourself as the soul mate of your soul mate. Figure out the steps you need to take to embody this role physically, mentally and spiritually. Plan the work — and work the plan.
“If I were to play Devil’s Advocate,” Sylvester said, “I might say this all boils down to me changing myself to suit someone else. I might feel stubborn and want to remain just the way I am.”
“Think back to how you felt when we started this conversation,” I said. “To remain just the way you were is to be alone. There’s a certain freedom in that, because you answer to no one and do whatever you damn well please. There’s also pain in the loneliness, because there is no one around who understands your troubles, and no one around to share in the goodness that life has to offer. Overall, on balance, to remain just the way you were really does kind of suck.”
Sylvester laughed and admitted it was quite true in his case.
I continued: “To people who are religious, I ask, ‘Would God want you to make these changes in yourself?’ To those who are not, I ask, ‘Would you become a better person to your family and friends if you were to make these changes?’ If the answer is yes, then you know you have to do it. You have to take decisive action.”
“How long will this process take?” Sylvester asked.
“Most people I have coached achieve their dream in half a year or less. This is not a long time at all because when it comes to the soul mate, we are talking about lifelong happiness. Of course, if they are on-again, off-again in their approach, then the process would take longer, or perhaps never bear fruit.”