I’ve been asking myself this question for awhile now. Recently, I entered into, and subsequently ended, a partnership with someone that was clearly meant to teach me some difficult life lessons. Let’s call this person my karmic soulmate. Without getting into the details, while there were never any moments of outward emotional outbursts (i.e. we tried as best as we could to keep communication as respectful as possible), the relationship left a path of inner destruction that had me picking up the pieces of myself in its aftermath.
Karmic relationships are tumultuous in nature. They are usually temporary, and designed to facilitate life lessons that help us grow along our soul journey. The person that we enter into this karmic relationship with often acts as a mirror, reflecting back to us the shadows of our being. I saw some of the darkest sides of myself emerge during this process.
When I first extracted myself from the toxic interaction, anger, frustration and a whole host of painful emotions had me pointing fingers outward to the damage that was done to me by someone else. Eventually, I grew tired. I was more than tired. I was exhausted. The stagnation of heavy emotions were weighing me down. I was going nowhere.
I began making space for myself. I widened the scope of my vision and found myself standing (or perhaps floating) outside of my being, looking back at my whole self and asking the question, “How did I drive myself into this insanity?” And that is where the healing started.
It became clearer to me that so much of the mess that I’d gotten myself into was of my own doing. My karmic soulmate, on the other hand, was there as a catalyst to ignite a process that was to transform me towards soul growth. As I began peeling back the layers, I uncovered a web of interconnected events and interactions leading all the way to the time of my birth. While seemingly benign on the surface, I became aware of how even well-meaning actions and words directed at me during my childhood had snowballed into toxic behavioral patterns in adulthood. Where love in childhood is perceived to be conditional; where worthiness and value are stacked next to sometimes unattainable goals, we become infected with the worst disease of all, that of self-judgement and insecurity.
The lights turned on. I began to see and feel my authentic Self emerge from the shackles of judgement and expectations. I began to love myself again; to trust myself; to offer myself compassion. But that was only half the work. I was unable to offer the same love, compassion and non-judgement to my karmic soulmate. I continued to keep the score on their shortcomings. I needed them to know how they had wronged me.
As time went on though, I found that the more love I experienced for myself and towards myself, the more ready I was to let go of the score and give love in return. Recently, I spent a month teaching yoga on a paradise island in the Andaman Sea. During this time, I sat and watched the sunset, without fail, almost every single night. There, beyond the love and compassion I offered to myself, I experienced deep, universal love; God’s love. Whatever it is you want to call it, LIFE was loving me, and I felt it like delicious, warm elixir pouring over my body, seeping into my skin and spreading into every cell.
I returned to this feeling again shortly after, during an intensive 7-hour meditation, except there had been a profound shift. This time, the love and compassion that I offered myself and that of universal love were one and the same. I felt my body fragment into an energy-like quality, as if body and space were indistinguishable. In that moment I understood our true nature as that of pure love and light. I felt this energy of love flowing out of my heart and melting any remnants of bitterness, of judgement, and I let go of the score. In the end, the details do not matter.
I had experienced a moment of bliss. As with most things, bliss too is temporary. But the love and compassion remained. Love is boundless and infinite. I understand this to be what working out karma with someone looks like. What it feels like. Love and compassion doesn’t necessarily mean that a person will continue to be in our lives, however. Perhaps a purpose was served in this relationship and letting go is also part of the journey.