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Soul Mates and Twin Flames:
The Journey of the Soul in the 21st Century

Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.
Delivered at the Conscious Living Expo
February 16, 2003

     I'd like to read from the introduction of my book, Sacred Psychology of Love: The Quest or Relationships that Unite Heart and Soul . And I'd also like to read from Elizabeth Clare Prophet's book, Soul Mates and Twin Flames, pages 39-42; 58-60; 61. So we have twin flame, soul-mate and karmic relationships—whichever relationship you may have, there is a special purpose for that relationship. And that purpose is a part of your unique destiny.
     I believe that life on earth is meant to be a sacred adventure, an adventure of our soul and spirit. We come to earth as sparks of light from the Creator and each of us have special gifts to offer life. We are meant to share those gifts with our family, friends and loved ones. And each of us is destined to return to the higher octaves from whence we came once we fulfill our destiny on earth.
     I have learned that the destiny of the soul unfolds as a sacred journey and that by mobilizing a hopeful heart and a "can-do" spirit it is possible to create loving relationships—and to rescue relationships where love seems to be absent.
     As I have worked with clients over the past 38 years and walked with them through their relationships, I have learned a lot about love and relationships.
     I have seen over and over that every relationship is a drama of mutual creation and that most of us enter a love relationship with hopes and dreams in the forefront of our consciousness. We begin the dance of getting to know one another, of sharing our dreams with one another. We put our best foot forward, share what we think the other person will appreciate and tuck the rest of ourselves safely away until we know the other person better.
     As we get to know one another a little better, we entrust each other with a bit more of who we are—unless we get a signal that tells us that part of us is not acceptable. When this happens, we inwardly feel hurt and misunderstood. Yet we rarely show it at first, and after a time we take courage to try again. Maybe our beloved was having a bad day last time!
     If we try but continue to be misunderstood, we either decide to talk about it, give up the relationship or tuck that part of ourselves away again. Sometimes our most vulnerable parts are tucked away for the duration of a relationship except for the times they sneak out of hiding without our bidding.
     Think about it for a minute. Who in your life knows the real you? Who have you entrusted with the vulnerable parts of your soul? Who has entrusted their soul to you? If can think of anyone like this in your life, you are greatly blessed. You have had the opportunity for a genuine love relationship. If you are thinking, "I don't have anyone like that in my life," you likely yearn to find that person to whom you can bring all of you, even the vulnerable parts that are not so lovable in your own eyes.
     How do we develop truly loving relationships? By being loving and by being real. Many relationships falter or fail because we are not real with one another from the beginning. Since no one is perfect and play-acting can't go on forever, sooner or later our rough edges come to light. What do we do then? How about admitting them and working on smoothing them? It really doesn't work to try to hide them—there is a sense of something missing in a relationship when we hide parts of ourselves. And those pesky parts will usually emerge under stress anyway.
     What is the answer? I believe relationships succeed when we are real with one another from the beginning. We are at our best when the initial sparks of love are ignited, and when the less-than-perfect aspects surface (in ourselves or the beloved!), we are faced with a choice. We can either back away or begin to explore the depths of a real love relationship.
     In what I am calling "a real love relationship," both partners practice compassion toward self and the beloved as together they strive to create a relationship based on love, truth and forgiveness. As the relationship deepens, they accept each another for who they are-not just for the strengths or "best-foot-forward" aspects of one another.
     Now this doesn't mean that we go out of our way to put our worst foot forward or test our loved one with a prickly attitude. What it means is being "real" and if we find ourselves getting prickly, we can take a look at that. Do we want to the prickly part of ourselves to ruin this relationship? Probably not. So we need to figure out what it is in ourselves that generates prickliness, and do something about it. It's our choice!
     When we take the risk of taking a thorough look at ourselves and determine to heal the flaws in the diamond of our own being we begin a process of personal growth and refinement of character. And we begin to love ourselves more.
     As we continue to explore who we are and discover who the beloved may be, we may also begin to develop a humble appreciation for that which is deeply sacred in one another. We come to understand the awesome truth, "I am thou, and thou art me." We understand the depth and beauty of the Hindu greeting, Namaste," which means, "I see and honor the divine in you as you see and honor the divine in me."
     I have discovered in my own relationships and in helping my clients with theirs, that to be truly loving we need to overcome our tendency to move away from pain. Relating honestly and intimately brings not only the good feelings of loving and the excitement of sharing but also the pain of coming face-to-face with hurtful attitudes, unruly emotions and protective habits—our own and those of the beloved.
     Fear of this painful awakening is one of the biggest culprits in sabotaging relationships. And this is also why, consciously or unconsciously, most of us experience apprehension about entering a new relationship. We realize there will be a bittersweet mixture of love and pain. We know that once we get beyond the surface of social behavior, there will be wonderful and hurtful moments—and how we handle the hurtful moments will often make or break the relationship.
     I have never met a person, friend or client, who didn't desire to love and to be loved. Yet most of us fear that if we really open up we will be hurt or rejected, our soul crushed, our heart broken. And over our lifetime, perhaps many lifetimes, we have felt the pain of being misunderstood or rejected and of not being able to handle our own fear, frustration and anger.
     When this happened to us as children, we thought another person's hurtful behavior meant there was something wrong with us. We accepted unkind words or actions from other people as somehow our fault—and that hurt, especially when we couldn't figure out what we had done wrong. Even our family and friends may have hurt us this way. But most of us decided to keep that kind of pain and heartache to ourselves.
     Gradually we built an inner fortress of seeming graciousness, aggressiveness or nonchalance, behind which we hoped we could hide and be protected from hurt. We did survive, of course, but at some cost. We didn't get very skilled at being our real self because we were too busy trying to figure out what was wrong with us. So we hid out. While our inner fortress kept us kind of safe, it also felt lonely and sort of unreal.
     As we grew up, we didn't really trust being accepted by someone else because we knew we were putting up a "front." We didn't expose our deepest thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we no longer knew what it meant to be "real." Most of this went on at a subconscious or unconscious level, and we carried the underlying fear and defensiveness into our adult relationships—without realizing it.
     Many of us recognize that underlying our hesitancy or the fear of revealing ourselves is hurt—a build-up of hurts over many years. Yet, instead of trying to heal the hurts, we run scenarios about past or future hurts in the movie theatre of our mind. We scare ourselves about the future and wince as we remember the past. And ultimately, those fears come to roost in our closest relationships. We open our heart to a certain point but shy away from revealing our secret dreams and vulnerabilities for fear of being misunderstood.
     We can scare ourselves enough that we back off entirely. Or, we can make a conscious decision to chase that fear right out of the arena of our loving and relating. How? I teach a three-step process that you might want to try:
  1. First of all, ask yourself, "What are my vulnerabilities, my weak points that I fear are unacceptable?" Make a mental note or jot it down.
  2. Next, ask yourself, "What's the worse that could happen if this unacceptable part of myself emerges in my relationship?" Write that down.
  3. Now you have something concrete to work on, so you ask yourself, "How would I want to I handle that?" Once you've walked ourselves through it, you are on your way to trusting yourself to try again.
     We can see that relationships are an opportunity to love and to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. You might ask yourself these kinds of questions: "When have I actually revealed the "real me" and been rejected? Did the other person reject me or was I super-sensitive-or both? What is my lesson here?"
     Suppose you go on talking to yourself, "If I'm walking on eggs out of fear of being rejected, this relationship isn't going to be very satisfying to me. So why would I want to do that?"
     So then you ask yourself, "Am I willing to take the risk of being the "real me?" If the answer is "no way!" you may not be ready to face and overcome that fear. If you face down that inner hobgoblin and say, "I'm willing to take that risk! If I'm rejected for being real, it wouldn't have worked anyway," you are ready to pursue authentic relating.
     You see, when you face what you are afraid of, the fear begins to lose its hold over you. When you can see the humorous side of a situation that scares you, you are well on your way to transforming that fear. When you take positive action in spite of fear, you win a personal victory. You build a foundation of courage, which is the coming of age of the heart. When we gain maturity of heart, our relationships vastly improve.
     What if you make a mistake and hurt someone's feelings? How about forgiving yourself when the flaws in the diamond of your being show up? Remember, only real diamonds have flaws. Give yourself a pat on the back each time you keep on being real, even when you're scared. Try looking at each relationship as an opportunity to take the risk of being authentic, of opening your heart and soul to loving and being loved.
     Prepare yourself by appreciating and loving yourself the way your Creator loves you. Dialogue with yourself about the scary possibilities that come to mind. Come up with an approach to handling those possibilities.
     And you might find it comforting to share your feelings with someone you know you can trust, a friend or loved one with whom you have tested the waters over time. When you share your fears, they tend to disappear. After awhile you will likely find yourself looking forward to a new relationship as an opportunity to love and grow.
     Here's a 7-point prescription I give to my clients and readers:
  1. Ask your Higher Self to help you mobilize the courage to be authentic.
  2. Determine to stand, face and conquer your fear, and choose to be real with your friends and loved ones.
  3. When you feel scared, focus on your heart and take three deep breaths, exhaling very slowly.
  4. Cultivate a sense of humor and a quickness to forgive: yourself and those you love.
  5. Choose to give yourself and others a daily dose of loving-kindness.
  6. Keep on loving, relating and forgiving in the face of disagreements or conflicts.
  7. Give yourself three cheers and a big bear hug every time you take the risk of being real.
     Each time you outwit fear and claim your courage to love, to forgive, to try again, you win a personal victory. It is very precious, the lesson that comes from being your real self. You gradually learn that the "bogeyman" of fear isn't real. When you mobilize courage in the face of fear, you win a victory! When you choose to be authentic, you make a powerful discovery: You are lovable for who you are, and so is your beloved. With this discovery, your heart comes of age.
     Now I'd like to talk a bit about conflict because that is a major reason that people give up on relationships. All of us need to learn positive ways of handling conflict with one another.
     We can take a cue from aikido, the martial art of harmlessness. A person adept in aikido moves with the flow of the adversary's energy in such a way that the opponent is disarmed without either one being hurt. What happens when we apply this principle to conflict in relationships?
     Instead of getting into the whirl of an emotional battle, we choose to enter a dance of give and take with an eye to transforming our differences. How do we do this? By being silent during direct attacks, interacting truthfully, respectfully and compassionately, and trying to understand and appreciate our partner's point of view. Once we have a real understanding, we can often negotiate a mutual "win-win" solution.
     We can choose to be thoughtful and considerate of our partner as we share our vision, ideas, passions or practical know-how. In the process we may very well discover that our so-called differences complement each other.
     How might you do this? First, when you are having a good moment with your partner, share your thoughts about wanting to open up more and wanting to know more about your partner. You might explain that you are working on being "the real you" and handling conflict as an opportunity to learn and grow. Listen attentively to your partner's input. And make a private commitment to yourself to try the aikido way whether or not your partner does.
     When a conflict comes up and you feel hurt, recognize and voice your feelings without blaming your partner. Or silently choose to lay aside your hurt feelings for the moment while you focus on behaving lovingly. Then ask for and try to understand and appreciate your partner's point of view. Silently ask your Higher Self to help you remain centered, interested and understanding.
     As you listen carefully to your partner's point of view and express your own, honor the differences of opinion as an opening for more sharing. Choose to speak lovingly and respectfully as you seek a creative, positive solution that is mutually acceptable.
     If you are tempted to "lose your cool" or react in a negative way or drive your point into the ground, take a quick time-out and remind yourself that your goal is loving interaction and a "win-win" solution for both of you. I always think of a sampler on the wall of a friend's house that put all of this into four words: "Love, honor and negotiate."
     So what do you do when you try your best and still find yourselves at loggerheads with one another? Or if your loved one doesn't care to deal with conflict in a constructive way but tries to shout you down, or in a worst case scenario, walks out on you. You can, within yourself, agree to disagree. After all, it really isn't an insult for your loved one to have a different point of view. What a dull world it would be if everyone were to have exactly the same take on every situation!
     Differences can add spice to life and to our relationships if we choose to view them that way. And if we keep a sense of humor! It's all a matter of how we look at it. Here are nine ground rules for handling conflict in relationships—the aikido way. You might want to jot them down—better yet, buy my book!
  1. Keep your emotional balance by staying heart-centered and being true to your higher principles and values.
  2. Choose your words so they express your convictions in a way that encourages communication and resolution.
  3. Be a good listener. Listen with your heart as well as your mind. Appreciate the effort and courage it takes for both of you to be authentic, especially when you and your beloved have different points of view.
  4. Seek to understand your beloved in the way he or she seeks to be understood.
  5. When you do not understand, ask questions and listen quietly and carefully to your partner's answers. Repeat back what you do understand until your partner lets you know you've "got it."
  6. Try to express the deeper yearnings of your soul even if the words are inadequate or clumsy. Listen to the soul of your partner in the same way.
  7. Allow sharing with one another to take you "out of the box" of your original position so that you are open to new ideas or solutions.
  8. If you get stuck, feel hurt, angry or draw a blank, focus on your heart and take a few slow deep breaths. Excuse yourself for a brief moment if you need to—but be sure to come back. As soon as you feel calm, speak your truth with gentleness and respect for your partner.
  9. Try for a win-win solution that honors both of your higher principles and input and creates a positive outcome for both of you.
     When we share our hopes and dreams and handle conflict harmlessly, we often generate creative solutions beyond any simple sum of our own and our loved one's separate points of view—and relationships become increasingly more satisfying.
     I would like to conclude with a brief meditation on love and marriage. Close your eyes and envision what I am reading as you listen to Khalil Gibran's beautiful poetry from The Prophet.

      Dr. Marilyn Barrick specializes in spiritual-transformational work for the healing of soul and spirit. Her illumining books, Sacred Psychology of Love, Sacred Psychology of Change, DREAMS: Exploring the Secrets of Your Soul, EMOTIONS: Transforming Anger, Fear and Pain, SOUL REFLECTIONS: Many Lives, Many Journeys, A Spiritual Approach to Parenting: Secrets of Raising the 21st Century Child, and Everything Is Energy: New Ways to Heal Your Body, Mind & Spirit are available in fine bookstores. To order direct, call 1-800-245-5445 or 406-848-9500 outside the U.S.A.

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