Reader Question - What is a Twin Flame or Twin Soul and is it the same as a Soul Mate? I keep hearing people refer to them both, but I’m not really sure what they are.
Note: My Own understanding of this topic is continually evolving. These were my thoughts at the time this was written.
For many, the concept of Twin Souls is new, and it’s confusing to have these soul relationship names thrown around as if they are the same. It doesn’t help that pop culture uses “Soul Mate” as a blanket term, the one and only romantic goal worth achieving, raising questions like “Do we only have one Soul Mate? What if I mess up and miss meeting The One?”
What’s a Soul Mate seeker to do?
Short answer - From a purely human perspective, Soul Mates and Soul Twins are not the same. We have only one Soul Twin, but many Soul Mates and many opportunities for deeply satisfying love. And - spoiler alert - soulmates are not just romantic.
Often when there is intensity or chemistry in a relationship, the partners assume they have met their Soul Mate or Twin, but that intensity is most likely due to some other physical, developmental, or emotional need. (Check out The Many Types of Soulmates to see what else might be going on.) In her 2007 book, Clown Girl, Monica Drake wrote:
“The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.”
The Buddha really didn't have this much to say about soulmates, but there is nugget of truth in Drake's quote. Awakening to your Soul Twin feels like a homecoming. Sure, there might be celebrations and excitement, but the underlying feeling is one of peace and knowingness, not wild chemistry.
Your Twin Flame or Twin Soul is literally the other "half" of your soul. In other words, it's YOU, because you are not a half. You are already a whole, and it's in the awakening to that truth of wholeness that you "discover" your soul twin. (The Egg)
Confused? No worries....
The story goes something like this: In the dawn of time when souls came into being, they were all One. The Oneness was gender-neutral – both male and female energy, but neither male nor female gender. At some point, the energy split. The bits of soul energy began experiencing themselves as if they had gender, as if they were separate, each gathering human experiences over many lifetimes. The soul bits may have had lives as both men and women. They may have even had lives as dogs or trees. Their purpose was to grow and awaken and become enlightened so they could eventually reconnect as an evolved being, as The One.
In this scenario, even though each twin appears to be half of the original soul they are also complete entities themselves, much like protons and neutrons make up the nucleus of an atom. Their earthly experiences are bringing their male and female energies back together and into balance. It’s that process of growing and evolving we as humans know so well. We each do it as "individuals" and also participate collectively as part of the human race. From this perspective, though each soul twin is complete, they are also moving towards recognizing their wholeness again, consciously reunited with their other half, The Oneness. This awakening to the fullness of our rejoined male and female aspects, our energetic rejoining, is the purpose of human life.
By this definition, we have only one Soul Twin or Twin Flame, ourselves, and have technically not yet shared other lives with him or her, or more accurately with the awareness of him or her. In this theory, Soul Twins usually find each other in their final human lifetimes. Once consciously reunited, they go on together to another phase or dimension of soul evolution.
Another way of looking at this is that you and your twin have shared every lifetime together and just weren't yet aware of it. It's that ultimate awareness, the reunion with Self, that we are really seeking, even though we think we are looking for romantic love. As Ram Dass points out, "...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."
From that perspective, we all are each other's soulmates. We are all part of the great Oneness, moving fluidly in and out of what we perceive as relationships. Borrowing again from Ram Dass:
"Now, behind all of it 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 mate, 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."
From this perspective, "meeting" your Twin Soul is the realization that there was only One all along and you are it. It feels like homecoming because you are literally aware of yourself as yourself for the first time. And the excitement, the joy you feel, is for this ultimate homecoming.
Sometimes, you recognize yourself as your Twin before you are ready, before you can fully understand or welcome this truth. In that case, the mates/aspects may separate to complete their own work and reunite at a later time. It isn’t necessary to have dealt with all your issues before discovering the identity of your Soul Twin (recognizing yourself), but any remaining baggage will come up in a supercharged way. The good news is that the two of you, AKA the whole of you, can face these issues together and you must. There can ultimately be no barriers between Soul Twins because your twin is you. Everything that still needs healing will show up. Be grateful for this acceleration.
On the other hand, we have many Soul Mates. Soul Mates are perceived as everyone else. When we meet another soul in human form who is "working on" a similar lesson, we often just click. We sometimes call that “chemistry” and it can be perceived as negative or positive, but it is always for the benefit of our soul’s awakening. My own belief (at least at this point in my own awakening) is that every single person we encounter is a soulmate. That includes the stranger we pass on the street as well as our intimates. There's only One and everything we experience is just some aspect of that One presenting as it does for our enlightenment.
Soul Mates can play many roles in our lives – lover, parent, sibling, child, friend, teacher, student, colleague, pet, enemy, abuser, victim, oppressor. They can be with you for a moment or a while or an entire lifetime. Soul Mates have an agreement to share many lifetimes and help each other evolve and become enlightened. The love and commitment between "them" is so strong, they even willingly endure horrible human lifetimes or inhabit roles that cause them to be hated, all for the benefit of their soul's awakening.
When it comes to finding romantic love, though, be comforted. While there is only one Soul Twin, only one awakening back to yourself, all your many Soul Mates are available for rich, fulfilling relationships. They appear with exactly what we need and are ready for in that moment. Even if the people they appear as choose not to stay or it ends badly or you outgrow each other, they are perfect in this time and space. Be grateful.
If you find yourself in the same “wrong” relationship over and over, pause. What is the common denominator? Those souls, those aspects of yourself, are lovingly bringing you that lesson over and over until you get it. Think of Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. Lessons in life are repeated in their entirety from the beginning until learned. Such is the purpose of life. And that thing that annoys you so in your partner? Yeah, that’s a clue, too. Pay attention.
There’s no need to fear that you will miss out if you don’t get it right, if you don't find that mystical single right One. Reunion is your ultimate destiny as a soul. There’s no need to cling to a relationship that has run its course. Free that space for the love that is seeking you. All those “wrong” ones are preparing you for the greatest love your soul can know - reunion with Yourself , reunion with Source. They are your training wheels relationships and are essential to teaching you how to be You. Bless them for being a part of your life, then lovingly set them free to use what they have learned from you.
After all, the whole soul love experience is a dance – learning to flow together with the music of the universe and not step on each other’s toes. And sometimes, you even change partners.
This article was edited February 10, 2015 to reflect the evolving awakening of the author.
Anne Wade is the founder and publisher of The Soulmate Dance. She is a writer, educator, life coach, and lifelong student of soulmate relationships, devoted to expanding our understanding of all types of soulmate relationships and experiences.