Recently, I’ve reconnected with some old friends. We’ve had the experience of immediately meeting each other at a very deep level despite having parted ways and not seen each other in many years. That’s because our original connection was not merely at the level of the personality. It was at the level of the soul. And I believe that once you have truly met another that deeply, it’s a connection that lasts for eternity.
Most of our relationships are not that deep, even if they may appear to be. For example, we may love our blood relatives—our parents or our children—very, very much, but still not necessarily be bonded at the level of the soul. We can share a lot of history with other human beings and still not be connected at the deepest level. We can have lovers with whom we’ve shared passion and profound intimacy and the sense of a connection that at least felt as if nothing could be deeper—and then, for one reason or another, drift apart. Then, if we meet our former lover years later, we may have the strange and sometimes disturbing sensation of there being literally no connection any more.
How can such a thing be? How can we love another so deeply and then find that love and connection to be gone, nowhere to be found? I believe it’s because the connection wasn’t at the level of the soul.
Soul connections are eternal. Every other relationship we have, no matter how sweet, kind, intimate, or apparently meaningful, will in the end be revealed to be only temporary. And this truth can be hard to bear, especially when we experience this in relationship to people we have felt very, very close to. It’s only when we meet another in the mutual recognition of life’s ultimate mystery, that liberating metaphysical truth which transcends anything and everything relative, that we experience a connection that is forever.
I met my last spiritual teacher, the great HWL Poonja, in 1986 in Lucknow, India. I’d been a very earnest seeker and when I met him I was a very ripe fruit. After spending three weeks in his company, going for walks, asking many questions, and taking meals together, his powerful spiritual influence catalyzed a transformation in myself at a soul level that has remained with me ever since. For that greatest gift that can be given, I owe him everything.
Life unfolds in mysterious ways. After five years, my teacher and I came to loggerheads. Philosophically we were no longer aligned and, painfully, we parted ways. Twenty-four years later, on the anniversary of my first meeting with the master (who had since passed away), I had a completely surprising experience. I was walking towards my house, my mind dwelling on practical concerns, when suddenly my teacher appeared before me in all his glory.
He wasn’t physically present, but in that mysterious domain beyond the mind and beyond time his bodily form appeared, surrounded by light and energy and a current of love and bliss that were the hallmarks of his gift to me. I have no doubt that this was his soul essence. He was no longer physically in this world by that time, but our connection was deeper than time or space or history… or even philosophical disagreements.
I don’t consider myself to be a naïve or superstitious person, and this event took me completely by surprise. I almost fell to my knees in awe and wonder. I’ve never experienced anything like it, before or since.
The two old friends that I’ve recently connected with were not merely friends. They had been very close students of mine and we had also come to a parting of the ways. Life and the passing of time had brought us back together. In that coming together, the immediacy of our bond was surprisingly palpable and apparent. Our connection was eternal. From the perspective of that mysterious domain beyond the mind and beyond time, our differences seemed superficial, irrelevant, and relative.
I hadn’t seen one of these individuals in twenty-five years, and within seconds of reconnecting, it was like no time had passed. Our mutual love, admiration, and respect for each other seemed to be untouched by the intervening years. How marvelous and how joy-filled was our reunion. How free from history was our heart connection, how rooted in the infinite was our bond. Once you really connect at the deepest level, the level of the soul, it’s forever.