I recently texted some friends to update them on my book’s publication progress, and also to tell them about my life at the moment. At the end of the message I wrote: “I miss your soul.”
The next day, I woke up with a strange feeling. It was a constricting sensation of anxiety and sorrow. There had been so much peace and joy in my heart the last few months that it was hard to believe the feeling rising in my mind that morning. At first, I thought the feelings could be the residual product of a bad dream (as I’d just woken up). But it alarmed me that as the day went on I realized they were rooted in reality. My breakfast didn’t taste the same. My spiritual recitations had lost their meaning. I knew I had to stop everything I had planned for that morning and meditate on this unpleasant feeling.
So that is exactly what I did.
I sat down, made myself comfortable, and meditated long enough to quiet my mind and listen to my heart. It was an urgent matter to know the reason for feeling so unsettled. I asked myself: “What have I done or said that is not in harmony with my heart?” This is a typical question that I ask when I encounter startling emotions, even when they are positive in nature.
After thirty minutes or so of meditation, my thoughts began to connect what I had written to my friends with another prior event. It became clear that I hadn’t conveyed my whole truth to my friends.
About a week before sending the message, I attended a Sufi Center to partake in one of their spiritual practices. The place was on the second floor next door to an art gallery, which auspiciously displayed a painting of a heart in the window.
I arrived early. As I climbed the stairs to get there, I heard beautiful chanting in unison. What a peaceful sound, I thought. At the top of the stairs were some shoes on a rack. Those shoes had carried bodies whose soulful presences could be felt through their voices. I left my shoes there, too.
As soon as I entered the simple, peaceful reception area (it looked like a loving grandmother’s living room), a tall woman greeted me with a genuine smile and compassionate eyes. She offered me some tea and we sat down to talk about Sufism before the spiritual session started. Some other attendees were already there, and they joined the conversation. The chant echoing from the other room perfumed the air as we spoke.
We were immediately like family. I am used to relating to people as souls, but it isn’t so common that I meet beings who recognize themselves as souls, too. That day, as we sat and talked about spirituality, I felt that everyone was so immersed in their own hearts that there wasn’t any feeling of separation or judgment to create differences between us. We simply gathered to celebrate our temporary existence in time and space while wrapped in different bodies. The air we breathed and exhaled had only one molecule: love!
Later during the meeting, tears fell from my eyes as my heart felt the incredible potential we humans have to love with purity and to be kind.
This was what I meant when I told my friends that I missed their souls. I’ve seen their potential to be as kind and loving as the Sufis and Buddhists I’ve followed in spirituality. I miss the real soul connection that has never happened between these friends and myself, one that transcends our physical and psychological realities. Most of the time we are so caught up in expressing our physical capabilities and mental needs that we fail to experience our own existence as souls. What a precious experience to miss in this life! To me, once I have recognized someone as a divine being, I receive no joy from relating to them through ego.
To my friends: the next time I say to you that I “miss your soul,” know that I am communicating directly to the pure essence of who you are. I couldn’t possibly miss the manifestation of the ego in all of us that causes most of the suffering in the world.
I still miss your soul!