We are all souls searching. Searching for something. What is that something?
After finishing my Freshman year at MIT in 1990, I flew back to Singapore for the summer. One of my best friends insisted I go with him to see a Buddhist fortune reader. His Buddhist teacher had highly recommended her, because she foretold his entire future which unfolded over the years with unbelievable accuracy. Like most, I care about my future immensely, but I also believe the future is yet to be written and the outcomes lie solely in one’s own hands, albeit with a sprinkle of luck and circumstances every now and then.
That visit changed my life in unimaginable ways.
Unlike most fortune tellers who read palms or tarot cards, this Buddhist nun asked me for my birthdate and the exact time I was born. Then, referring to a thick Buddhist book, she flipped to the exact page that corresponds to the moment, in space and time, when I was born. As though it was science, she started telling stories about my past life, about what I did right and what I did wrong. My karma, a tally of all the good and evil across all my past lives, has led me to this moment of birth, to the family I was born into, and into the tendencies I have in this life. She told me I will become a successful businessman, that I will travel far and often, but she also told me that for some mistakes made in my past life, I would be disadvantaged when it comes to finding love.
True to her predictions, or perhaps it was self fulfilling prophecy, I am here today, three times divorced but a whole lot happier.
When I met my first wife, I was in my mid-twenties. Even though I didn’t feel she was “the one”, I married her in part because after a year of dating, most people in traditional relationships always end up asking the question “when will you propose.” Feeling pressured by her, and also by the predictions of the Buddhist nun, I proposed and married her soon after. I thought if I married someone who loved me more than I loved her, I could break that loveless spell.
Boy was I wrong. A few years into the marriage, I was cheating, and my unhappiness led to divorce.
My second and third marriage didn’t fare well either.
While trying to save my third marriage, I had a breakthrough. This time it was an energy healer and tarot card reader who told me she sensed genuine love between me and Tanya, and recommended we pay a visit to a therapist she knew well.
On my first visit to the therapist, I asked a simple question: “What is wrong with me?”
I told her that a year or two into any romantic relationship, I would always end up cheating. I wanted to know if there is a reason I was incapable of monogamy, and I wanted a fix for it.
She listened patiently, and when I was done, she said, “Nothing is wrong with you.”
She went on to explain that my symptoms point to the fact that I am “non-monogamous.” Interestingly enough, most men and some women are non-monogamous by nature, even if they have never thought of classifying themselves as such. She told me that much like a gay person or a transsexual was born that way, I was born a “non-monogamous.”
A “non-monogamous” person would naturally find it harder to be monogamous. For those reasons, she said I needed to find people who will accept and love me for who I am. She also told me to read up on what it means to be “non-monogamous”, and to explore different forms of open relationships and polyamory, to see what works for me.
With this new perspective and with my third divorced finalized, I jumped back into the dating pool and back on Seeking.com and WhatsYourPrice.com a few years ago as a “poly” armed with a new approach.
I now believed that if one can be completely honest with who they are and what they seek, they will then be able to find those who can truly love them. Now in my late forties, I am set in my ways. I am not going to drastically change, and for that I need to be with those who can love me for me.
Last year, in my quest to find happiness, an ex-girlfriend of mine convinced me to join her at an Ayahuasca ceremony. For those of you who do not know what Ayahuasca is, it is a plant-based drug used by Shamans, i.e., religious healers, in Peru. The drug has an interesting ability to help one drill deep into their subconscious mind to explore one’s pain, sadness, insecurities and emotional issues.
I had one question for Mother Ayahuasca that day. I wanted to know why I have not felt truly happy. If Buddhism has taught me one thing, it is that desires and attachments are causes of suffering, and unless one can be content, they can never be happy. I felt as though I was always chasing after the next thing, be it the next business idea or the next romantic relationship. Why was I so dissatisfied with my status quo, even when I have achieved so much success and am in love with a wonderful woman?
The next morning, at the sharing circle, each person took turns to speak of their new found realizations from the night before. One man was dealing with the emotional issues he faced with his daughter’s upcoming wedding, lamenting on how he was depressed over losing her, and how Ayahuasca led him to appreciate that he wasn’t losing his daughter to another man, but rather welcoming another man into his expanding family. Another woman spoke of how she was dealing with her depression and insecurities, and how Ayahuasca made her realize she needed to focus on the now and to take life one day at a time.
When it came to my turn, I told the sharing circle, that my question going into the night was why I wasn’t happy, and what I needed to do to be truly happy. Then, I described the visions I had. Of me surfing, and chasing one wave after another. Smiling the entire time, while being truly happy and present in the moment, and appreciating my life and the freedom I felt when in the water and on that surfboard.
My realization that evening was another life changing event for me. Ayahuasca made me realize I was already truly happy; because I have a supportive family who is there for me at my lowest moments; I have genuine friends; I was lucky to have built a successful business with my family; I have good employees and business partners; and I am dating an amazing woman who loves me. I realize that I am happy because I appreciate what I have, and that I want to achieve more success, acquire more wealth or find more girlfriends, not because I had an insatiable desire, but rather, I do it because I love the chase.
Seeking.com is an interesting place to date. My experience on the website I created 13 years ago to solve my dating problems have been incredible. My journey and the people who have come into and out of my life in those years have been joyful, sprinkled with moments of disappointments, but always lessons learned.
For those of you who are searching for genuine relationships or soulmates, like I am, here are some advice:
One thing I learned about the SA community is that most of us here who are genuinely looking to date, whether it be short or long term, are open minded and kind. I can’t say the same of the bots, scammers, or those who are here for non-dating intent.
Having encountered many souls over the years, I have come to realize that most are kind, even though they may not have been looking for the same thing. Some are looking for short term flings, some to cure boredom, some for emotional support, some for love and marriage, and others for a helping hand.
But no matter what we seek, it is important to avoid those who will lie or manipulate to get what they want without remorse. When you meet someone new, ask questions, listen, and observe their actions over time.
Ask yourself. Is he or she a kind soul?
A few years ago, I was dating a girl whose baggage was her insecurity and constant anxiety. Many months into the relationship, I discovered she was addicted to opiates. After fighting for her well being, which included interventions and sending her to rehab multiple times, I finally realize nothing I do can fix her. Her baggage was dragging me into the abyss until I decided I had to let go.
Each of us come with our own set of baggage, whether it is an overbearing personality, depression, trauma, or sexual dysfunction. Yet, it is important for us to find out what baggage someone comes with, because we will end up having to carry that baggage when we are in a relationship with them.
Know what you are getting yourself into.
My inner circle, comprising of my family, soulmates, and closest friends, mean the world to me. Knowing who to let into your lives matter, because when you let the wrong people through, hurt and pain almost always follow.
I have been in too many situations where I am attracted to someone, but ignored signs that they may have been with me for the wrong reasons. The person who is genuinely attracted to you, likes you, and wants to be with you will naturally show in how they behave around you, their body language, and how they interact with you. That is what we call “chemistry”.
Even when there is chemistry, does the person have your best interest at heart. We live in a world full of self-centered and ego-centric personalities. Yet, when it comes time to choose our business partners, or soulmates, it is important to find those who not only care about their self interests, but also yours.
SA was built based on the notion of forming mutually beneficial relationships. Let us not forget that everyone in our inner circle ought to add to the relationship, not just take from it. It is easy to find friends when you are beautiful, successful and wealthy, but true friends are those who stick with you through thick and thin.
The past year has been bright for me. Through Seeking, I met my girlfriend, Zoe, who is honestly one of the kindest souls I have ever known. For a guy who once said, “Love is a concept invented by poor people”, it was love at first sight the moment I met her. I have told her many times that we have known each other for millions of years, spanned across thousands and thousands of past lives. Maybe that is how you feel when you meet someone who loves you for you, no matter what.
I am self reflective by nature, but I am by no means always right. I hope by sharing insights I have gained from my personal journey, I am able to help each of you avoid the mistakes I have made as you search for your soulmates or your version of happiness.
Where art thou kind souls. Let us fly together. We are soulmates.
We are all souls searching. Searching for something. What is that something?