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Moondance cover

An addictive spin on life, love, and the nature of reality


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The definition true love is one of the great mysteries of life

Below is the definition true love once and for all. Clear. Concise. Undisputed. Mystery solved. You can all go home now.

“Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one agrees on just what it is.” – Diane Ackerman

Gotcha! The definition true love is a mystery that prods us on emotionally, spiritually — and creatively. A four-letter word which sparks wonder and debate. A condition of soulmates.

“Love is a verb.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we refer to ‘soulmate’ it's always a noun. Not so with love. If you want to get sticky about it, love can be both a noun and a verb (or is that a participle?). Phonics aside, my personal definition true love is the ever expanding experience we manifest on earth in relationship to All — yes, including our beloved. How to find true love

Is this love?

When our heart opens, it's an indescribable feeling, like we've ripped open the veil of our earthly reality to get a glimpse of pure universal life force. Music connects us with this otherworldly energy — which is why skinny, pale undernourished guys with guitars, become so hot when they get on stage! ☺ Ditto with all kinds of artists and art forms.

Of course, certain people also carry the vibrational key to our hearts. Yet when our heart bursts open in ways we've never felt before, does this fit the definition true love? I don't think so. I do think that this euphoria may be a catalyst of sorts, or a mirror which shows us more of who we are.

Love, inside out

“Love is letting go of fear.” – Gerald Jampolsky

This euphoria permeates our being. Problems arise, when we credit or blame the people and things outside ourselves for the feeling, in a game of cause and effect. That's when the definition true love gets blurred, and where many of us walk a fine line.

Some sticky examples...when does:

  • Supportive turn to martyrdom?
  • Protective turn to possessive?
  • Kind become weak?
  • Forgiving turn to doormat?
  • Compassion turn to gullibility?
  • Passion become obsession?
  • Empathy become codependence?

And! If by definition true love is unselfish, where do our own needs fit?

So! What is true love?

Well, surprise! I don't have all the answers. However, what I will share with you are some ideas that have resonated deeply for me as I've created my own personal definition true love.

Romantic love

As they say, love's like a drug! If we're not careful, we can get addicted.

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’” – Erich Fromm

Romance is like blowing on a fire... enhancing an internal euphoria, which is rather addictive. Not bad on its own — but dangerous if we go through life expecting the feeling to last. Because like sweet 'n' sticky icing... it's just on the surface and it can make us sick if we eat too much of it.

“Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience. Falling in love is not.’ – Scott Peck

Romantic love, according to psychiatrist Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled, is a ‘myth’, a ‘dreadful lie’ and is often what lead people to heartache and despair later on in life. This romantic definition true love is better known as dependency, or: ‘I can't live without you’, or ‘because true love lasts forever’ love.

Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God — Book 1, agrees:

“Now it is very romantic to say that now that your special other has entered your life, you feel complete. Yet the purpose of relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.”

Now having said that, there's no reason why we can't enjoy romance. The key is to enjoy romance consciously, with the understanding that while it's a rush — it's not reality. Explore my ‘adult romance ideas

Self love

This defintion true love, is in my view, the precursor to soulmate love. It's different than self absorption, or narcissism.

We each vibrate at a certain energy level, which attracts certain experiences and repels others. Counter to what society teaches us, Neale Donald Walsch says that the most loving person is the person who is self-centered:

“For centuries you have been taught that love-sponsored action arises our of the choice to be, do, and have whatever produces the highest good for another. Yet I tell you this: the highest choice is that which produces the highest good for you."

More on the definition true love by relationship expert Gay Hendricks, who has also created a really insightful and practical e-course on attracting genuine love as well.

"The major barrier to a loving relationship with another person is an unloved part of yourself. Most of us have aspects of ourselves that we have never loved and accepted, and this failure to love ourselves keeps us from forming and keeping genuine love in close relationships."

Tough love

“Love is friendship, set on fire.” – Jeremy Taylor

While often ascribed to teenagers, tough love to me is any act which may be ‘tough’ on the surface, but which has our own - and our beloved's long-term in mind. Careful not to slip over the line to cruelty or judgement!

What is true love? Here's a great example. In his book, Lucky Man, Michael J. Fox describes a powerful scene in his marriage shortly after he was diagnosed with Parkinsons. His drinking had escalated over a few months, and one night, he passed out drunk on the family couch. His wife Tracy's response was by my definition true love.

“When I finally summoned the courage to look her in the face, I found no expression of rage. ... She was meeting my sorry state with a calmness approaching boredom. No, it was worse than boredom: it was indifference.

‘I don't want to hear it,’ Tracy said, eerily calm. ‘Is this what you want?’ she said. ‘This is what you want to be?’”

This is the definition true love in action — a tough, loving act by Tracy Pollan for herself, her husband — and her family. This, Michael says, was a turning point for him — and the rest, as they say, is history.

Want to have a lively dinner-party discussion about the definition, true love? Read Sharon Osbourne's Extreme which gets into the relationship between she and Ozzy, which can be wincingly raw and abusive. Yet her honesty is breathtaking and at the end of the day, I can't help but respect her. Though she does kinda scare me a little. ☺

Speaking of abuse, Neale Donald Walsch says that the acceptance or quick forgiveness of abuse, does not fit the definition true love. Not for the victim... and not for the perpetrator.

For even an abuser is abused when his abuse is allowed to continue. This is not healing to the abuser, but damaging. ... Therefore treating others with love does not necessarily mean allowing others to do as they wish.” – CWG Book 1

I like this one. It's like the caterpillar and the butterfly. Sometimes we need the struggle in order to grow. Sometimes ‘helping’ someone — isn't really helping. So by definition true love is a paradox.

Finally! Speaking of paradox — just in case you think you've figured it all out, American Clairvoyant Edgar Cayce had a client with an alcoholic husband who was verbally abusive to she and her son. Cayce advised that in all circumstances, she should treat her husband as she would want to be treated herself and didn't recommend leaving. My take on this? Evidently, there was still karma to work out.

Committed love

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao-Tzu

Self-love shows a commitment to oneself. Then soulmate love is a dynamic which expresses a commitment to the two of you together, as the two of you grow.

Author of Jonathan Livingston's Seagull Richard Bach's definition true love, talks about the importance of this shared sense of direction:

“When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person.”

In Further Along the Road Less Travelled, psychiatrist and author Scott Peck says many things about love:

  • Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity
  • Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom
  • Love extends oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth
  • True love is an act of will that often transcends ephemeral feelings of love or cathexis
  • It is correct to say, ‘Love is as love does’

Finally, in Neale Donald Walsch's definition true love, he writes:

“Yes, love — real love, true love, lasting love — may be ‘work’, but it should be a work of art.

Soulmates Dana and Christopher Reeve

I often wonder about the soul contract between Dana and Christopher Reeve. They were an inspiring example of the definition true love. Certainly, soulmates, partners and equals. Perhaps even twin flames. If like me, you entertain the idea of true love and reincarnation.

That they died so close together is very sad. On another level, I wonder if they'll be together again in another lifetime soon. If so, they'll enter in with the love and wisdom they gained from this life without the same level of struggle. Or perhaps as wise guides, helping from the other side. I'll never be able to prove it. But it feels right to me.

What is true love? Read what Dana said about Christopher in Parade Magazine:

“I took care of him in many ways, but he took care of me in so many ways. I demanded almost as much of our relationship after his disability as before, basically telling him: ‘You need to be my husband. I am there to support you and you need to support me.’

I think it kept our relationship alive. Because if I had given up and said, ‘Oh, you're sick. I'm not going to ever ask anything of you,’ it would've belittled him. He was a willing and loving participant in our relationship, and he was an incredible husband because of that.”

Universal love

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix

Don't know 'bout you, but I'm interested in integrating universal love with my life here on earth. I tend to stay in my body... and keep my woo-woo metre in check. ☺ Yet on the quest for the definition true love, universal love cannot be ignored.

In astrology, Pisces and the 12th house represents universal connectedness, what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. The Piscean age is also associated with Christianity, and in fact the ‘fish’ symbol representing Christ is also the symbol for Pisces.

The feeling in our bodies that's associated with universal love isn't the rush of romantic love. It's broad and I believe the source of All. Sometimes, we get a hit of this energy... filtered through our own cellular experience, energy and karma and it can feel euphoric or overwhelming. What if our task is to purify and heal our bodies so that we can experience it — without our hangups. Sounds easy, huh? ☺

So in our bodies here on earth, what does this universal definition true love feel like? After reading lots on this subject, I'd describe it as loving detachment. Connected to everything and everyone — and equally detached from the fears, dependencies, expectations, judgements, disappointments, assumptions and all that ‘icky-sticks’.

Now and then, I find myself in that place. As I grow, I know I'll be able to hang out there longer. Lookin' forward to that!

In the meantime, I send you a tsunami of loving energy, as you seek to understand your own answers to what is true love. Go ahead and claim it: in your dreams... and in your life.

Thanks for your willingness to expand your definition true love



Take me to:

How to find true love – Six strategies you can do today... that you may have never considered.

True love tips – Follow these actionable tips to create a soulmate whether you're dating... or seeking solo!

Characteristics of true love – What is the experience of true love? How does it feel at a gut-level? Ten signs it's the real-deal.

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