At some point, you meet someone or something or some situation where the click reverberates more deeply than anything else you’ve felt before.
We meet these someones even after we’ve met our Someone. They come in all forms — friends, lovers, teachers, colleagues, jobs, endeavors, places.
Sometimes the click is disruptive, the needle coming off the record of what you were already doing, the life you were already living.
But, not every click needs to become the new norm, although they can of course.
We can also just take it for what it is at its simplest — a startling moment of union, however significant or tiny, with someone or something outside of ourselves.
Chris changed my life, and vice versa. For two years we clicked, and it was beautiful in many ways. For the next three years after that, we didn’t, and it was painful in many other ways.
In that string of moments when our inner gaze met, he was my soul mate. A soul mate. Today, he is not. Today, he is just a guy — a great guy — growing a life (I hope) rich with family, career and self.
Have we met before?
I’ve had so many mismatches. Boyfriends, jobs, places.
When I lived in Austin, a beautiful city and maybe one of the best in America by many measures, my life felt like nails on a chalkboard — dissonance, not Click.
When we don’t click, whether it’s with a place or a person or a situation, we are at least 50% of the equation.
My own mindset, my unwillingness to click, plus some other factors like not having a car and choosing to ride my bike everywhere in the 100 degree heat, played key notes in that dissonance.
This summer, I visited Austin again for the first time in 3 years. It embraced me, soft and sweet. Standup paddleboarding, Town Lake, the green all around, TacoDeli.
It was an idyllic place — that I hated while I was there. And actually, though I ‘hated’ it, my time in Austin remains deeply inside me to this day. We did click.
Click is not something that happens to us. It is something that we create, whether positive or negative.
Often, we aren’t fully in control of this creation, we “fall in love” or something “rubs us the wrong way” and we are just carried in that current, reacting to whatever vibration we initially felt, which generates a kind of response-vibration, and on and on in a dialectical spiral of relationship.
How do you know when you’ve met your guru?
The dissonant moments matter too, maybe more. My teacher Sharath Jois tells this yogi’s knock-knock joke:
“How do you know that you’ve met your guru?”
He pauses for effect before delivering the punchline.
“When you meet someone, and for no reason you immediately hate him, then you know you’ve met your guru!”
He laughs and laughs at this, his own joke. His entire face sparkles with delight at this irony, at the endearing ridiculousness of how we all are.
Be still, look at me
For much of my life, I was a runner, marathons, half marathons, through the 8,000 acres of Californian hills and brush behind Stanford Campus.
It was a special time with myself, I felt so self-reliant not needing a car to reach magical faraway spaces populated by deer and fat little ground squirrels, live oak and fragrant California bay trees. Sometimes I would run 20 miles, or even more (I know, right??).
But I did it in the rest of my life, too, and for much longer than those years when I was a runner — always running towards or running away.
Some time later, in Goa — with no job to give me identity, no museums or events or social distractions to give me drama — I started to see how much I squirm. Like, all the fucking time. Turning away from all the possible Clicks that were trying to make eye contact with me.
There are soul mates seeking us every day, trying to make contact.
Turning towards connection isn’t the risky thing to do, but it is different. It’s the normal, everyday turning away from connection that we do all the time, that we should be looking at.
I still feel like avoiding eye contact a lot of the time. Random difficult situations, even things and people I LIKE and WANT. It’s less work to turn away.
But each time, I remind myself to pry my gaze upward away from the sidewalk, towards the connection that is seeking me.
Meet their gaze, it’s you in there.