22/12/2015 10:37 GMT | Updated 19/12/2016 05:12 GMT

Soul Groups and the Psychologist

I was recently introduced to the term 'soul groups' which sounded all rather too New Agey even to me, a yoga teacher who lives part time on the beach in Phuket. But do read on, it might make sense to you, as it did me. Perhaps you already know this concept intuitively, maybe you know it by different words.

A soul group is simply a collection of people who gravitate and travel through life - or part of life - together. They could be from completely different histories, social backgrounds, age groups and interests, who happen to meet under the most extraordinary or the most nondescript circumstances.

I once met someone on a flight from Tbilisi to somewhere. She, Susan Lyndon, was an intrepid Australian traveller several decades older than I. Halfway through our long journey (in Ulan Bator, I think), Suzie lost her wallet. I loaned her U$100 without expecting the see Suzie or the loan again: I just made some loose reference to where I lived in Tbilisi, and no telephone nor emails were exchange between us. But somehow, a crisp U$100 note was waiting for me when I returned to Tbilisi. Susie became such a good and trusted friend that she managed Sun Yoga Tbilisi for me. I saw her in Phuket a few days before my last birthday, just when I needed her bright light in my life most. It was as if she knew when to come. That evening was a magical one, the meeting of two souls who spoke each other's language, a coming home of sorts in a foreign land. We made no arrangements to meet again, but I am sure we will. Our souls are meant to travel together for precious snatches of our lives' journeys.

Conversely, I once tried to travel with someone from a different soul group. I think our soul groups were the polar opposite of each other's. I always knew, being posh and English but looking Asian would be a handicap, viewed with mistrust and instant dislike. But the vitriol leveled at me by his friends (members of his soul group), before even knowing me, was disquieting. How could these people dislike a stranger whom they have not spoken to properly, who loved their friend ever so dearly? What is the rationale?

Even our families are on different soul paths. His is on the journey of being proud, independent and externally successful. Mine, influenced by my stay-at-home mother, is all about building lifelong relationships, nurturing each other and living each day with softness, magic and joy .... and to hell with what the outside world thinks about us and our ways. We are like the Hobbits of the Shires meandering to a slow gentle rhythm, and somehow, life has blessed us with abundance.

In comes my psychologist who uses the word 'family culture' to describe something similar to soul groups. He says we are entrenched in our respective family cultures, because our family culture is our first experience of life. It is our norm, our very foundations. It is similar to the linguistic accent that a person speaks with - very difficult to change. To change someone's family culture would be akin to removing his or her foundations. Thus, we fight against the change. However 'bad' our family culture is, we would naturally gravitate towards that in adulthood.

So if you are in a relationship with someone and you wonder why you get hurt for no justifiable reason, this could be why: you are attempting nuclear fusion. Bringing two nuclei together is never easy; it is a process that requires a lot of energy because it is counter-intuitive. It can be violent as the protons and neutrons are forced into close proximity against their will, into a new way of being. If the fusion succeeds, then well done, you would have created a strong new culture. Two have truly merged to form something new.

It takes a great leap of faith to move to the next step to create this new joint culture. Both parties need to hold hands and never let go. Do you both have it? Note: it takes two.

But sometimes, we just have to disengage and move on to travel with our own soul groups to continue the education we are here on earth for. Never be sad if that is the case. Have a beautiful journey, go wherever you need go. And go fearlessly, because your soul group awaits you at the next junction.

First published in