I've been thinking about this concept of late. With my life finally coming to a point where I know what I want and, more importantly, I know how to deal with myself, I suppose a space has been cleared where I can begin to recognize what makes someone else important to me.
As lignocaine mentioned above (and BaronCarlos, albeit unintentionally), there seems to be two definitions to this phrase. In the past, when thinking of The One as a female, I was referring to my life partner, the Fateful Dame, the Proto-Significant Other; but in the context of a male, it means a Savior, the Messiah. I just realized this weird connection, although it's been made so painfully obvious to the point of becoming trite. Think of the metaphor of the Christian church as "The Bride of Christ", or the interpretation of the "Song of Songs" as the relationship between God and the Soul. There was even a time when I trembled at the thought that the Holy Spirit represented God's sexuality (I had found it a radical and blasphemous idea when I first came across it - how I pine for those days when new ideas has so much power over me!)
It occurs to me now that this way of thinking, this Messianic Consciousness toward divine and romantic (for lack of a better word) love, is somewhat naive, a product of the semi-fanatical state of mind found commonly in religious zealots and teenagers. I am not making any moral or aesthetical judgments of this mindset, but I have come to realize that putting so much emphasis on a singular entity - especially a human - is too dangerous, too simplistic and too dishonest for me to be able to pull off.
It distracts one from the entire point of being a human, of being responsible for our own mistakes and shortcomings - and growth. If I were to seek out that One, how far would they be able to satisfy me? In point of fact, they would be expected to satisfy me completely. And every doubt that springs up to snare me I would be obliged brush aside with a flippant "Oh, no bother, this is meant to be."
But doesn't that beg the question of why I am doubting in the first place? Doesn't that way of thinking remove me, however slightly, from directly experiencing the more uncomfortable levels of myself, by positing a safe and universal out to all my anxieties?
Admittedly, not all people who have a Messiah are dishonest and weak, or for that matter naive and close-minded. And not all relationships which are based on this conceptualization of the parties involved are without strife and work. It's just that I've grown weary of my own idealism, perhaps because it itself is too strong, too fatalistic, too all-or-nothing, too unrefined.
When it comes down to it, it is we, and not 'Fate', that creates our "One". It is our insistent, incessant affirmations of that relation which gives it its power. And maybe we deserve to have that safety, that shelter in this chaotic world of conflicting ideas and torturous feelings. Maybe all that The One signifies is a dry place where love and trust and truth reside, comfortable enough to speak their minds and know exactly how to fix eachother's eggs and tea.
Maybe the Messiah is simply an affirmation of that part of us that is untouched by the world, that can walk on the waters without sinking, that can smile, and die, and return all radiant with a peaceful smile.
I feel that all of these things, especially these intimate things - relationships, emotions, ideals - are metaphors for processes that are occurring inside us. And one of the chief dangers that is constantly present in us is the tendency to lie to ourselves, to shirk the weight of our journey and find a scapegoat to hoist our troubles on. True Love, if it is ever to be more that a myth, must be strong enough to recognize every painful little detail without losing its essential truth. And what makes it strong is not the fervency of its believers, but the hard-earned intimacy of its practitioners