Humans are social creatures who need to make connections to survive. Sometimes they desperately search for that profound connection that is driven by the feeling of love. When we fall in love with someone, believing that person to be our ultimate soulmate, an irresistible pull of attraction and obsession works between us. However, if there is a heartbreak in between, that soulmate becomes a traumatic memory. The healthiest decision may be to free ourselves from that trauma, no matter how madly in love we are. Never, if we make that one person the ultimate truth of our lives, will we lose the confidence or the love that we are supposed to give ourselves. In such vulnerable times of heartbreak, human beings find solace when another person comforts them with kind words—the words that can influence them to regain that confidence and the energy that they invested in their relationship. But if someone constantly misleads you, telling you that you’re the reason that the relationship failed and that you should go back to the person, then just run away from that kind of sickening slop.
Before the advent of social media, twin flames was not such a globally known term. But social media influencers are now creating websites, YouTube channels, and apps based on the term, attracting people who strongly believe in them.
The Amazon documentary series directed by Marina Zenovich, Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping Twin Flames Universe, focuses on a widely famous community called the Twin Flame Universe, led by Michigan-based couple Jeff and Shaleia Ayan. They started this community aiming to form spiritual connections between people. Through online courses and video sessions, Jeff and Shaleia drew the attention of many people who believed that God had created someone special for them, and all they had to do was find them. It was like matchmaking, but here the members of this community had no freedom to speak for themselves. Although initially Jeff and Shaleia’s therapy sessions and counseling seemed effective to them, they started to go down a darker path. Some people found their spiritual soulmate, while others plunged into the darkness of a painful experience.
Jeff considered himself more of a Christ figure than a therapeutic guide, and his activities resembled nothing more than those of a cult leader. Jeff’s manipulation technique became so effective that community members began to blindly believe his words. Sometimes the couple emphasized the concept of twin flames so much that they began to explain that a person would be nothing without a twin flame. It was so humiliating that it almost encouraged people to abandon their own identity and surrender themselves deeply to their twin flames. Jeff and Shaleia advised their “students,” who were the members of the community, to hold on to their ex-lovers and sometimes even urged them to stalk the person they wanted to be with. But the most horrible and harmful advice they gave was asking some of their followers to change their gender, against that person’s will. It wasn’t even close to a therapeutic guide, nor was it a healthy thing to pursue.
Jeff and Shaleia were two fanatics who believed their advice was God’s advice. They began preaching by claiming that disobeying them meant disobeying God. This hypocrisy and falsehood in the name of spirituality comes to be disliked by many members. Some of them contact the media anonymously. A journalist named Alice Hines became very interested in this matter. After learning about the unethical practices conducted in the name of relationship counseling in the Twin Flame Universe, she decided to conduct an investigation into this matter. In a Vanity Fair article, she discussed Jeff and Shaleia’s Twin Flame Universe and was the only journalist to visit their residence in Michigan. Some followers of this community were found to be living there in their basement.
Among them, we find a woman named Briana. Briana strongly believed in the twin flame concept and felt that she had to overcome all obstacles to be with her twin flame. However, Jeff and Shaleia didn’t give her the independence to choose her twin flame. They decided Briana should have a spiritual relationship with Gabe, who’d transitioned into a man, while Briana was actually a heterosexual woman. However, the end result was not good for Briana. And it’s not just Briana and Gabe, Jeff and Shaleia also force a homosexual couple named Anne and Catrina to follow the concept of divine masculinity. Catrina was asked to choose divine femininity, while Anne was forced to choose masculinity. Anne never wanted to abandon her true gender identity, but Jeff continued to threaten her, changing both her gender and name to masculine, which resulted in Anne and Catrina severing all ties with the Twin Flame Universe.
Unfortunately, the Twin Flame Universe is still active, and despite the media coverage, Jeff and Shaleia aren’t taking any steps to fix their destructive behavior, which is truly astonishing. Normal and sane people can get out of this trap, but for certain religiously blind people who still follow this sect, It is hard to say whether they will ever recover from the trauma or sink further into the abyss of darkness.
Marina Zenovich, a two-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, has presented us with some of the best documentary films. Her documentary digs deep into the subject matter, as does the Amazon-released Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping the Twin Flame Universe. This documentary series gives us a warning by highlighting the depth of information, the personal histories of both Jeff and Shaleia, and the techniques they used to brainwash people into following their leadership. Through interviews with some former members of the Twin Flame Universe, as well as with journalist Alice Hines, some dark truths emerge, warning people not to fall into this trap because it will eventually hurt you, just like it did with Briana. This documentary is important and compelling because some people’s belief in Twin Flames can actually prompt them to waste their energy and precious time on this community, which will eventually leave their mental health in shambles.