Friday, April 29, 2011

How about reading 'In Praise of Idleness' by Bertrand Russell :)

Love's journey!

The day you reach home from a forced 'official' retreat,
The child within me is excited to have her friend back.
Did you touch water, played, had fun,
Wind in your face, walked in the sun?

In some quiet moments
Kept your head down,
Smell of grass, feel of sand,
Found faces in the clouds?

Did you run, did you play,
Did you, did you, did you ...
Must have taken pictures,
Show, show, show...

The woman within is silent,
Wonders how far did you go with her,
The mother in me cares,
How are you my dear!

Wishes rise like a wave,
I surf them,
With a prayer in my heart,
I let them pass.

Here in your country,
my city,
Across the oceans, the dark clouds loom
I watch them come, no storms
A clear sky, blue and white
Left behind, I see them go.
Must be like those thoughts!

Someday in our journey we open a door

Find this place,
Where nobody writes love letters,

We become love.
Pure energy I sense my world expanded,
No more
looking for safety.

Fading spring, evening sky,
vibrant colors... miss nothing.
Sudden rain, playful toddlers,
Old wise women... open to everything.
Amused at life, smile, laugh

Without that wishful thinking,
Only if this only if that,
Only if you were here
In my world my dear.

Somedays we love the chains, to tie us together

And some days we love the freedom,
From anxieties ... do you really care?

Good you don't! after all, in the end,
actually, Who cares!
In this transient life I am acutely aware,
If we do not have a bond, how does it matter,
And i
f we do have a bond, nothing matters!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

Went to an amazing Easter service to a friend's church where her hubby is a pastor. Its was awesome, with good food, great music, interesting sermon on existential issues of life especially death, and wow lots of balloons :) (and my first sari dressing-up in US).

There has been a lot of religion and spirituality lately, with child psychotherapy classes focusing on existential issues and from there moving towards religion/ spirituality in people's lives. Especially how these traditions give meaning to life apart from giving some guidelines on ethical and moral living (especially in the lives of those teenagers who neatly figure it out that 'life leads to death, so why live!' or on the other extreme, figure out that 'one who dies with most toys, wins!').

Mainstream Psychology & psychotherapy has tried to remain value-neutral over long years, but it is hard to do so being involved with the entire repertoire of human experiences.
There are frontiers of humans experiences, both good and bad. In some extreme cases one has to take a stance (and that is why most psychotherapist find it hard to work with child sexual abusers).
Thus there is more and more Psychology research happening around ideas from varied religious-spiritual traditions, especially in the last couple of years.

Whenever there is a discussion here with my friends or in classes, its difficult to explain my experience of my religion Hinduism. Guess it was never a religion (so called 'Santana dharma- means something like an eternal right way of living). And for most Hindus the growing up is still within a very loose boundary, with multiple free-floating ideas, rites and rituals etc. To think of, it is actually hard to separate out what exactly comes from Indian culture and what comes from Hindu religion and what is spirituality.

It is difficult to dig out the roots behind every action, but each family has almost reached a particular level of homeostasis where they do what they feel is important for them, with a mix of ideas from their individual tastes, family, community etc. Though there are always exceptions!

Due to this reason I feel very comfortable with all kinds of ideas and am generally able to see the abstract symbolism behind majority of the specific rites and rituals. So every time someone tells me something about their religious-spiritual tradition/ philosophy, I end up exclaiming, oh I understand this, we too have line of similar idea/ philosophy in Indian tradition. There is rarely anything alien...

For me the feeling in the church singing along was like a unity of human spirit, the way one feels in any place with a sense of deep connection and a deeper meaning.
In a more secular context I might have felt same watching Olympics on TV (where in any case India rarely has any good show, but then this is about the human spirit around sports) or may be during the recent world cup festivals of football or cricket.

However each of these deeper human experiences, the most beautiful, the most awe-inspiring, the grandest, the majestic, often touch us in our soul, deep in our emotions. On the other hand the material perspective doesn't help us cultivate this, instead it stifles any and every way to reach those peak moments. Life itself can get trivialised in a materialistic, consumption oriented culture.

One need not give example of every village's seasonal festivals being replaced by endless, mindless soap-operas on the idiot box. What was replaced was a more meaningful way of living. Even those village plays were often built around the mythological story of 'Ramayana', which not only had those poignant-sad moments (around which Nina Palsey choose to build 'Sita sings blues') which can make any feminist, including me, cringe. But there were also interesting relational aspects, deep human bonds both family and non-family, and sweetly romantic connection between the God pair- Rama & Sita. (How can we ignore the way pining Rama describes his love Sita in the most adorable ways).

On the other hand who can forget the modern day trivialised version of sports in our home turf, the multi-billion business venture by a few actors and business persons and politicians, ... IPL- our own money spinning contribution to this utterly hollow material culture!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

No Room for Form...

A lovely poem by Rumi... I found somewhere on Internet..


On the night when you cross the street
From your shop and your house
To the cemetery
You'll hear me hailing you from inside
The open grave, and you'll realize
How we've always been together.

I am the clear consciousness-core
Of your being, the same in
Ecstasy as in self-hating fatigue.

That night, when you escape your fear of snakebite
And all irritations with the ants, you'll hear
My familiar voice, see the candle being lit,
Smell the incense, the surprise meal fixed
By the lover inside all your other lovers.


This heart tumult is my signal
to you igniting in the tomb.

So don't fuss with the shroud
And the graveyard dust.
Those get ripped open and washed away
In the music of our final meeting.

And don't look for me in human shape,
I am inside your looking. No room
For form with love this strong.

Beat the drum and let the poets speak.
This is the day of purification for those who
Are already mature and initiated into what love is.

No need to wait until we die!
There's more to want here than money
And being famous and bites of roasted meat.

Now, what shall we call this new sort of gazing house
That has opened in our town where people sit
Quietly and pour out their glancing
Like light, like answering?

Insightful cartoons about little vs. too much of information

This is reflective...

(Copied from

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Some days I wonder, spirituality like death is a great leveler!

Friday, April 22, 2011

How shall I know Thee...

The Indian Mythology 'Mahabharata' has a long philosophical poetry 'Bhagwat Gita', in which main character Arjuna asks Krishna the divine incarnate, how do I know/ understand God. And here I quote some of the responses I loved, which gives me comfort and meaning ...

I will tell thee of my divine powers, but only in some of my principle preeminences, for there is no end to the detail of my self-extension in the universe.

I am the self which abides in the heart of all beings.
I am the beginning, the middle and also the end of all beings.

Among lights and splendours I am the radiant sun.
I am lord of wealth and fire. Among the immovable I'm Himalayas.

I am mind among the senses and in living beings I am consciousness.
I am the Time among those who recon and measures and I am wind among purifiers.

Of creation, I am the beginning, and the end and also the middle.
I am spiritual knowledge among the many branches of knowledge and I am the logic of those who debate.

I am the letter A among letters, the dual among compounds.
I am imperishable Time; I am the bearer (of all existences) whose faces are everywhere.

I am all devouring death and I am the origin of all that shall come into being.
Among feminine qualities I am glory, beauty, speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and forgiveness.
Among the seasons, the flowery season (spring) I am.

I am the gambling of the cunning, splendour of the splendid, I am resolution and victory.
I am the Sattwik (virtuous) qualities of the good.

I am the sceptre of the rulers, I am the wise policy of those who seek to succeed and conquer;
I am the silence of things secret, and the knowledge of the knower am I.

There is no end to my divine powers/ attributes ... whatsoever is glorious, beautiful, or mighty and forceful, do thou know all that verily as born from a fragment of My splendour. But what need has thou to know this detail... I support this entire universe with an infinitesimal portion of Myself.

[While we must identify ourselves impartially with the universal divine Becoming in all its extension, its good and evil, its perfection and imperfection, light and darkness, we must at the same time realise that there is an ascending evolutionary power in it, an increasing intensity of its revelation in things, a hierarchical secret something that carries us upward from the first concealing appearances through higher and higher forms towards the larger ideal nature of the universal Godhead...

It is the Godhead who manifests himself in the great thinker, the hero, the leader of men, the great teacher, sage, prophet, religious founder, saint, lover of man, the great poet, the great artist, the great scientist, the ascetic self-tamer, the tamer of things and events and forces. The work itself, the high poem, the perfect form of beauty, the deep love, the noble act, the divine achievement is a movement of godhead, it is the Divine in Manifestation.

Certainly there is an ignorant way of taking this truth, as there is an ignorant way of taking all truth; but it has its proper place, its indispensable function in the divine economy of nature. It must be based on the recognition of the divine self in all men and all creatures; it must be consistent with an equal heart to the great and the small, the eminent and the obscure manifestation. God must be seen in the ignorant, the humble, the weak, the vile, the outcast.

... It is not the outward individual (except as a symbol)that is to be thus recognised and set high, but one Godhead who displays himself in the power. But this does not abrogate the fact that there is an ascending scale in manifestation, and that nature mounts upwards in her degree of self-expression from her groping dark or suppressed symbols, to the first visible expression of the Godhead. Each great being, each great achievement is a sign of her power of self-exceeding and a promise of the final the supreme exceeding. ... - Sri Aurobindo, commentatries on Gita]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wow... Insight!

After academically working with 'meaning in life' as a psychological construct having both cognitive & emotional components ...
After struggling with finding 'meaning in my life' post 'occasional life-crisis' ...

Today, this moment, I had a sudden insight that meaning life is deeply experiential. One creates space for it and waits for it to come. There is a certain magic in it, like inspired creativity.

It often comes from doing things one deeply enjoys. Like I do from going within myself, contemplating, reading, writing, watching nature, creativity, good ideas, deeply connecting with people on a one to one level etc. Guess they make sense to me, though someone else might find them utterly meaningless. They are about personally meaningful activities without a judgement from an external or learned source, what is right or wrong.

Guess that must be the reason I got a lot of overlap between meaning and engagement (both quantitative and qualitative data) in my study in India. But .. but .. why is it not so in Western studies? I wonder why?
I mean why in India more often people find meaningful activities engaging, and find meaning in engaging activities?
I need to give more thought to this entire construct...

Well.. there be a possibility that engaging but pleasurable activities are not socially acceptable. Who would want one's family member to get addicted to the video games, (meditation would be another matter:). Not me! And yes family still rules... family rules are still internalised.

The wildest guess for me is one with which some Indian philosophers might agree... Indian culture and religions often treats pain and suffering lightly, and human life as more about divine joy and divine play, one should do ones duties, do it well and find ways to enjoy them. (If everyone really does that ... there will be high well-being.. what say ! :)

Also, there is little differentiation between altruistic meaningful activities and engaging activities. Good work is not a path to heaven, or God. (though I have heard in one of the lecture of westernised hare-krishna movement that serving is path to God, but majority of Indians don't care beyond serving their families as their spiritual practices).
Guilt ridden altruism is much less common ... so whatever altruism happens is also engaging, along with being meaningful ...

Looks like this cognitive sorting out of ones life path, or meaning in life leads to a differentiation and at times conflict, between what one really loves doing and what one thinks is socially beneficial, and altruistic, as per what has been told by people over the centuries. I have seen some miserable souls in this conflict ...

In India, wise people have always emphasised on first sorting out oneself, connecting deep within, with a belief that our realities are a reflection of our consciousness. And so, when we sort inside first, our actions will start reflecting that in the outer world. So wisdom first...

The Indian philosophy focuses on 'swabhava' and 'swadharma' a lot, very psychologically sophisticated concepts. They come from one of the most important spiritual-religious-philosophical source Bhagwat Gita, and a lot of most important sage-philosophers including Gandhi found it inspirational. Swabhava means ones nature, (can also wildly be interpreted as ones aesthetics & emotions), and swadharma means ones own right path. They are also dynamic constructs and will change and grow with your growth. So it focuses on finding self-understanding, and then finding the path suitable for you, which is both meaningful and engaging.

After yesterday's class I might be tempted to go on to brain areas involved. But hey stop!

That must be one of the reasons why people who are in quest for it are the most unhappy ones even worse than those who do not think much about it. Though having meaning in life is the best and strongest predictor of happiness (Subjective well being and its components).
(hey wait, possibly unhappy people search more for meaning in life, with a sense of hopelessness? ... Or there might be a measurement error... )
But I wanna go back to my engagement .. and not remain stuck with this question at this moment... after all I'm on vacation :) Let the answers come ...

Any way, I'm suddenly glad about this insight, ... though a sick day off from work to spend in a little meditation, a lot of looking outside my window on a sunny day, connecting with important people in my life, reading poetry, articles, having my comfort food of milk and cereals etc might have also done the magic.

Here is one of my all time favourite from Tagore. I used to have it painted on my wall. I should bring out my colors today... My walls look empty without this one...

The Grasp Of Your Hand

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,

but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but

for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,

but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling

Your mercy in my success alone; but let me find

the grasp of Your hand in my failure.

(- Rabindranath Tagore)

Completing circle.. coming home...

I feel a circle is getting complete ... its been a year ... last april I asked for a little push from above to break my inner barriers, to help me take that major leap of faith. And here am I, surviving avalanche of events of all kinds... But its good to see the effects of all that.

Its a continuation of home coming... Truly I miss India.
More because the ability to just drop everything, pack my bags and leave for some place having strong collective sense of meaning or sacredness. Its elevating!

But I am connecting deep within me with that old soul, which was in command all the time. I wish the work was less and I had the luxury to go for a meditation retreat. Or take a whole day off and just be, meditate, journaling. Guess its a good idea, I should do that tomorrow.

These sudden breaks have always been good for my soul. I need time to de-clutter life and make space for joy to unfold! something beautiful is blossoming within... there is a sense of being taken care and loved by the universe. To help me out of every trap I blindly fall into. Poor God, must be having a tough time with idiotic actions of humans... Well bad luck for him/her/it, good luck for me!!! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Home coming...

There is something poignantly beautiful about a life which keeps you on its toes. The moment one is acquiring a hardened crust, it comes swooshing and with one tug it removes all these layers, to leave you utterly vulnerable, like a new born baby.
Oh I love it ... would not want to exchange it for anything regular, normal is boring... this gets meditative almost. Mindful of one's pain, there is heightened awareness of love, compassion, beauty around too.

I was missing India, not anything specific, but possibly the resilience, the faith, the meaning assigned to symbols, the everyday life, those small things which brings the glow of divinity in everything.
I remember the mogra flowers smelling on the altars and in hairs, the colorful rangoli design signifying the sacred, the symbolic meaning of boundaries... I was mising something too abstract.

Then I went for earth day celebration and joined a group of women in playing drums in a spiritual circle. There I got what I asked for a few hours earlier. It feels good when we feel that though life challenges us and almost tricks us into a game of 'dare', universe supports lovingly. Its all a divine game 'lila' calling to have fun ... altitude gives perspective!
And then today I was 'almost' softly escorted by moments into a book shop to flip through pages of poetries and non-fiction for hours. There were far too much of good collection... I need to haunt it more often.
(Though I appreciate fiction, but since the time my life started turning into fiction, and friends started commenting they wanna write book on it, I have stopped reading fiction.. .they seem so known ;)

now this feels home, feel like returning back to myself after a long wandering.
Time to start something more creative... on a more large and grand scale...
Free again, time to fly!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Selecting Gods and selecting partners!

Talking about culture, in one (Eastern, especially Hindus) people take relationships as 'given' and invest in it, while they pick and choose their Gods as per their personality, mood, phase of life or even their goals.
In another, people pick up their partners and drop them as per their changing moods and phases, while take one God for 'given'.
I find this funny!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Anatomy of failed relationships...

फ़र्ज़ करो हम अहले वफ़ा हों, फ़र्ज़ करो दीवाने हों
फ़र्ज़ करो यह दोनों बाते, झूठी हों अफसाने हों

Just imagine... I'm love and commitment and I'm the madness of love. Or just imagine the possibility that both these ideas are mere lies myths, and stories.

Love is both, deeply spiritual and a mere myth of the current times. So it is interesting to deconstruct a relationship in making and its fun to tear down the events behind its breaking apart. There is far too much of well researched knowledge on love now to back this upon. Though overall painful, it demystifies it all.
Sadly it takes away that magic too, which makes it all beautiful, and worth anything.

Case 1:
A loves B.
B broke with A.

Phase 1 Any relationship, mutually attracts people with issues they have to work upon. But initially in the golden glow, everything looks perfect.

B pursued A in a dating game, for which A was really clueless.
And A was ready for a relationship like 'mid-night summer dream', and got into a one sided commitment, for which B was really not prepared.
For A, love starts with commitment and it is an ongoing work. B initially felt A was amazing and was too good to be true. A found B charming with many endearing quirks. Dopamine ruled!!!

Phase 2
Every relationship suddenly goes into the 2nd phase. Here invariably, whatever one liked in one's partner earlier, becomes annoying and irritating now. Such as the dreamy person looks fantasy-oriented one, the realist looks too superficial. One suddenly realises, this is what I had not bargained for.

Majority of 'break ups' happen here. When there is no acknowledgement of mutual differences and an acceptance of each other's personalities and that of human nature, these break-up happens with lot of anger. But when there is this acceptance, the break-up is tinged with sadness, minus rage.

So in our story, B found out soon enough that A needs more interactions and more communications... which overwhelmed B. A felt B is confusing, some times involved, sometimes disconnected emotionally for long period of times.
And the most common relational pattern started- A will demand more, B will withdraw more, and that will make A more anxious and more demanding and B more distant. Add to this, both A and B were going through multiple deadlines and stresses and B's supposedly manipulating 'ex' were in the picture far too often. To top it all, they had different cultures, A had never seen B's culture, B had no idea of cultural differences. Well bad luck!

Phase 3
Often the relationships which survive phase 2 are those where partners have chosen either of the two options.

One, they may decide to accept each other's differences completely and navigate life in those rigid boundaries. In this option both get more and more entrenched in their uniqueness and differences. Life is manageable but inflexible and impoverished. The dreamy becomes more so, at times sloppy, the realist becomes more hard and dry.

The other option is to have this awareness of differences, and still keep growing beyond those rigidities. Both are more flexible, grow more whole and complete. This is a tough choice, is also most fulfilling and uplifting path. Majority do not reach this stage... some do, but only after break up, alone, individually ...

Only a few with courage and strength and love and compassion and growth motivation, reach here. This needs patience, persistence, and a constant awareness. Its not falling in love, but rising in love. It is self-actualisation and self-transcendence and self-expansion.

Interestingly, the deepest needs within people search for this communion. But the path is hard and people give up, mid-way, and far too easily. They often try to fulfill these needs with easier, more 'in-control' stuff, such as addiction to substances, sex, pornography, mindless internet, casual dating and often work.

Our A and B, meanwhile broke up, and got back together in some measures, now long distance.
A tried to understand what is happening, looked at B's relationship styles, where self-sufficiency is preferred over companionship (avoidant attachment) and work is a mode to get fulfillment, often the only mode. Relationships seem intrusive, draining and exhausting after a point.

A tried accepting the differences, functioning within them, with a hope that some day, with shared investment in an emotionally fulfilling relationship tinged with meaning and some sense of spirituality, they will jointly transcend the functional narrow boundaries.
B still used to get some companionship, some conversations, something meaningful out of the entire connection.
All was still well,.... looked so, but really was not.
B would not reach out to A and share what crisis are going on in life.
Further, B had difficulties in comforting when A will try to reach out in times of distress.

The interactions went like this usually:
A: I'm happy, joyful
B: wow! fun! A: yes lets celebrate together

A: (I'm peaceful)
B: ... (does it have any interaction potential?... drifts into thoughts of work, the next project the next paper)
A: (come back... BE with me... )

A: I'm in Pain
B: . . . . . . . (moments pass) . . . . . . no response (What? I don't know what to say, what to do).
A: hey did you hear. I'm in pain... (can't you say a few words to comfort... )

A: I'm Irritated
B: Mixed feeling rises. . . (seems automatic negative cognition... I'm tested, I'm not up to the mark? that's sad/irritating. A is getting attention seeking, annoyingly intrusive, breaking my comfortable homeostasis) a defensive reaction comes out 'not me' (and feels trapped)

Amygdala responds, even before prefrontal cortex can process the entire situation. B has no clue there is something missing here and only B can stop and reflect and be aware, what happens then... what cognition and emotions arise in such moments. Even as A is simultaneously trying to do that more often.
Actually to break this short circuiting by the primitive, reptilian part of the brain one needs to stop, take deep breath, relax and then be aware of ones cognition and emotions. Then one also has to decide to choose to act in a virtuous, compassionate, loving manner. (higher parts of the brain gets activated then). These are not easy skills, but one will keep attracting similar situations in one's life, until one learns this. Sad but so very true!

Humans have innate ability, to understand other's perspective (called Theory of mind) and has its origins in the brain. Humans also respond to other's pain due to activation of 'mirror neurons' in the brain. (except autism spectrum disorders, which is not only diagnostic categories, but also a dimension).
This mutual empathy, if and when present, builds up the real human bond. It is easier not to care, or care for one self in a material way. It is difficult to care for anonymous, faceless humanity with an academic, professional or clinical interest. It is most difficult to deeply love and care for oneself or for others. That is the path... if one can touch that point for one, the path opens for unity with multitude.

The entire idea of love and devotion based mysticism is this: if you can't love the world which you can see, how will you love 'that' which you can't see in such palpable, sensory way.

OR say 'एक लफ्जे मोहब्बत का इतना ये फ़साना है, सिमटे तो दिले आशिक, फैले तो ज़माना है'
(one word love has only a short story, it shrinks to the heart of the beloved, it is the world when expanded)

In the end there are some interesting theories about the proportion of positive versus negative emotions and experiences and interactions, using complicated mathematical models. These are just in the infancy, and guess individuals differ in their abilities to respond to such proportions. For some people no amount of positive interactions are strong enough, which a single perception of negative interaction will not bulldoze.
B also have some similar tendency. There is high need for having positive interactions, and approval, and a single perception of slightly negative interaction just spoils it all. These are long term learned behaviors and take lot of time to change, slowly. (I guess both A and B are sensitive, borrowing from a famous quote... they are delicate, their inner sense of comfort get shaken by a sneer, a yawn, stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right person's brow...)

A knew all this, understood what is happening... Still would be upset once in a while, but with less frequency with increasing understanding. This time A would try not to be demanding, but just communicating. And if there is no response from B, accept it, and try to take things further and loving the next day।
A thought this is still building up of a relationship, drop by drop they both are making a relationship work, understanding and accepting each other and their similarities and differences, and becoming more loving and compassionate। All is well।

But all was not well. B felt trapped in a long distance relationship. It had not worked out in a past relationship. For B, e-mails are worst form of communication, sms a little better probably or same, chats can be fun, phone calls are good, skype video chats are great and meeting in person and spending time together was often amazing. But not for too long!
Even meeting together has to end before the brain starts shutting down, has to be goal directed, engaged in some joint activity, conversation, games, walking. Just silence, lead to drifting apart.

A felt time is short, relationship will soon be 1 yr old. Almost one year of attending to, focusing upon, understanding each other, means a lot. A will get to meet B in 2-3 months, across continents, and again be in a similar geographical location in few added months. B saw these as long periods of time, where A is either too available or too distant geographically. It doesn't serve a functional purpose.

And then, there are other exciting options.
So they broke up when B was asked out on a date by a colleague. It ended fast, erasing concrete memories by deleting pictures.

The cycle re-starts and B is in phase 1 'Again'.
This is fun, this is exciting, stimulating, exhilarating...
A watches from a distance, wondering how long before B's brain will react to too much of constant stimulation of a date, who is also a colleague in same office, and lives in same geographical space.
The academic question is ... what will happen in phase 2?
Will B always cover the shortest distance between phase 1 and 2, between illusion and disillusionment, before needing a break? Then again feeling only a little lonely, looking for someone to fill only that small space, be high value and lower maintenance less than the internet server which shares B's living space.

(Though A also thinks, B and this colleague make a very good pair and might be pretty compatible, less vulnerable to work-life balance issues when work is what they have been doing together in any case for years. And especially when self-expansion and enrichment is not the goal of life, and similar partner is preferred instead of a complementary one. With good dose of motherly affection, A is happy for them and wishes them all well).

The very sharp edges, the unique idiosyncrasies, the humanness of the other person always spreads in the frame, to make the distinction between a machine and a human. This we are not taught in the schools, universities, but only in the class of life. a few do have additional inborn advantage, but rest every one has to learn, sooner better than later.
That is why couple's therapists believe, in majority of cases you leave one relationship with 10 problems and then you enter another, with another set of 10 problems.

A is devastated, but still not decompensated psychologically this time. A is only looking for answers to 'how do I live' more holistically, more deeply, with lot more of meaning and sacredness than the current level. Guess A had some intuitive ideas of what may happen sooner or later. Only if ...

Its not easy, but still more easier to live with the material issues of ones life and world and keep relationships at that level. But living with ever deepening engagement with and commitment to one's self, relationships and the world around is more difficult. But also very fulfilling and worthwhile.
Hope the question itself gives strength to A and the answer keep unfolding moment by moment...

Love & Work

This is interesting!!!

Secure people approach their work with the confidence associated with secure attachment. They enjoy work activity and are relatively unburdened by fears of failure. And, although they value work, they tend to value relationships more and generally do not allow work to interfere with those relationships. Securely attached people typically do not use work to satisfy unmet needs for love, nor do they use work to avoid social interaction.

Anxious/ambivalent people reported that love concerns often interfere with work performance and that they frequently fear rejection for poor performance. They also reported a tendency to slack off following praise, which may indicate that their main motivation at work is to gain respect and admiration from others. Anxious/ambivalent respondents have the lowest average income of the three groups, even when differences in education are controlled.

Avoidant respondents use work activity to avoid social interaction. They said that work interferes with having friends and a social life. Although they reported an average income equal to that of the secure group, they are less satisfied with their jobs. Nevertheless, they are least likely to take enjoyable vacations.

Secure attachment was also associated with greater overall well-being. In relation to insecure respondents, secure respondents are less likely to report suffering from loneliness and depression, anxiety, or irritability or are less likely to report having had colds or flu.

Ongoing narratives of life...

It sometimes gets difficult to constantly see the sacredness of life, in life... moment by moment, in every connection, every person, every event... but guess one has to keep faith high and keep investing meaning in everything. This is just non-negotiable... there is just no other option. I often feel like a defiant person against forces around me :)

But then living in a universe which is a random freak, a life by chance doesn't go along with my inherent sense of pride ? or whatever you call it.
If life has no meaning I would like to offer it back... 'stop the world, I want to get down...'. Else I feel like a poor person given something magnanimously, but undeservedly, by some outsider rich... funny!!! I remember my favourite poetess had put it so succinctly...
रहनो दो हे देव यह मेरा मर मिटने का अधिकार... (leave me this right to die for something...)

Or that utterly-average vampire series, having this attractive tag line... 'if you had forever to live, what will you live for?'. It was Freud who said, to live we need something to love and something to work for
'lieben und arbeiten'.

I have navigated and passed through the moments of crisis with a small change in my 'down in the dumps' narrative, call it CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) or whatever. I remind myself, my cultural, spiritual, religious narrative is 'I'm divine', not made out of original sin, but out of original joy! All is well in the universe!
When there is a question of an omnipotent or a compassionate God, I tend to find answers from what Indian mystic tell me... choose both and none. A God who is a multi-layered idea, form and formless, who is both passive witness to what is happening, and active dynamic all powerful force which creates and destroys, which starts and ends... a name of whatever one can imagine... energy, consciousness, space... whatever!!!
And in answer to 'how do I live'... I reach back again to this idea, live well, live with values, goodness, morality etc, but still do not carry it all over your shoulder like another weight. Go beyond all of this! One need not live with values and look for prizes and applaud in the end. This was not the promise given, I guess. That is distracting... existentially, 'authenticity' will lead to more growth.

But guess I need to accept
today I'm tired and utterly exhausted. How do I live with these answers on an every day basis, when the challenges are beyond my current capacities.
I had not felt so deprived when for years we had little for food, housing, education... not even when abandoned time and again... or in times when I remained on the fringes. I always had the idealism and there was little space and scope for cynicism. The 'elite group' look at spirituality/religion of masses, and call it opium. Often they miss out that in such circumstances this faith in inherent meaningfulness of life actually has survival value. The day I start questioning, my resilience starts crumbling.

I still want to keep my narrative elevated, inspired, believe difficult times are about higher choices, may be they are here to finally teach me 'equanimity'... Let me crawl back in my silent space ... the luminous one ... just to 'be'!