Synchronicity Over Dinner and a Film
One of the dreams come true choosing an exhilarated life and how and where to live is that synchronicity has full sway and the most unexpected encounters turn out to be the richest. We were invited by new friends Pamela Beresford and Raman Singh to join them for dinner and to view a film for which Raman had written the screenplay. OPA! was a delight – funny, romantic and a cinematic confection filmed on the Greek island of Patmos. During the course of the evening and shared stories of creative pursuits; painting, writing, dance, Raman offered to read my manuscript. I was delighted.
There was a timing constraint with my first choice of author for the foreword of my book and time was ticking to submission. The publisher had called and wondered if anything was wrong because of the delay. When Athan suggested I ask Raman, being a retired professor and an author himself, I thought the idea stellar. But – I only had three days before my deadline and worried about imposing on our new friend. Raman had already shared his enthusiasm of the book and readily agreed to write the foreword.
Well, the book has now been submitted this very week with a shiny new foreword by Raman Singh, which I am privileged to share here.
The most arduous journey is not from continent to continent but from the conscious to the subconscious, or the heart, if you prefer. The distance thus traversed is all contained in the small space of one’s skull, but the painful, and always long, experience into what Joseph Conrad called the “Heart of Darkness,” leads to Self-Knowledge. While for Conrad, the heart was dark (or “horror” as he famously proclaimed), for Marilyn Harding it has been nothing if not a burst of brilliant light.
As a healing mantra, “Know thy self,” has had a long history, from Socrates through Shakespeare to anonymous gurus meditating in the remote Himalayan reaches. This simple phrase is a mystery and a puzzle only to those who won’t enter the recesses of the heart. Marilyn Harding has wrestled with her demons to gain entry. What, then, is her contribution in Exhilarated Life – Happiness Ever After, a wonderful blending of autobiography and memoir?
It is this: whatever lesson, truth, awareness, call it what you will, she sets down in this highly engaging book, is derived from personal experience. When appropriate, she uses various and well known ideas from the Gita to Carl Jung, but the essence she extracts from the fruits of her life is her very own. Herein we find close family members, friends, and the damage or healing they visit upon us. Perhaps most telling is her characterization of the “dragon,” those little “pieces of misinformation in the psyche,” that may come alive in a remark made by a parent, or a teacher making you uncomfortable in class. Whatever form they take, dragons wreak havoc. And this book slays dragons.
For those feeling anxiety over public events beyond their control -– and who can deny how we agonize over man’s inhumanity to man that fills the news every day with horrifying events in every corner of our world — the book has a wonderfully sane approach. For those moments when you find yourself helpless in the face of atrocities perpetrated around the globe (Gaza, Ukraine, the unleashing of racial or gender annihilation and mutilation) and feel that universal urge Hamlet expressed so well “to set the world right,” I will point you to an brief excerpt from the book: “There was a time when George said, ‘If you have one flaw, it is that you want to change the world.’ My response at the time was, ‘Yes, and?’ Now I know what he meant and I no longer want to change the world. I can’t anyway. All I can do is change myself and correct my own bearings until I am sailing with benevolent winds…”
The book is not a call for inaction. It is, instead, a call to start with one’s Self first, before you can expect to affect a change in others.
There is much more in this book than one can possibly summarize in a Foreword. I especially like the succinct “Ten Happiness Laws,” formulated in the Afterword. The author is hopeful, and convinced, that they will lead to the promise in the book’s subtitle: Happiness Ever After.
On a personal concluding note, let me say unequivocally that I have come across similar books before, and most of them were abandoned in mid-reading. This one, however, caught me right from the start with its emotional sincerity and balanced approach. I recommend it to all who, like Odysseus, journey towards home and heart.
Professor Raman Singh, Ph.D. (Retd.)
Author: OPA! (screenplay), THE GAZELLE (novel), short stories. 2014