The Secret Book of Harmony by Anna Iourenkova

Many an esoteric piece of literature has been written over the eons, trying to shed light on the nature of man. And, even as far back as Adam and Eve, relationships — both discordant and harmonious — have figured into this discussion.

Into the debate now comes an ambitious treatise by author Anna Iourenkova, a certified practicing hypnotherapist, a painter, a video-meditation creator, and a poet nominated for two Russian National competitions: “Russian Heritage 2016” and “Poet of the Year. Debut 2016”.

Her thoughts on relationships and the many factors that contribute to their success — or failure — make up a large part of her thoughtful work The Secret Book of Harmony.  It’s not a subject to be dealt with lightly, and Ms. Iourenkova’s insights stir deep reflection.

“How often we need to give a direction to our life,” she writes in her opening chapter. “We run after health to escape from aging, dependence and death…We look for safety to protect us from inner frustration. (And) we search to be recognized, to dare to recognize ourselves.”

Writing often in rhyming couplets that sometimes require a second reading — English is not her first language — Ms. Iourenkova nevertheless weighs in on subjects as varied as dependence and independence, constancy and change, ego’s purpose, and life, karma and choice.

“A goal is usually valuable only during its achievement  process,” she observes in one of many passages discussing humanity’s endless need for fulfillment. “The top of our desires’ hill is always followed by a downward slope. We stop appreciating what we’ve found, what was just a day before precious for us.”

Later in the book, she takes on the painful subject of betrayal in a relationship, highlighting in a particularly poetic passage the fragile nature of such a situation. “Partners in a couple are communicating vessels. If one is empty, he shares the content of the second, which either gives a nestle or engages a wrestle, so on receiving it the first one doesn’t always reckon.” Such a situation, she adds, rarely resolves in anything but sorrow and an ever-present neediness.

Still later, Ms Iourenkova draws further on her many years in dealing daily with people and their problems to observe that, paradoxically, “We sacrifice our health for wealth, then we spend our wealth for health. We want to grow older, and when our wish is realized, we become effectively old longing to be young again.” A humorous conundrum, to be sure.

Finally, on the Meaning of Life, she compares the universe to an ocean of light, and adds that our souls are made of this light. “We are limpid, gleaming, vivid water,” she says lyrically. ”In this ocean we totter. Leaded by the Universe’s current to the  Earth’s shore we take temporarily (the) shape of a wave once more.”

And, she completes that thought with this admonition: “But while being alive, we invent other meanings of life. Each one finds his own: to be useful for others, to realize his mission, fulfill his role, to enjoy, to be happy, to love, to be loved… All this composes our precious experience. The most important, before passing by, whatever we do, (is) to be satisfied with our life.”

Indeed, there is much, much more wisdom and philosophical insight to be discovered here, if the reader can, as Ms. Iourenkova herself says, “focus on the content more than on its shape.” For even in its “imperfect English,” there is a great deal to be learned — a veritable treasure trove of carefully considered thoughts and observations that will surely uplift and energize even the most casual student of the human condition.

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