Meenal was visibly nervous, and couldn't get herself to take a sip of her cappucino. "Why do I feel this way? What is wrong with me?" she pleaded Reshma across the table.
Reshma was slow to respond. "It's your subconscious mind that is making you feel this way," she said finally. "Your subconscious does not know right from wrong: it only tells you if what you are heading for is going to give you pain or pleasure, based on previous experiences."
Meenal stared at Reshma quietly for a moment, then continued voicing her thoughts: "He's my age, is wonderful to talk to, is as qualified and well-settled as I demanded from a second husband, is loving and fully accepting of me, has been divorced once so he can understand my situation... in fact he's the complete answer to my prayers. So why am I so nervous, so full of dread? It's not rational."
Reshma nodded in undertanding. "Most of what we do and feel is irrational. It's when we try to rationalise our feelings that we are on tricky ground. It's usually better to listen to them."
"So if I'm feeling this full of fear and panic, should I turn him down? But how will I ever find someone like this again?" Meenal cried.
Reshma collected her thoughts before speaking again: "If you're feeling so panicky for no reason whatsoever, it is probably your subconscious mind making a prediction that going in this direction is going to lead you to pain, based on previous experiences. But that does not mean you have to listen to it."
Meenal was even more confused. "You just said it's usually better to listen to our feelings."
Reshma took a deep breath and continued: "Yes, usually. That is where free will comes in. You can either choose to listen to your feelings, turn down this offer of marriage and then live with the consequences of that. Or you can tell yourself that just because a situation turned out painful in the past does not mean it will turn out the same way again, re-condition yourself, go ahead with this marriage, and then live with the consequences of that."
Meenal's face fell. "It sounds very hopeless I should say."
"If choosing to marry this man makes you feel that way, then it's probably not a good choice. You're going into it with a sense of dread - which will lead to actions based on fear instead of joy. Go into anything with a sense of hope and excitement," said Reshma, her own cappucino almost finished now.
"But I like him! I just don't feel like marrying him right now!" Meenal moaned.
"Then don't. What's the rush?"
"The rush is my family! They think I'm being needlessly fussy and should just get on with it! What would you do?" asked Meenal, suddenly.
Reshma pushed her cup away and sat back. "I can't answer that. We're not in the same situation. My responses would be completely different, because my circumstances and experiences have been different from yours."
Meenal leaned forward, insistently: "Would you choose a rational decision or go with your heart?"
Reshma looked at her friend with a small smile. "If this life is all there is, then it's better to be rational. But if there's eternity after this, then it's better to go with your heart. The heart goes on."
Meenal's face crinkled up into a frown. "And who knows the answer to that? What's the Truth?" she asked.
"There is no one answer. You have to be guided by your own Truth," said Reshma. Both friends' faces then broke into a smile simultaneously.
Meenal nodded. She had met her Truth some time ago, and she turned inward to look at It again. And there, in the palm of Its hand, her answer lay, smiling up at her.