Wounds and Consequences, by Klaus Rettich

Here, Klaus (from Germany) discusses the following issues and provides his own positive experience as an example of how to heal psychological wounds.

What can be the causes of psychological wounds? 

What kind of effects can these have on the mental health of beings and how can these affect their everyday lives?

When do such constraints become real obstacles and real risks in life?

Are people in different societies affected differently?

Are there different approaches to treatment in the West and in the East?

In the West, people have been investigating their emotions, feelings and
the effects of their upbringing for some time. However, going to psychotherapy sessions ‘publicly’ is still accompanied with feelings of shame and failure. As a consequence,  not everybody who might be in (serious) need of such a support for inner – and also outer – strengthening
is using the opportunities available in the West.

In my perception, as a result of their kind of upbringing or education everybody has experienced more or less incapacitating ‘side-ffects’ with regard to having satisfying relationships or being a more confident – and independent – person in the world.

Due to my very personal and intimate relationship with Bangladesh (my wife is from there) I am a regular reader of news about that country. I found this article in thedailystar.net:
‘Bangladeshis discover the effects of authoritarian parenting’
https://www.thedailystar.net/shout/cover-story/news/the-consequences-authoritarian-parenting-2942981
Including this quote:
“I have always been shut down [by my parents] for my ideas or even the smallest of my wishes, be it my career choice or going out with my friends. So, I developed a trait to not open up at all. This is something I carry in all my relationships. The bond that I always crave from them makes me emotionally weak in all aspects of my life,”

Why does this article’s content strike my interest quite intensely at the current poiint of time?
Firstly, as a youngster I was inhibited and confused, lacking self-confidence. By (sheer) fate, I started intensive meditation in India/Nepal/Myanmar at age 20-21 to clean out my mind.

Secondly,  I discovered after returning to the world that I could not find myself therein; all kinds of therapies (groups, breathing, psychoanalysis etc.) followed while studying, working, marrying and meditating at the same time.

Thus, I could observe the methods of therapy and of meditation at work.

The West is strong in outer work and organisation as well as in analysis of psychological dependencies and phenomena. It has got only a little idea of spiritual work.

The East is strong in spiritual work, but weak in organisation (not the Far East,  though) and analysis of the human condition.

Bangladesh is a very dedicated Muslim country (almost 95% Muslim) with an, in my opinion, extremely high percentage of people actively practising their faith daily.  From an early age.  On the big celeberation dates of the faith business life almost comes to a standstill.

I admire their spiritual strength and devotion. And the valuable influence this all has on me, as a follower of spiritual methodologies in real practice. But I am always feeling the cover-up of the ‘roles and status’ imparted by the tradition and the faith at the same time. And the wounds and inhibitions created by them (see the above article).

As we’ve had a very long discussion here on SN on the different vernaculars of the East and the West and the difficulty in melting/transcending them, to me the article is a first sign that psychoanalysis and psychotherapy are coming to the East.

Spiritual striving, to me, is not enough to overcome one’s mental impressions. At least in this one life. For most of the people taking up this struggle. And especially not in cases of trauma.

However,  thanks to Bhagwan/Osho, in Sannyas we have both meditation and therapy,  plus celebration of life, love and laughter.

Here’s my own story, a positive example of combining therapy and meditation:

Struggling with meditation at the beginning I could make good progress within the short time-frame given: 6th December1980 to August 1981. But I could not manage ‘to open up to the environment’, a Buddhist meditation centre in Rangoon, and the teachers and all the persons there. So I left without integrating, maturing, a settling of the experiences had there.

In the outer world, I had no idea of what I wanted to do or be or achieve.

From 1984-1990 I was a sannyasin, studied, worked, married,  meditated and had psychotherapy.

Many years later I suffered an illness during the course of which I lost my (upper international management level, well-paid) job,  my ability to work for a full day and the joy of having a family of my own. But I got an adequate  early pension from the German system. After this illness, in Dec. 2013 in a painting therapy session during rehab I drew a picture: a torso with head, arms and legs cut from the knees.

What to make of this?

During psychotherapy I concluded that this image represents “the reaction of my soul to my upbringing environment as a child” on a merely energetic, mental level. There was no extreme physical misuse or violence in my youth. But severe emotional tension around the house, maximum strictness and restraints,  limitations,  shouting,  beatings –  and a crazy aunty upstairs who also terrorised my parents; also at school, harassment by mobs of neighbours’ kids.

Due to all these efforts in therapy and meditation, slowly my mental health returned to states experienced in Myanmar in the meditation: pure space, a large, large smile on my face, laughter with my family, waking up full of fine, subtle energy with ‘nobody home’,  no succumbing to father-figures, managers, government officials etc.

My therapists – believe me, there have been not only one, but many (as there was not only one meditation teacher, but also many) – are congratulating me for the very good work and the healing achieved by my own commitment and dedication.
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59 Responses to Wounds and Consequences, by Klaus Rettich

  1. Arpana says:

    Seems to me, Klaus, many who come to this life, including those who come up with the therapies, approach doing so with an idea of a life we should have had that didn’t come about; and initially, much of what goes on is actually about trying to get back the life we think we should have had, would have had, if, at key moments, something hadn’t gone wrong (according to our preconceived notions).

    Not so much mending, but reversing, and that is part of the journey.

    But eventually we may get glimpses, see our mind-sets and language habits are far too small for the actuality of our own personal existence, let alone the rest, and we can only change the story we tell ourselves about our lives, not our lives.

  2. Lokesh says:

    Thanks, Klaus, for taking the time to write the above article. It is quite personal and that adds to the content, only two aspects of which I will focus on right now.

    You say that you admire the Muslim community’s spiritual strength and devotion in Bangladesh. Personally, I do not see anything spiritually strong or devotional in any organized religion. For the most part, organized religion gives people something to believe in, but if you examine it, it really does not add up to much. That people should gain strength from these beliefs shows the state of human beings and the power of belief.

    It is maybe not such a bad thing because the masses need such religious ideas to keep them in check, otherwise they would run amok, even more than they are already. For example, the Muslim credo of hospitality is really quite commendable. Not everything to do with organized religion is bad. I just have no personal interest in it. Such organizations always have a priesthood, people through which one must pass to get to God or whatever. It is bullshit.

    We have everything we need within our organism to have direct contact with the divine, something greater, true self, higher consciousness etc. We do not need organized religion for that. This is one of the great points that Osho taught, he wasn’t a believer, he was all for a religious approach to life without the need for a religion.

    I think psychotherapy has its place in society and certainly helps many troubled people. Then again, I think many people’s mental problems could be sorted out by a spot of hard physical labour or demanding and strenuous sports activity. Simply sharing with close friends what is going on inside of you can be healing, the power of shared awareness. Each to his own and the paths are many.

    I find studying and practising what is taught in Maurice Nicholl’s ‘Psychological Commentaries’ tremendously beneficial. Many would not. We all have to find our way home by whatever means is made available and actually works for us as individuals.

  3. frank says:

    Some psychotherapists have pointed out that the term psychotherapy in its original Greek form means `Care of the soul`. (“Soul” here is closer in sense to `animating force` than the theological entity that is imagined to survive death). This idea would allow for a great variety of activities, inner and outer, from meditation to sport to work to relating to people, lovers, or a more modern idea of psychotherapy to have a place in the mix.

    I don`t know if organised religions care for the soul of their adherents. In some way they do, but they exact a great price. Religion and families look after their members but you have to pay ‘protection’ just like with the mafia!

    Klaus, it sounds as if the image/vision of having your arms and legs severed that you mention is a an indication of this maybe inevitable process, too.

    The fact that world religions (and tribes before them) literally chop intimate body parts of their powerless members, never mind punish, forbid, persecute and ban many other soulful activities, be they physical, mental or emotional, also gives a clue as to what`s going on.

    Keep on keeping on, bro`.

    • Arpana says:

      Frank.
      Have you come across Tom Holland?
      I’d be interested to hear your responses to his viewpoint.

      https://youtu.be/zpCeauhcLuc

      • frank says:

        Holland says: “Original sin is the most democratic of theological doctrines.”
        Lol. Maybe he should have ‘Sophist’ tattooed on his forehead!?

        Tbh, I have little time for these ivory-tower academics trying to advance their careers through the media by being a bit `provocative` and contrarian.

        • Arpana says:

          He always strikes me as anything but an ivory tower academic, and I’ve met a few. Seems enthusiastic and sincere to me.

          Anyway, I raise a glass to you, Sir, for taking the time to check it out. (-‿-)

        • satyadeva says:

          “Original sin is the most democratic of theological doctrines.”

          What does this mean, please? In layman’s terms, preferably.

          • Arpana says:

            ”Original sin is the Christian doctrine that holds that humans, through the fact of birth, inherit a tainted nature in need of regeneration and a proclivity to sinful conduct.”

            This applies to everyone, regardless of status, although I think Holland was making a bit of a dry, tongue-in-cheek, ivory-tower academic joke.

            • Arpana says:

              A new monk arrived at the monastery. He was assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He noticed, however, that they were copying copies, not the original books. The new monk went to the head monk to ask him about this. He pointed out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.

              The head monk said, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” The head monk went down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.

              Hours later, nobody had seen him, so one of the monks went downstairs to look for him. He heard a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar and found the old monk leaning over one of the original books, crying.

              He asked what was wrong.

              “The word is ‘celebrate,’ not ‘celibate’!” sobbed the head monk.

              • Klaus says:

                Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
                Dem bloody fools….

                (Re Arpana’s ‘monks’ story).

                • satchit says:

                  Klaus,

                  Osho mentioned that therapy is like cutting the leaves of the tree.
                  So what did help you more: psychotherapy or meditation?
                  Is life still hard for you?

                • Klaus says:

                  Satchit,

                  Interesting question, getting to the core of it.

                  When meditating, I experience oneness, absorption, straight from the moment of sitting down and closing my eyes. I feel a sense of rightness, direction, undisturbedness, peace with what is.
                  So, meditation helps me to find (deep) peace of mind.
                  Silent meditation to me is the absolute: whereever I can be quiet, silent, peaceful – oneness is.

                  However, when coming out of it and being confronted with having to do this and/or that, due to the effects of the brain haemorrhage, I feel aversion to moving quickly, sporting around, having to carry something, acting aimfully. This gives me a heartache as I am a late parent to a young daugther who has so much energy and likes to run and play, hide-and-seek. There I cannot follow much anymore.

                  Psychotherapy has helped me cope with the world after the health incident, put-downs at the office, job cancellation and feeling unworthy and probably having chosen the wrong approach to (business) life. It is in the world where ‘the other’ comes in with misunderstandings and emotions – so that is where psychotherapy has helped me ‘out of the ditch’ and to feel and behave as normal.

                  Even though there were these ‘accidents and incidents’ today I feel a deep sense of balance and being at home with myself: life is not such a heavy burden.

                  Be well.

            • frank says:

              Arps,
              Whilst I agree that it would have been quite a good joke, if he had been taking the piss out of Xians or himself, sadly, he said it on Twitter in all earnestness as the full quote shows:
              “Original sin is the most democratic of theological doctrines – none of us can attain perfection, & so all of us should show humility in our dealings with others. The Pelagian spirit of our current age has tended to obscure this.”

              (Pelagian: a person who believes in the theological doctrine of Pelagius, especially its denial of the doctrines of original sin and predestination, and defence of innate human goodness and free will).

              It`s interesting to see how guys like him operate. He throws a nonsense comment to present his tenuous thesis that original sin and democracy are necessarily bound: “Original sin is the most democratic of theological doctrines”, then quickly follows it with a truism: “all of us should show humility in our dealings with others” that would be difficult to dispute. Thus giving the feeling that all what has been said is all “true”.

              It`s the kind of thing that Youtube preachers like Jordan Peterson use all the time.

    • Arpana says:

      Wouldn’t have missed my first and main visit to the ashram, which I didn’t always find an easy situation; a benefit, in retrospect, was a crash course in psychology, which I was interested in anyway, connected to real-life personal behaviour, picked up, for example, talking with others, elbow-deep in soapy water while washing dishes, or while filing invoices.

    • Klaus says:

      Thanks, Frank, for the powerful input and hints.

      I don’t have to fight to protect the limitations imposed on – and then followed through by – myself, do I? Rhetorical question, for sure.

      Thumbs up!

  4. Hello Klaus,

    It can be helpful to sometimes view things from a different perspective…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_fwF-Torc

  5. Arpana says:

    Klaus,
    Excellent article. That’s how I should have begun.

  6. Klaus says:

    Hi Y’All,

    I didn’t mean to make the thread about ‘me’, just to give the topic some impetus. Thanks, though, for the interesting feedback; I have been out for a bit of work and errands.

    Frank made an interesting connection for me with the torso-picture: the limitations I have put on myself during the intensive meditation could have been a direct continuation of my austere youth experience: sitting, walking, I could not do much with my arms, legs and head also. Hey.
    Psychology/soul discovery in Greek. Yes.

    Lokesh gives the view that all sorts of things can be helpful for sorting out the inner: sports, physical work etc. and we have it all ready in our own systems, we can bring it out, too. I can agree there, too.

    If the Bangladeshis didn’t have their faith and tradition there would be even more mayhem in their daily lives: for many it’s working as something to hold on to and a discipliner/dampener as well as a social security system for the people as there is nothing else in support.

    However, I sense a certain steadfastness in the people and there certainly are people who have this transcendent view/energy. It is perceivable in spite of the chaos. Hint, hint: I do not perceive this in good ol’Germany.

    Imo, one can find in (organised) religion everything Bhagwan/Osho was talking about: not by taking up another (new) belief system, but by learning to see for oneself what is being proclaimed:

    Why be a Buddhist – when you can be a Buddha?
    Why be a Muslim – when you can be a Mohammed?

    One’s connection depends, imo, on how lucky one is to meet the positives there; I am certainly aware of the detriments of organisation and the faithful masses… I mostly bypass the priests.
    Positive, imo, is that there is an available infrastructure: temples and meditation centres etc., mosques etc. where one can be largely undisturbed; all based on donations.

    In the West, everything has to be financed independently by the initiators and then be – rightly or wrongly – called out as ‘the meditation mob’ (unless it is Christian and financed by taxes and the State i.e. Germany) or as an excessive ‘marketeer’ (the daily or weekend rates, ooohhhh).

    Anubodh hints at adopting a different point of view: the cat’s view!
    Cats have accompanied my adult life for like 30 years…sensitive and independent companions, indeed.

    I have not been internalising new rules and regulations from the religious books, not at all: ‘moral compass’, ‘behavioural guidelines’, theories about n bodies and auras and heavens, no.

    Arpana is a bit cryptic in the first comment, I cannot sort it out quickly: reversing the side-effects of troubling events means integrating them and levelling it out? Okay!

    T. Holland to me seems to be a plain academic; what is his inner being like? Does he know beyond factual knowledge?

    Cheers! Keep it going.

    • frank says:

      Klaus, you ask:
      “Why be a Buddhist – when you can be a Buddha?
      Why be a Muslim – when you can be a Mohammed?”

      Sounds good, but are Buddha and Mohammed in any way similar, really?
      I mean their lives and what they left behind them were pretty different.
      Buddha said a lot about the inner world but what was Mohammed`s inner being like?
      He liked a good ruck and young chicks too, apparently.
      Whereas Buddha seems a bit more of a restrained, fastidious type.

      If they met each other, I wonder what they would have to say by way of conversation?

      • Klaus says:

        Frank,

        I was actually quoting:
        https://integrallife.com/why-be-buddhist-when-you-can-be-buddha/

        “At the core of every major religion we can find a treasure trove of powerful technologies for awakening, transformative practices designed to invoke in us the very same experience of fullness, transcendence, and immeasurable love as the great religious founders themselves were able to have.

        That’s right — you can have the same experience that the Buddha had. You can have the same experience that Jesus Christ had. Or that Muhammad had, or St. Teresa, or Rumi, or any other great mystic in history. All this is abundantly available to you, at this very moment.”

        In the end I will be – finally – Klaus.
        Whoever contributed to the variety of paths I mixed in and/or up…

        Would the founders of their faiths be fighting if they would meet one-to-one?
        Maybe, perhaps, under certain circumstances?

        • frank says:

          Klaus,
          A technology with which I can have the same experience that the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, St. Teresa or Rumi, or any other great mystic in history had?

          That sounds like a good app.
          Is it iPhone 13 Pro Max compatible?

          • Klaus says:

            Well,
            With Buddha one meditates
            Jesus’s people pray in that way
            Mohammad’s people pray in this way
            St. Theresa – I don’t know
            With Rumi it is zikhr, prayer and poems
            With Hindus it is yogas, mantras and else
            With Osho it is…
            With Rastafaris it is reggae, smoke + prayer
            To be completed….

      • Arpana says:

        Klaus,
        Tom Holland is a practitioner of Vipassana breath watching. ☯☯

  7. Thanks, Klaus, i enjoyed your sharing. Hug

  8. kavita says:

    Hi everyone here on SN,

    Can all you writers write something more interesting rather than this East-West divide topic? We have discussed this enough here on SN. For me, I personally (probably most of you, too) don’t enjoy this, I see that SN is already having a survival issue! Either you come up with better topics or I’m opting out of active participation.

    It’s better to close SN down than have this drab topic which is disgusting enough with Shantam’s articles & posts. Here in India it’s already a nationalistic milieu which one has to live & deal with.

    Writing this after reading:
    Arpana says:
    24 January, 2022 at 8:29 pm
    “Frank, Only one way to be sure nobody will be critical of anything you say.

    Say nothing.”

    MOD:
    Are you referring to Klaus’s article, Kavita, and/or to Shantam’s?

    (Btw, feel free to write an article or suggest ideas for one).

    • kavita says:

      MOD, Yes it’s obvious that Klaus wrote this article after Shantam’s.

      Sorry , I am not good at writing articles.

      The regulars like Lokesh are doing good, maybe you can try/invite Veet Tom.

      Thank you, MOD.

    • Kavita, don’t you think that Indian nationalism could be a reaction to the globalist ideology which perceives nation states as an obstacle to their domination agenda?

      Don’t you think that the cultural differences produced by the various human aggregates politically structured around a state can represent not only a threat but also a resource?

      • kavita says:

        VF,
        Cultural differences, if enjoyed by each other, only then can it be really resourceful. Since you are asking me, btw, this is not only about Indian nationalism, every nationalist considers their nation’s ideology to be the best.

        Indian nationalists takes pride in thinking ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ is their nation’s wisdom but don’t realise wisdom cannot be anybody’s property!

        I can’t digest Osho’s people who limit Osho to being a national treasure!

        • If it is true that every nationalist claims the superiority of his own ideological belonging, are you perhaps suggesting that a cosmopolitan/ globalist cannot be equally fanatical?

          Do you think it would not be equally limiting to consider Osho the treasure of the globalist faction?

          In my opinion, ideological contents must be analyzed and considered dialectically opposed to other contents of the same type, not judged with respect to the contents of other knowledge domains.

          If wisdom were an exclusivity of the domain of Spirituality, you, Kavita, today would be one of the queen’s servants; this would be really disgusting.

          • kavita says:

            No, VF, I am suggesting fanaticism of any kind is, after all. This is the reason I use “perhaps” & “guess” while sharing.

            Yes, exactly, “Treasure” itself is limiting perhaps! 

            Totally agree analysis from all angles is necessary. 

            I do not like the word “spirituality” itself, forget ”exclusivity”. Yes, I am grateful to the freedom fighters but not in exchange for partition. Anyway, who am I/anyone of us to decide anything, I guess such/most things are existential.

    • Arpana says:

      Kavita said,
      “Writing this after reading:Arpana says: 24 January, 2022 at 8:29 pm
      “Frank, Only one way to be sure nobody will be critical of anything you say. Say nothing.” ”

      Kavita, we were making reference to ‘cancel culture’. ‘Woke’ culture. Wasn’t a reference to India, or the West, or to Shantam.

      MOD:
      What exactly is “cancel culture” and what does “woke” mean, please, Arpana?

    • Klaus says:

      Thanks, Kavita, for the orientation.

      That helped me find out about some illusions I have been holding on to.

      Imo, to make the topic into an ‘East-West divide’ is – to speak in the Golfers’ language – a ‘short hit’.

      I shared something about direct experience in applying ‘two wings to fly’. Not applying one or the other imo inevitably leads one to fall back to the next lower level.

      Then again, one has to pick oneself up – turn around – and start again.

      Cheers.

    • Klaus says:

      Actually, looking at it again, I see different people, various methods and approaches, individuals making their own choices according to what they feel is best.

      I do not see a divide there.

      Certainly what’s right for me might not be right for you.
      That was clear from the beginning.

  9. Arpana says:

    BELOVED MASTER,
    WHAT ARE YOUR LAST WORDS GOING TO BE TO THE WORLD?

    It reminds me of a story George Gurdjieff used to tell his closest disciples. The story is about a great past master, a buddha, who had a self-appointed right-hand man who was a faithful follower for year after year. And when the master was in his room on his deathbed, all of the followers silently waited by the door, not knowing what to do and incapable of believing that their mystical master was really dying.

    Finally, through the sorrowful stillness, the master’s voice was faintly heard to call the name of the right-hand man, and all of the followers looked at him intently as he made his way to the master’s door. As he reached for the knob he glanced at the peering faces around him and imagined their envy and respect for him at being the only one to be called to the master’s side during his final moments. He already imagined how after the master’s death he would slowly emerge from the room as the new head of the system, a veritable Peter-of-the-Rock.

    Quietly he entered the darkened room and slowly he made his way and knelt by the bed. The old master nodded for him to come nearer, and he leaned over with his awaiting ear by the old man’s mouth, and the master whispered, “Fuck you.”

    Enough for today.

    • frank says:

      I expect many, if not most gurus feel like that about their disciples at least some of the time.

      That might be why you hear so many stories of them knocking them about, getting them to do weird stuff, fleecing them, shagging them and dumping them, badmouthing them etc.

      Fair play to them though, disciples can be a creepy bunch, they probably deserve it.

      • Arpana says:

        Frank said, ”disciples can be a creepy bunch, they probably deserve it.”

        Do you include yourself in that, Frank, or rather, did you when you were a disciple?

        • frank says:

          Yeah,I deserved everything I got.

          • Arpana says:

            You’ve had a pretty shitty time the last forty years it would appear, Frank. Pretty much everyone you’ve met is not up to much.

            Thanks for sharing this. Makes me feel fortunate.

            I’ve enjoyed engaging with most of the individuals I’ve come across because of Osho. Would have liked more of that. Been something of a solitary journey for me.

            I see Sannyas news as more glass is half-full than half-empty.

          • Arpana says:

            Frank,

            I want to have dealings with individuals who have Sannyas names because I get something positive out of doing so.

            You appear to hang around because you get the opportunity to keep telling everybody you despise them. Why would you do that? Why would you make such a choice? Why would you seek out the company of those you despise?

            I joined a play-reading group a few years back. Not a ‘spiritual’ person in sight. Great bunch. Really enjoyed the meetings. Give it a try. You never know you might meet somebody you don’t look down on!

            Here’s the link to Meetup:

            https://www.meetup.com/

  10. Nityaprem says:

    Klaus, it’s an interesting contrast, isn’t it, between treatment by religion and treatment by psychotherapy. Of course, as Osho showed, the magic is in the mixture and it’s best to do both — meditate and therapy.

    Yahoo!

    • Klaus says:

      @Nityaprem
      3 May, 2022 at 6:50 pm

      Yeah, indeed, interesting.

      I was contemplating putting up a thread about “Timings of meditation, therapy, love and other experiences”, following this one.

      However, I felt it is coming along in a bit of a twisted way. Unclear. Not sharp. Whatever.

      All wounds need healing. What causes wounds? For instance, unallowed sadness for a loved one departed. Or on the other hand, joy not expressed. These create tensions in the body. Therapy and bodywork can undo these, possibly.

      Sitting, walking, standing silently for hours until “things pass” seems another way to go about it.

      In one of his talks Osho spoke about how Sheila P. had sex with a lover in the room next to the room where her husband was dying at the same time; the emotional pain caused to the husband in hearing the sounds delayed his possible enlightenment.

      How and when do opportunities for healing come around? What are the dynamics of our need for (extended) silence, action, words, company?

      At the moment, I feel that slowness in going around the actions and encounters in my everyday life is very helpful in order to better observe what is actually going on.

      Maybe this all sounds a bit cryptic, right now; last week I ended a 18 months online sessions therapy for the reason that I felt I need to let it sink. And not become ambitious and wanting too much.

      Cheers.

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