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Consciousness Level Testing/Raising, Energy Healing, and Beyond.

 
calin  (OP)

User ID: 998847
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07/02/2011 09:39 AM
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Free download PDF of Anthony de Mello's "Awareness" Conference:
[link to www.awareness.tk]




(because I sensed someone was asking!) ;)
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
calin  (OP)

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07/02/2011 09:54 AM
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Awareness - mp3 files
[link to awareness.tk]
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
calin  (OP)

User ID: 998847
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07/02/2011 10:12 AM
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There are 13 parts to this series. This is part 1.



Maps of Meaning 1: Monsters of Our Own Making
28:50 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 1st of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: The rise of rationality and the scientific method comprised a significant challenge to the religious world-view, but in its place rose ideological systems of true horror, led by resentful and arrogant tyrants such as Mao Tse-Tung, Stalin and Hitler. The demolition of traditional theories of morality thus opened the floodgates for pathological replacements of unforeseeable rigidity and cruelty.
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
calin  (OP)

User ID: 998847
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07/02/2011 10:35 AM
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Maps of Meaning 2: Contending with Chaos


Maps of Meaning 2: Contending with Chaos
28:35 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 2nd of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: Traditional theories of moral attitude and behavior, encoded in religion and mythology, posit that the world of human experience is composed of chaos and order, and that the human psyche mediates between those two forces or domains.



Maps of Meaning 3: Becoming Like Gods

Maps of Meaning 3: Becoming Like Gods
28:26 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 3rd of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: The gods represent psychological factors, such as love or sexuality (Venus) or aggression (Ares or Mars). The idea of a single, ultimate god represents the integrated totality of all such psychological factors, presented as the ultimate value. This ultimate value is increasingly identified with the sovereign individual in monotheistic religions. The ancient Egyptian story of Osiris and Horus provides an excellent example of this identification.


Maps of Meaning 4: Games People Must Play

Maps of Meaning 4: Games People Must Play
28:01 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 4th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: The ideas encoded in religion and mythology emerged from the bottom up, not the top down. This means they were not planned or abstractly conceptualized, in their initial forms. Instead, religious ideas emerged from a platform whose structure was defined by collective behavior. Ordered collective behavior has a game-like structure, and some games are better than others. Sophisticated religious narratives outline the best possible games



Maps of Meaning 5: Grappling with Fear


Maps of Meaning 5: Grappling with Fear
28:31 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 5th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: The chaos out of which the world is generated is first encountered during contact with the anomalous, unknown, misunderstood or threatening. Things that are not understood are dangerous and vague. Retreat from such things is one option, but such retreat does not allow for growth or learning. Retreat means that the unknown stays both unknown and frightening. Voluntary approach, by contrast, generates information. From that information the personality is generated.

Last Edited by calin on 07/02/2011 10:57 AM
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
calin  (OP)

User ID: 998847
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07/02/2011 10:57 AM
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Maps of Meaning 6: Submitting to Order

Maps of Meaning 6: Submitting to Order
28:03 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 6th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: Order is the antithesis of chaos. The domain of order is the domain of culture, of the previously explored and understood. Order inhibits fear, and aids in the establishment of harmonious relations between people who would otherwise fight. The discipline of order is also a precondition to freedom. However, too much order stultifies, and prevents the development of genuine creative individuality.


Maps of Meaning 7: Contemplating Genesis

Maps of Meaning 7: Contemplating Genesis
28:28 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 7th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: The ancient text of Genesis provides a very sophisticated dramatic representation of the emergence of order from chaos, as a consequence of the action of consciousness or Logos, and also presents the emergence of human self-consciousness. Such emergent self-consciousness is a paradoxical gift: although it brings with it the terrible knowledge of limitation, madness and death, it also enables the voluntary and redemptive adoption of a heroic stance towards the conditions of life.
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
calin  (OP)

User ID: 998847
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07/02/2011 11:04 AM
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Maps of Meaning 8: Dwelling on Paradise



Maps of Meaning 9: Becoming a Self

Maps of Meaning 9: Becoming a Self
28:29 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 9th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: The individual begins his or her life as pure vulnerable potential, shielded in optimal circumstances from factors beyond control by the benevolent intervention of maternal care. If such care is provided, the developing individual is then socialized into the broader cultural world. Such socialization provides order and purpose as a buttress against chaos. True individual development, however, means movement beyond the maternal and the cultural, and voluntary personal contact with the chaotic unknown. Such contact generates wisdom, and frees the individual from possession by ideology.



Maps of Meaning 10: Figuring Evil


Maps of Meaning 10: Figuring Evil
28:14 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 10th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: Two fundamental reactions to the terrible and uncertain conditions of life obtain. The first is dramatically represented by the figure of Cain in Genesis; the second by Abel. Cain is resentful and unwilling to change, even though he is suffering and even though he has been told by the divine that the unbearable part of his suffering is self-generated. Abel, by contrast, follows the dictates of his conscience, makes the proper sacrifices, and establishes an acceptable relationship with the conditions of existence. Cain's refusal to admit to his error ultimately makes him vengefully homicidal and destructive, as he rebels against his self-produced fate. Cain is the father of all tyrants.
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
calin  (OP)

User ID: 998847
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07/02/2011 11:10 AM
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Maps of Meaning 11: Losing Religion

Maps of Meaning 11: Losing Religion
29:00 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 11th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: The movement beyond cultural schemes of meaning (religions, ideologies) can produce stasis and desperation, as the disenchanted individual once again confronts unstructured chaos. Alternatively, identity with a rigid and totalitarian ideology may be adopted, but such identification eventually deprives life of its spontaneous and sustaining meaning, and turns the ideological adherent towards vengeful destruction.



Maps of Meaning 12: Truths that Matter

Maps of Meaning 12: Truths that Matter
29:06 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the 12th of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: Because life is uncertain, complex and terrifying, people require a shield or substantive strength. Culture and social identification provide a shield. Voluntary contact with the chaotic, unknown and terrifying, by contrast, provides specifically redemptive information, and helps the personality develop enough genuine strength to overcome existential terror, vengeful response to that terror, and the pathologies of ideological identification.


Maps of Meaning 13: The Force Within

Maps of Meaning 13: The Force Within
29:08 - 4 years ago
This half hour video was broadcast on TV Ontario in 2004, as the final chapter of a 13-part series dealing with mythology and neuroscience. It is based on the book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Theme: Although unbridled contact with chaos can be absolutely overwhelming, the nervous system is actually calibrated to encourage gradual but still transformative contact. The individual finds him or herself engaged in such contact, unconsciously, whenever the activities of life are sufficiently interesting and meaningful to temporarily eradicate self-consciousness. Under such conditions, the individual is inhabiting the "spiritual" space that exists on the border between chaos and order. This space is equivalent to the kingdom of god. The facilitation of permanent existence there is the unstated purpose of religious practice. Warning: although interest and meaning may serve as a guide to "the kingdom of god," those subjective phenomena will become pathologized in the experience of the individual who is a chronic liar. Under such conditions, possession by meaning will lead not to heaven, but to hell
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1329420
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07/02/2011 03:52 PM
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Calin, the info you are providing for all of us is absolutely awesome!!! Thank you for all that you do, all that you are, and simply for being YOU* I need to spend time going through this mountain of wonderful "redirectives" as I'll refer to them, because it helps us to orient ourselves to the present...to who we are in our fullness of being* With gratitude and love, Ctruth333
calin  (OP)

User ID: 1350324
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07/02/2011 04:45 PM
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Calin, the info you are providing for all of us is absolutely awesome!!! Thank you for all that you do, all that you are, and simply for being YOU* I need to spend time going through this mountain of wonderful "redirectives" as I'll refer to them, because it helps us to orient ourselves to the present...to who we are in our fullness of being* With gratitude and love, Ctruth333
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1329420


I am pleased that you are finding value in what is posted!

I really can't take the credit for the absolutely awesome articles and videos though. The creators are brilliant and are giving so much to humanity. They are the wayseers and the lightworkers! I appreciate them immensely!

It seems my reticular activating system is becoming more focused and the unfolding of the material is like it was planned and I am just executing with my searches and by posting. We are entangled on this thread and the added high frequencies are enriching us all. I hope everyone feels the same!

The well or source of contributions by other people just never seems to dry up!!!

And to think, that so many out there seem to feel no one gets it! That no one can bring up our consciousness enough to make a significant difference in our future. HA! I am more hopeful as each day passes.

My heart seems like it will burst with love sometimes from all of the magnificent beings here. I had an EKG the other day and it showed a non-specific anomaly.... don't know what that is, but I was told I am fine! HA!

I will add more Anthony de Mello videos in a day or so. All of them will get on here eventually.

Much love .........and the feedback is helpful too! Thank you!hugs



What a wayseer is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Uploaded by WayseerNews on Mar 10, 2011

ATTENTION: All you rule-breakers, you misfits & troublemakers, all you free-spirits & pioneers... Everything the establishment has told you is wrong with you - is actually what's right with you...
Go here: [link to WayseerManifesto.com]

Friend us at [link to facebook.com]
Follow the creator on [link to twitter.com]
Friend him on Facebook: [link to on.fb.me]
Version 1.3.8

Last Edited by calin on 07/02/2011 05:10 PM
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1329420
United States
07/02/2011 05:10 PM
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Re: Consciousness Level Testing/Raising, Energy Healing, and Beyond.
Calin, the info you are providing for all of us is absolutely awesome!!! Thank you for all that you do, all that you are, and simply for being YOU* I need to spend time going through this mountain of wonderful "redirectives" as I'll refer to them, because it helps us to orient ourselves to the present...to who we are in our fullness of being* With gratitude and love, Ctruth333
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1329420


I am pleased that you are finding value in what is posted!

I really can't take the credit for the absolutely awesome articles and videos though. The creators are brilliant and are giving so much to humanity. They are the wayseers and the lightworkers! I appreciate them immensely!

It seems my reticular activating system is becoming more focused and the unfolding of the material is like it was planned and I am just executing with my searches and by posting. We are entangled on this thread and the added high frequencies are enriching us all. I hope everyone feels the same!

The well or source of contributions by other people just never seems to dry up!!!

And to think, that so many out there seem to feel no one gets it! That no one can bring up our consciousness enough to make a significant difference in our future. HA! I am more hopeful as each day passes.

My heart seems like it will burst with love sometimes from all of the magnificent beings here. I had an EKG the other day and it showed a non-specific anomaly.... don't know what that is, but I was told I am fine! HA!

I will add more Anthony de Mello videos in a day or so. All of them will get on here eventually.

Much love .........and the feedback is helpful too! Thank you!hugs



What a wayseer is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Uploaded by WayseerNews on Mar 10, 2011

ATTENTION: All you rule-breakers, you misfits & troublemakers, all you free-spirits & pioneers... Everything the establishment has told you is wrong with you - is actually what's right with you...
Go here: [link to WayseerManifesto.com]
Get it on iTunes: [link to DON'T_USE-THIS]
Friend us at [link to facebook.com]
Follow the creator on [link to twitter.com]
Friend him on Facebook: [link to on.fb.me]
Version 1.3.8
 Quoting: calin


Oh Sweet Calin, you can take the credit for being YOU, which is Light and Love*** The Creators of the info you have shared are Brilliant, as you said...and You are Brilliant, too!!! I Feel You :o) Seems we may have discussions in our dreams!! I think I spoke with you in my dreams these past two nights! I know it may sound odd to share such a thing...but I do have many conversations with beings in my dreams...and it is starting to get clearer in consciousness! I Love it!

Interesting about the EKG you had done the other day and the anomaly that was reported...oh, this is certainly your heart expanding...frequencies emitting stronger and stronger...what a contribution your energy brings!!!! Beautiful Love!!!! And you were told you are fine! Oh, yes, indeed*

I awoke this morning with a dream where I was told to sing...that it would relieve the pressure...and strengthen the area...how cool! So I am singing again***

Much Love to you, too :o)
~Ctruth333
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1329420
United States
07/02/2011 05:16 PM
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Re: Consciousness Level Testing/Raising, Energy Healing, and Beyond.
Calin, the info you are providing for all of us is absolutely awesome!!! Thank you for all that you do, all that you are, and simply for being YOU* I need to spend time going through this mountain of wonderful "redirectives" as I'll refer to them, because it helps us to orient ourselves to the present...to who we are in our fullness of being* With gratitude and love, Ctruth333
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1329420


I am pleased that you are finding value in what is posted!

I really can't take the credit for the absolutely awesome articles and videos though. The creators are brilliant and are giving so much to humanity. They are the wayseers and the lightworkers! I appreciate them immensely!

It seems my reticular activating system is becoming more focused and the unfolding of the material is like it was planned and I am just executing with my searches and by posting. We are entangled on this thread and the added high frequencies are enriching us all. I hope everyone feels the same!

The well or source of contributions by other people just never seems to dry up!!!

And to think, that so many out there seem to feel no one gets it! That no one can bring up our consciousness enough to make a significant difference in our future. HA! I am more hopeful as each day passes.

My heart seems like it will burst with love sometimes from all of the magnificent beings here. I had an EKG the other day and it showed a non-specific anomaly.... don't know what that is, but I was told I am fine! HA!

I will add more Anthony de Mello videos in a day or so. All of them will get on here eventually.

Much love .........and the feedback is helpful too! Thank you!hugs



What a wayseer is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Uploaded by WayseerNews on Mar 10, 2011

ATTENTION: All you rule-breakers, you misfits & troublemakers, all you free-spirits & pioneers... Everything the establishment has told you is wrong with you - is actually what's right with you...
Go here: [link to WayseerManifesto.com]
Get it on iTunes: [link to DON'T_USE-THIS]
Friend us at [link to facebook.com]
Follow the creator on [link to twitter.com]
Friend him on Facebook: [link to on.fb.me]
Version 1.3.8
 Quoting: calin


Oh Sweet Calin, you can take the credit for being YOU, which is Light and Love*** The Creators of the info you have shared are Brilliant, as you said...and You are Brilliant, too!!! I Feel You :o) Seems we may have discussions in our dreams!! I think I spoke with you in my dreams these past two nights! I know it may sound odd to share such a thing...but I do have many conversations with beings in my dreams...and it is starting to get clearer in consciousness! I Love it!

Interesting about the EKG you had done the other day and the anomaly that was reported...oh, this is certainly your heart expanding...frequencies emitting stronger and stronger...what a contribution your energy brings!!!! Beautiful Love!!!! And you were told you are fine! Oh, yes, indeed*

I awoke this morning with a dream where I was told to sing...that it would relieve the pressure...and strengthen the area...how cool! So I am singing again***

Much Love to you, too :o)
~Ctruth333
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1329420


You are connected to the coolest info!!!....and in your sharing, the Brilliant Light Grows... Expanding...Connecting...Unifying...LOVE*
I love this video manifesto!!! Thank You ~*
calin  (OP)

User ID: 998847
United States
07/02/2011 08:46 PM
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Re: Consciousness Level Testing/Raising, Energy Healing, and Beyond.
Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.33 desire not preference

Desire, Not Preference

Do not suppress desire, because then you would become lifeless. You’d be without energy and that would be terrible. Desire in the healthy sense of the word is energy, and the more energy we have, the better. But don’t suppress desire, understand it. Understand it. Don’t seek to fulfill desire so much as to understand desire. And don’t just renounce the objects of your desire, understand them; see them in their true light. See them for what they are really worth. Because if you just suppress your desire, and you attempt to renounce the object of your desire, you are likely to be tied to it. Whereas if you look at it and see it for what it is really worth, if you understand how you are preparing the grounds for misery and disappointment and depression, your desire will then be transformed into what I call a preference.

When you go through life with preferences but don’t let your happiness depend on any one of them, then you’re awake. You’re moving toward wakefulness. Wakefulness, happiness – call it what you wish – is the state of nondelusion, where you see things not as you are but as they are, insofar as this is possible for a human being. To drop illusions, to see things, to see reality. Every time you are unhappy, you have added something to reality. It is that addition that makes you unhappy. I repeat: You have added something . . . a negative reaction in you. Reality provides the stimulus, you provide the reaction. You have added something by your reaction. And if you examine what you have added, there is always an illusion there, there’s a demand, an expectation, a craving. Always. Examples of illusions abound. But as you begin to move ahead on this path, you’ll discover them for yourself.

For instance, the illusion, the error of thinking that, by changing the exterior world, you will change. You do not change if you merely change your exterior world. If you get yourself a new job or a new spouse or a new home or a new guru or a new spirituality, that does not change you. It’s like imagining that you change your handwriting by changing your pen. Or that you change your capacity to think by changing your hat. That doesn’t change you really, but most people spend all their energies trying to rearrange their exterior world to suit their tastes. Sometimes they succeed – for about five minutes they get a little respite, but they are tense even during that respite, because life is always flowing, life-is always changing.

So if you want to live, you must have no permanent abode. You must have no place to rest your head. You have to flow with it. As the great Confucius said, “The one who would be constant in happiness must frequently change”. Flow. But we keep looking back, don’t we? We cling to things in the past and cling to things in the present. “When you set your hand to the plow, you cannot look back”. Do you want to enjoy a melody? Do you want to enjoy a symphony? Don’t hold on to a few bars of the music. Don’t hold on to a couple of notes. Let them pass, let them flow.

The whole enjoyment of a symphony lies in your readiness to allow the notes to pass. Whereas if a particular bar took your fancy and you shouted to the orchestra, “Keep playing it again and again and again”, that wouldn’t be a symphony anymore. Are you familiar with those tales of Nasr-ed-Din, the old mullah? He’s a legendary figure whom the Greeks, Turks, and Persians all claim for themselves. He would give his mystical teachings in the form of stories, generally funny stories. And the butt of the story was always old Nasr-ed-Din himself.

One day Nasr-ed-Din was strumming a guitar, playing just one note. After a while a crowd collected around him (this was in a marketplace) and one of the men sitting on the ground there said, “That’s a nice note you’re playing, Mullah, but why don’t you vary it a bit the way other musicians do”? “Those fools”, Nasr-ed-Din said, “they’re searching for the right note. I’ve found it.

By: Anthony de Mello


Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.34 clinging to illusion

Clinging to Illusion

When you cling, life is destroyed; when you hold on to anything, you cease to live. It’s all over the gospel pages. And one attains this by understanding. Understand. Understand another illusion, too, that happiness is not the same as excitement, it’s not the same as thrills. That’s another illusion, that a thrill comes from living a desire fulfilled. Desire breeds anxiety and sooner or later it brings its hangover. When you’ve suffered sufficiently, then you are ready to see it. You’re feeding yourself with thrills. This is like feeding a racehorse with delicacies. You’re giving it cakes and wine. You don’t feed a racehorse like that. It’s like feeding human beings with drugs. You don’t fill your stomach with drugs. You need good, solid, nutritious food and drink. You need to understand all this for yourself.

Another illusion is that someone else can do this for you, that some savior or guru or teacher can do this for you. Not even the greatest guru in the world can take a single step for you. You’ve got to take it yourself. St. Augustine said it so marvelously “Jesus Christ himself could do nothing for many of his hearers”. Or to repeat that lovely Arab saying “The nature of the rain is the same and yet it produces thorns in the marsh and flowers in the garden”. It is you who have to do it. No one else can help you. It is you who have to digest your food, it is you who have to understand. No one else can understand for you. It is you who have to seek. Nobody can seek for you. And if what you seek is truth, then you must do this. You can lean on no one.

There is yet another illusion, that is it important to be respectable, to be loved and appreciated, to be important. Many say we have a natural urge to be loved and appreciated, to belong. That’s false. Drop this illusion and you will find happiness. We have a natural urge to be free, a natural urge to love, but not to be loved. Sometimes in my psychotherapy sessions I encounter a very common problem – Nobody loves me; how, then, can I be happy? I explain to him or her “You mean you never have any moments when you forget you’re not loved and you let go and are happy”? Of course they have.

A woman, for example, is absorbed in a movie. It’s a comedy and she’s roaring with laughter and in that blessed moment she’s forgotten to remind herself that nobody loves her, nobody loves her, nobody loves her. She’s happy! Then she comes out of the theater and her friend whom she saw the movie with goes off with a boyfriend, leaving the woman all alone. So she starts thinking, “All my friends have boyfriends and I have no one. I’m so unhappy. Nobody loves me”!

In India, many of our poor people are starting to get transistor radios, which are quite a luxury. “Everybody has a transistor”, you hear, “but I don’t have a transistor; I’m so unhappy”. Until everyone started getting transistors, they were perfectly happy without one. That’s the way it is with you. Until somebody told you you wouldn’t be happy unless you were loved, you were perfectly happy. You can become happy not being loved, not being desired by or attractive to someone. You become happy by contact with reality. That’s what brings happiness, a moment-by-moment contact with reality. That’s where you’ll find God; that’s where you’ll find happiness. But most people are not ready to hear that.

Another illusion is that external events have the power to hurt you, that other people have the power to hurt you. They don’t. It’s you who give this power to them.

Another illusion You are all those labels that people have put on you, or that you have put on yourself. You’re not, you’re not! So you don’t have to cling to them. The day that somebody tells me I’m a genius and I take that seriously, I’m in big trouble. Can you understand why? Because now I’m going to start getting tense. I’ve got to live up to it, I’ve got to maintain it. I’ve got to find out after every lecture “Did you like the lecture? Do you still think I’m a genius”? See? So what you need to do is smash the label! Smash it, and you’re free! Don’t identify with those labels.

That’s what someone else thinks. That’s how he experienced you at that moment. Are you in fact a genius? Are you a nut? Are you a mystic? Are you crazy? What does it really matter? Provided you continue to be aware, to live life from moment to moment. How marvelously it is described in those words of the gospel “Look at the birds of the air they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns . . . Consider the lilies of the field . . . they neither toil nor spin”. That’s the real mystic speaking, the awakened person.

So why are you anxious? Can you, for all your anxieties, add a single moment to your life? Why bother about tomorrow? Is there a life after death? Will I survive after death? Why bother about tomorrow? Get into today. Someone said, “Life is something that happens to us while we’re busy making other plans”. That’s pathetic. Live in the present moment. This is one of the things you will notice happening to you as you come awake. You find yourself living in the present, tasting every moment as you live it. Another fairly good sign is when you hear the symphony one note after the other without wanting to stop it.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.35a hugging memories



Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.35b hugging memories


Hugging Memories

That brings me to another theme, another topic. But this new topic ties in very much with what I’ve been saying and with my suggestion of becoming aware of all the things we add to reality. Let’s take this one step at a time.

A Jesuit was telling me the other day how years ago he gave a talk in New York, where Puerto Ricans were very unpopular at the time because of some incident. Everybody was saying all kinds of things against them. So in his talk he said, “Let me read to you some of the things that the people in New York were saying about certain immigrants”. What he read to them was actually what people had said about the Irish, and about the Germans, and about every other wave of emigrants that had come to New York years before!

He put it very well when he said, “These people don’t bring delinquency with them; they become delinquent when they’re faced with certain situations here. We’ve got to understand them. If you want to cure the situation, it’s useless reacting from prejudice. You need understanding, not condemnation”. That is how you bring about change in yourself. Not by condemnation, not by calling yourself names, but by understanding what’s going on. Not by calling yourself a dirty old sinner. No, no, no, no!

In order to get awareness, you’ve got to see, and you can’t see if you’re prejudiced. Almost everything and every person we look at, we look at in a prejudiced way. It’s almost enough to dishearten anybody.

Like meeting a long-lost friend. “Hey, Tom”, I say, “It’s good to see you”, and I give him a big hug. Whom am I hugging, Tom or my memory of him? A living human being or a corpse? I’m assuming that he’s still the attractive guy I thought he was. I’m assuming he still fits in with the idea I have of him and with my memories and associations. So I give him a hug. Five minutes later I find that he’s changed and I have no more interest in him. I hugged the wrong person. If you want to see how true this is, listen: A religious sister from India goes out to make a retreat. Everybody in the community is saying, “Oh, we know, that’s part of her charisma; she’s always attending workshops and going to retreats; nothing will ever change her”. Now, it so happens that the sister does change at this particular workshop, or therapy group, or whatever it is.

She changes; everyone notices the difference. Everyone says, “My, you’ve really come to some insights, haven’t you”? She has, and they can see the difference in her behavior, in her body, in her face. You always do when there’s an inner change. It always registers in your face, in your eyes, in your body. Well, the sister goes back to her community, and since the community has a prejudiced, fixed idea about her, they’re going to continue to look at her through the eyes of that prejudice.

They’re the only ones who don’t see any change in her. They say, “Oh well, she seems a little more spirited, but just wait, she’ll be depressed again”. And within a few weeks she is depressed again; she’s reacting to their reaction. And they all say, “See, we told you so; she hadn’t changed”. But the tragedy is that she had, only they didn’t see it. Perception has devastating consequences in the matter of love and human relationships.

Whatever a relationship may be, it certainly entails two things clarity of perception (inasmuch as we’re capable of it; some people would dispute to what extent we can attain clarity of perception, but I don’t think anyone would dispute that it is desirable that we move toward it) and accuracy of response. You’re more likely to respond accurately when you perceive clearly. When your perception is distorted, you’re not likely to respond accurately. How can you love someone whom you do not even see? Do you really see someone you are attached to? Do you really see someone you’re afraid of and therefore dislike? We always hate what we fear.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, people say to me sometimes. But wait a minute. I hope they understand what they’re saying, because we always hate what we fear. We always want to destroy and get rid of and avoid what we fear. When you fear somebody, you dislike that person. You dislike that person insofar as you fear that person. And you don’t see that person either, because your emotion gets in the way. Now, that’s just as true when you are attracted to someone. When true love enters, you no longer like or even dislike people in the ordinary sense of the word.

You see them clearly and you respond accurately. But at this human level, your likes and dislikes and preferences and attractions, etc., continue to get in the way. So you have to be aware of your prejudices, your likes, your dislikes, your attractions. They’re all there, they come from your conditioning. How come you like things that I don’t like? Because your culture is different from mine. Your upbringing is different from mine. If I gave you some of the things to eat that I relish, you’d turn away in disgust.

There are people in certain parts of India who love dog flesh. Yet others, if they were told they were being served dog steak, would feel sick. Why? Different conditioning, different programming. Hindus would feel sick if they knew they had eaten beef, but Americans enjoy it. You ask, “But why won’t they eat beef”? For the same reason you won’t eat your pet dog. The same reason. The cow, to the Indian peasant, is what your pet dog is to you. He doesn’t want to eat it. There is a built-in cultural prejudice against it which saves an animal that’s needed so much for farming, etc.

So why do I fall in love with a person really? Why is it that I fall in love with one kind of person and not another? Because I’m conditioned. I’ve got an image, subconsciously, that this particular type of person appeals to me, attracts me. So when I meet this person, I fall head over heels in love. But have I seen her? No! I’ll see her after I marry her; that’s when the awakening comes! And that’s when love may begin.

But falling in love has nothing to do with love at all. It isn’t love, it’s desire, burning desire. You want, with all your heart, to be told by this adorable creature that you’re attractive to her. That gives you a tremendous sensation. Meanwhile, everybody else is saying, “What the hell does he see in her”? But it’s his conditioning – he’s not seeing. They say that love is blind. Believe me, there’s nothing so clear-sighted as true love, nothing. It’s the most clear-sighted thing in the world. Addiction is blind, attachments are blind.

Clinging, craving, and desire are blind. But not true love. Don’t call them love. But, of course, the word has been desecrated in most modern languages. People talk about making love and falling in love. Like the little boy who says to the little girl, “Have you ever fallen in love”? And she answers, “No, but I’ve fallen in like”.

So what are people talking about when they fall in love? The first thing we need is clarity of perception. One reason we don’t perceive people clearly is evident – our emotions get in the way, our conditioning, our likes and dislikes. We’ve got to grapple with that fact. But we’ve got to grapple with something much more fundamental – with our ideas, with our conclusions, with our concepts.

Believe it or not, every concept that was meant to help us get in touch with reality ends up by being a barrier to getting in touch with reality, because sooner or later we forget that the words are not the thing. The concept is not the same as the reality. They’re different. That’s why I said to you earlier that the final barrier to finding God is the word “God” itself and the concept of God. It gets in the way if you’re not careful. It was meant to be a help; it can be a help, but it can also be a barrier.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Getting Concrete

Every time I have a concept, it is something that I could apply to a number of individuals. We’re not talking about a concrete, particular name like Mary or John, which doesn’t have a conceptual meaning. A concept applies to any number of individuals, countless individuals. Concepts are universal. For instance, the word “leaf” could be applied to every single leaf on a tree; the same word applies to all those individual leaves. Moreover, the same word applies to all the leaves on all trees, big ones, small ones, tender ones, dried ones, yellow ones, green ones, banana leaves. So if I say to you that I saw a leaf this morning, you really don’t have an idea of what I saw.

Let’s see if you can understand that. You do have an idea of what I did not see. I did not see an animal. I did not see a dog. I did not see a human being. I did not see a shoe. So you have some kind of a vague idea of what I saw, but it isn’t particularized, it isn’t concrete. “Human being” refers not to primitive man, not to civilized man, not to grownup man, not to a child, not to a male or a female, not to this particular age or another, not to this culture or the other, but to the concept. The human being is found concrete; you never find a universal human being like your concept. So your concept points, but it is never entirely accurate; it misses uniqueness, concreteness. The concept is universal.

When I give you a concept, I give you something, and yet how little I have given you. The concept is so valuable, so useful for science. For instance, if I say that everyone here is an animal, that would be perfectly accurate from a scientific viewpoint. But we’re something more than animals. If I say that Mary Jane is an animal, that’s true; but because I’ve omitted something essential about her, it’s false; it does her an injustice. When I call a person a woman, that’s true; but there are lots of things in that person that don’t fit into the concept “woman”. She is always this particular, concrete, unique woman, who can only be experienced, not conceptualized. The concrete person I’ve got to see for myself, to experience for myself, to intuit for myself. The individual can be intuited but cannot be conceptualized.

A person is beyond the thinking mind. Many of you would probably be proud to be called Americans, as many Indians would probably be proud to be called Indians. But what is “American”, what is “Indian”? It’s a convention; it’s not part of your nature. All you’ve got is a label. You really don’t know the person. The concept always misses or omits something extremely important, something precious that is only found in reality, which is concrete uniqueness.

The great Krishnamurti put it so well when he said, “The day you teach the child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again”. How true! The first time the child sees that fluffy, alive, moving object, and you say to him, “Sparrow”, then tomorrow when the child sees another fluffy, moving object similar to it he says, “Oh, sparrows. I’ve seen sparrows. I’m bored by sparrows”.

If you don’t look at things through your concepts, you’ll never be bored. Every single thing is unique. Every sparrow is unlike every other sparrow despite the similarities. It’s a great help to have similarities, so we can abstract, so that we can have a concept. It’s a great help, from the point of view of communication, education, science. But it’s also very misleading and a great hindrance to seeing this concrete individual. If all you experience is your concept, you’re not experiencing reality, because reality is concrete. The concept is a help, to lead you to reality, but when you get there, you’ve got to intuit or experience it directly.

A second quality of a concept is that it is static whereas reality is in flux. We use the same name for Niagara Falls, but that body of water is constantly changing. You’ve got the word “river”, but the water there is constantly flowing. You’ve got one word for your “body”, but the cells in your body are constantly being renewed. Let’s suppose, for example, there is an enormous wind outside and I want the people in my country to get an idea of what an American gale or hurricane is like.

So I capture it in a cigar box and I go back home and say, “Look at this”. Naturally, it isn’t a gale anymore, is it? Once it’s captured. Or if I want you to get the feel of what the flow of a river is like and I bring it to you in a bucket. The moment I put into a bucket it has stopped flowing. The moment you put things into a concept, they stop flowing; they become static, dead. A frozen wave is not a wave. A wave is essentially movement, action; when you freeze it, it is not a wave. Concepts are always frozen. Reality flows.

Finally, if we are to believe the mystics (and it doesn’t take too much of an effort to understand this, or even believe it, but no one can see it at once), reality is whole, but words and concepts fragment reality. That is why it is so difficult to translate from one language to another, because each language cuts reality up differently. The English word “home” is impossible to translate into French or Spanish. “Casa” is not quite “home”; “home” has associations that are peculiar to the English language.

Every language has untranslatable words and expressions, because we’re cutting reality up and adding something or subtracting something and usage keeps changing. Reality is a whole and we cut it up to make concepts and we use words to indicate different parts. If you had never seen an animal in your life, for example, and one day you found a tail — just a tail — and somebody told you, “That’s a tail”, would you have any idea of what it was if you had no idea what an animal was?

Ideas actually fragment the vision, intuition, or experience of reality as a whole. This is what the mystics are perpetually telling us. Words cannot give you reality. They only point, they only indicate. You use them as pointers to get to reality. But once you get there, your concepts are useless. A Hindu priest once had a dispute with a philosopher who claimed that the final barrier to God was the word “God”, the concept of God.

The priest was quite shocked by this, but the philosopher said, “The ass that you mount and that you use to travel to a house is not the means by which you enter the house. You use the concept to get there; then you dismount, you go beyond it”. You don’t need to be a mystic to understand that reality is something that cannot be captured by words or concepts. To know reality you have to know beyond knowing.

Do those words ring a bell? Those of you who are familiar with The Cloud of Unknowing would recognize the expression. Poets, painters, mystics, and the great philosophers all have intimations of its truth. Let’s suppose that one day I’m watching a tree. Until now, every time I saw a tree, I said, “Well, it’s a tree”, But today when I’m looking at the tree, I don’t see a tree. At least I don’t see what I’m accustomed to seeing. I see something with the freshness of a child’s vision. I have no word for it. I see something unique, whole, flowing, not fragmented. And I’m in awe. If you were to ask me, “What did you see”? what do you think I’d answer? I have no word for it. There is no word for reality. Because as soon as I put a word to it, we’re back into concepts again.

And if I cannot express this reality that is visible to my senses, how does one express what cannot be seen by the eye or heard by the ear? How does one find a word for the reality of God? Are you beginning to understand what Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, and all the rest were saying and what the Church teaches constantly when she says that God is mystery, is unintelligible to the human mind?

The great Karl Rahner, in one of his last letters, wrote to a young German drug addict who had asked him for help. The addict had said, “You theologians talk about God, but how could this God be relevant in my life? How could this God get me off drugs? Rahner said to him, “I must confess to you in all honesty that for me God is and has always been absolute mystery. I do not understand what God is; no one can. We have intimations, inklings; we make faltering, inadequate attempts to put mystery into words. But there is no word for it, no sentence for it”. And talking to a group of theologians in London, Rahner said, “The task of the theologian is to explain everything through God, and to explain God as unexplainable”. Unexplainable mystery. One does not know, one cannot say. One says, “Ah. . . Ah . . “.

Words are pointers, they’re not descriptions. Tragically, people fall into idolatry because they think that where God is concerned, the word is the thing. How could you get so crazy? Can you be crazier than that? Even where human beings are concerned, or trees and leaves and animals, the word is not the thing. And you would say that, where God is concerned, the word is one thing? What are you talking about? An internationally famous scripture scholar attended this course in San Francisco, and he said to me, “My God, after listening to you, I understand that I’ve been an idol worshipper all my life!” He said this openly. “It never struck me that I had been an idol worshipper. My idol was not made of wood or metal; it was a mental idol”. These are the more dangerous idol worshippers. They use a very subtle substance, the mind, to produce their God.

What I’m leading you to is the following awareness of reality around you. Awareness means to watch, to observe what is going on within you and around you. “Going on” is pretty accurate Trees, grass, flowers, animals, rock, all of reality is moving. One observes it, one watches it. How essential it is for the human being not just to observe himself or herself, but to watch all of reality. Are you imprisoned by your concepts? Do you want to break out of your prison? Then look; observe; spend hours observing. Watching what? Anything.

The faces of people, the shapes of trees, a bird in flight, a pile of stones, watch the grass grow. Get in touch with things, look at them. Hopefully you will then break out of these rigid patterns we have all developed, out of what our thoughts and our words have imposed on us. Hopefully we will see. What will we see? This thing that we choose to call reality, whatever is beyond words and concepts. This is a spiritual exercise connected with spirituality connected with breaking out of your cage, out of the imprisonment of the concepts and words.

How sad if we pass through life and never see it with the eyes of a child. This doesn’t mean you should drop your concepts totally; they’re very precious. Though we begin without them, concepts have a very positive function. Thanks to them we develop our intelligence. We’re invited, not to become children, but to become like children. We do have to fall from a stage of innocence and be thrown out of paradise; we do have to develop an “I” and a “me” through these concepts. But then we need to return to paradise.

We need to be redeemed again. We need to put off the old man, the old nature, the conditioned self, and return to the state of the child but without being a child. When we start off in life, we look at reality with wonder, but it isn’t the intelligent wonder of the mystics; it’s the formless wonder of the child. Then wonder dies and is replaced by boredom, as we develop language and words and concepts. Then hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll return to wonder again.

By: Anthony de Mello
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When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.36a getting concrete





..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.37a at a loss for words




At A Loss for Words

Dag Hammarskjold, the former UN Secretary-General, put it so beautifully “God does not die on the day we cease to believe in a personal deity. But we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance of wonder renewed daily, the source of which is beyond all reason”. We don’t have to quarrel about a word, because “God” is only a word, a concept. One never quarrels about reality; we only quarrel about opinions, about concepts, about judgments. Drop your concepts, drop your opinions, drop your prejudices, drop your judgments, and you will see that.

“Quia de deo scire non possumus quid sit, sed quid non sit, non possumus considerare de deo, quomodo sit sed quomodo non sit”. This is St. Thomas Aquinas’ introduction to his whole Summa Theologica “Since we cannot know what God is, but only what God is not, we cannot consider how God is but only how He is not”. I have already mentioned Thomas’ commentary on Boethius’ De Sancta Trinitate, where he says that the loftiest degree of the knowledge of God is to know God as the unknown, tamquam ignotum. And in his Questio Disputata de Potentia Dei, Thomas says, “This is what is ultimate in the human knowledge of God – to know that we do not know God”. This gentleman was considered the prince of theologians. He was a mystic, and is a canonized saint today. We’re standing on pretty good ground.

In India, we have a Sanskrit saying for this kind of thing “neti, neti”. It means “not that, not that”. Thomas’ own method was referred to as the via negativa, the negative way. C. S. Lewis wrote a diary while his wife was dying. It’s called A Grief Observed. He had married an American woman whom he loved dearly. He told his friends, “God gave me in my sixties what He denied me in my twenties”. He hardly had married her when she died a painful death of cancer. Lewis said that his whole faith crumbled, like a house of cards. Here he was the great Christian apologist, but when disaster struck home, he asked himself, “Is God a loving Father or is God the great vivisectionist”?

There’s pretty good evidence for both! I remember that when my own mother got cancer, my sister said to me, “Tony, why did God allow this to happen to Mother”? I said to her, “My dear, last year a million people died of starvation in China because of the drought, and you never raised a question”. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is to be awakened to reality, for calamity to strike, for then we come to faith, as C. S. Lewis did. He said that he never had any doubts before about people surviving death, but when his wife died, he was no longer certain. Why? Because it was so important to him that she be living. Lewis, as you know, is the master of comparisons and analogies.

He says, “It’s like a rope. Someone says to you, ‘Would this bear the weight of a hundred twenty pounds?’ You answer, ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, we’re going to let down your best friend on this rope.’ Then you say, ‘Wait a minute, let me test that rope again.’ You’re not so sure now”. Lewis also said in his diary that we cannot know anything about God and even our questions about God are absurd. Why? It’s as though a person born blind asks you, “The color green, is it hot or cold”? Neti, neti, not that. “Is it long or is it short”? Not that. “Is it sweet or is it sour”? Not that. “Is it round or oval or square”? Not that, not that.

The blind person has no words, no concepts, for a color of which he has no idea, no intuition, no experience. You can only speak to him in analogies. No matter what he asks, you can only say, “Not that”. C.S. Lewis says somewhere that it’s like asking how many minutes are in the color yellow. Everybody could be taking the question very seriously, discussing it, fighting about it. One person suggests there are twenty-five carrots in the color yellow, the other person says, “No, seventeen potatoes”, and they’re suddenly fighting. Not that, not that!

This is what is ultimate in our human knowledge of God, to know that we do not know. Our great tragedy is that we know too much. We think we know, that is our tragedy; so we never discover. In fact, Thomas Aquinas (he’s not only a theologian but also a great philosopher) says repeatedly, “All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly”.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.38a cultural conditioning




Cultural Conditioning

Something more about words.
I said to you earlier that words are limited. There is more I have to add. There are some words that correspond to nothing. For instance, I’m an Indian. Now, let’s suppose that I’m a prisoner of war in Pakistan, and they say to me, “Well, today we’re going to take you to the frontier, and you’re going to take a look at your country”.

So they bring me to the frontier, and I look across the border, and I think, “Oh, my country, my beautiful country. I see villages and trees and hills. This is my own, my native land!” After a while one of the guards says, “Excuse me, we’ve made a mistake here. We have to move up another ten miles”. What was I reacting to? Nothing. I kept focusing on a word, India. But trees are not India; trees are trees.

In fact, there are no frontiers or boundaries. They were put there by the human mind; generally by stupid, avaricious politicians. My country was one country once upon a time; it’s four now. If we don’t watch out it might be six. Then we’ll have six flags, six armies. That’s why you’ll never catch me saluting a flag. I abhor all national flags because they are idols. What are we saluting? I salute humanity, not a flag with an army around it.

Flags are in the heads of people. In any case, there are thousands of words in our vocabulary that do not correspond to reality at all. But do they trigger emotions in us! So we begin to see things that are not there. We actually see Indian mountains when they don’t exist, and we actually see Indian people who also don’t exist. Your American conditioning exists. My Indian conditioning exists.

But that’s not a very happy thing. Nowadays, in Third World countries, we talk a great deal about “inculturation”. What is this thing called “culture”? I’m not very happy with the word. Does it mean you’d like to do something because you were conditioned to do it? That you’d like to feel something because you were conditioned to feel it? Isn’t that being mechanical? Imagine an American baby that is adopted by a Russian couple and taken to Russia. It has no notion that it was born American. It’s brought up talking Russian; it lives and dies for Mother Russia; it hates Americans.

The child is stamped with his own culture; it’s steeped in its own literature. It looks at the world through the eyes of its culture. Now, if you want to wear your culture the way you wear your clothes, that’s fine. The Indian woman would wear a sari and the American woman would wear something else, the Japanese woman would wear her kimono. But nobody identifies herself with the clothes. But you do want to wear your culture more intently. You become proud of your culture. They teach you to be proud of it.

Let me put this as forcefully as possible. There’s this Jesuit friend of mine who said to me, “Anytime I see a beggar or a poor person, I cannot not give this person alms. I got that from my mother”. His mother would offer a meal to any poor person who passed by. I said to him, “Joe, what you have is not a virtue; what you have is a compulsion, a good one from the point of view of the beggar, but a compulsion nonetheless”. I remember another Jesuit who said to us once at an intimate gathering of the men of our Jesuit province in Bombay, “I’m eighty years old; I’ve been a Jesuit for sixty-five years.

I have never once missed my hour of meditation — never once”. Now, that could be very admirable, or it could also be a compulsion. No great merit in it if it’s mechanical. The beauty of an action comes not from its having become a habit but from its sensitivity, consciousness, clarity of perception, and accuracy of response. I can say yes to one beggar and no to another. I am not compelled by any conditioning or programming from my past experiences or from my culture. Nobody has stamped anything on me, or if they have, I’m no longer reacting on the basis of that.

If you had a bad experience with an American or were bitten by a dog or had a bad experience with a certain type of food, for the rest of your life you’d be influenced by that experience. And that’s bad! You need to be liberated from that. Don’t carry over experiences from the past. In fact, don’t carry over good experiences from the past either. Learn what it means to experience something fully, then drop it and move on to the next moment, uninfluenced by the previous one. You’d be traveling with such little baggage that you could pass through the eye of a needle.

You’d know what eternal is, because eternal life is now, in the timeless now. Only thus will you enter into eternal life. But how many things we carry along with us. We never set about the task of freeing ourselves, of dropping the baggage, of being ourselves. I’m sorry to say that everywhere I go I find Muslims who use their religion, their worship, and their Koran to distract themselves from this task. And the same applies to Hindus and Christians.

Can you imagine the human being who is no longer influenced by words? You can give him any number of words and he’ll still give you a fair deal. You can say, “I’m Cardinal Archbishop So-and-so”,
but he’ll still give you a fair deal; he’ll see you as you are. He’s uninfluenced by the label.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.39a filtered reality




Filtered Reality

I want to say one more thing about our perception of reality. Let me put it in the form of an analogy. The President of the United States has to get feedback from the citizens. The Pope in Rome has to get feedback from the whole Church. There are literally millions of items that could be fed to them, but they could hardly take all of them in, much less digest them. So they have people whom they trust to make abstracts, summarize things, monitor, filter; in the end, some of it gets to their desk. Now, this is what’s happening to us. From every pore or living cell of our bodies and from all our senses we are getting feedback from reality. But we are filtering things out constantly. Who’s doing the filtering? Our conditioning? Our culture? Our programming?

The way we were taught to see things and to experience them? Even our language can be a filter. There is so much filtering going on that sometimes you won’t see things that are there. You only have to look at a paranoid person who’s always feeling threatened by something that isn’t there, who’s constantly interpreting reality in terms of certain experiences of the past or certain conditioning that he or she has had.

But there’s another demon, too, who’s doing the filtering. It’s called attachment, desire, craving. The root of sorrow is craving. Craving distorts and destroys perception. Fears and desires haunt us. Samuel Johnson said, “The knowledge that he is to swing from a scaffold within a week wonderfully concentrates a man’s mind”. You blot out everything else and concentrate only on the fear, or desire, or craving. In many ways we were drugged when we were young.

We were brought up to need people. For what? For acceptance, approval, appreciation, applause – for what they called success. Those are words that do not correspond to reality. They are conventions, things that are invented, but we don’t realize that they don’t correspond to reality. What is success? It is what one group decided is a good thing. Another group will decide the same thing is bad. What is good in Washington might be considered bad in a Carthusian monastery. Success in a political circle might be considered failure in some other circles. These are conventions.

But we treat them like realities, don’t we? When we were young, we were programmed to unhappiness. They taught us that in order to be happy you need money, success, a beautiful or handsome partner in life, a good job, friendship, spirituality, God – you name it. Unless you get these things, you’re not going to be happy, we were told. Now, that is what I call an attachment. An attachment is a belief that without something you are not going to be happy. Once you get convinced of that – and it gets into our subconscious, it gets stamped into the roots of our being – you are finished. “How could I be happy unless I have good health”? you say.

But I’ll tell you something. I have met people dying of cancer who were happy. But how could they be happy if they knew they were going to die? But they were. “How could I be happy if I don’t have money”? One person has a million dollars in the bank, and he feels insecure; the other person has practically no money, but he doesn’t seem to feel any insecurity at all. He was programmed differently, that’s all. Useless to exhort the first person about what to do; he needs understanding. Exhortations are of no great help. You need to understand that you’ve been programmed; it’s a false belief. See it as false, see it as a fantasy.

What are people doing all through their lives? They’re busy fighting; fight, fight, fight. That’s what they call survival. When the average American says he or she is making a living, it isn’t a living they’re making, oh no! They have much more than they need to live. Come to my country and you’ll see that. You don’t need all those cars to live. You don’t need a television set to live. You don’t need makeup to live. You don’t need all those clothes to live. But try to convince the average American of this. They’ve been brainwashed; they’ve been programmed.

So they work and strive to get the desired object that will make them happy. Listen to this pathetic story — your story, my story, everybody’s story: “Until I get this object (money, friendship, anything) I’m not going to be happy; I’ve got to strive to get it and then when I’ve got it, I’ve got to strive to keep it. I get a temporary thrill. Oh, I’m so thrilled, I’ve got it”! But how long does that last? A few minutes, a few days at the most. When you get your brand-new car, how long does the thrill last? Until your next attachment is threatened!

The truth about a thrill is that I get tired of it after a while. They told me prayer was the big thing; they told me God was the big thing; they told me friendship was the big thing. And not knowing what prayer really was or not knowing what God really was, not knowing what friendship really was, we made much out of them. But after a while we got bored with them – bored with prayer, with God, with friendship. Isn’t that pathetic? And there’s no way out, there’s simply no way out. It’s the only model we were given – to be happy. We weren’t given any other model.

Our culture, our society, and, I’m sorry to say, even our religion gave us no other model. You’ve been appointed a cardinal. What a great honor that is! Honor? Did you say honor? You used the wrong word. Now others are going to aspire to it. You lapsed into what the gospels call “the world” and you’re going to lose your soul. The world, power, prestige, winning, success, honor, etc., are nonexistent things. You gain the world but you lose your soul. Your whole life has been empty and soulless. There is nothing there. There’s only one way out and that is to get de-programmed! How do you do that? You become aware of the programming.

You cannot change by an effort of the will; you cannot change through ideals; you cannot change through building up new habits. Your behavior may change, but you don’t. You only change through awareness and understanding. When you see a stone as a stone and a scrap of paper as a scrap of paper, you don’t think that the stone is a precious diamond anymore and you don’t think that that scrap of paper is a check for a billion dollars. When you see that, you change. There’s no violence anymore in your attempt to change yourself. Otherwise, what you call change is simply moving the furniture around. Your behavior is changed, but not you.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.40a detachment





Detachment

The only way to change is by changing your understanding. But what does it mean to understand? How do we go about it? Consider how we’re enslaved by various attachments; we’re striving to rearrange the world so that we can keep these attachments, because the world is a constant threat to them. I fear that a friend may stop loving me; he or she may turn to somebody else.

I have to keep making myself attractive because I have to get this other person. Somebody brainwashed me into thinking I need his or her love. But I really don’t. I don’t need anybody’s love; I just need to get in touch with reality. I need to break out of this prison of mine, this programming, this conditioning, these false beliefs, these fantasies; I need to break out into reality. Reality is lovely; it is an absolute delight.

Eternal life is now. We’re surrounded by it, like the fish in the ocean, but we have no notion about it at all. We’re too distracted with this attachment. Temporarily, the world rearranges itself to suit our attachment, so we say, “Yeah, great! My team won”! But hang on; it’ll change; you’ll be depressed tomorrow. Why do we keep doing this?

Do this little exercise for a few minutes. Think of something or someone you are attached to; in other words, something or someone without which or without whom you think you are not going to be happy. It could be your job, your career, your profession, your friend, your money, whatever. And say to this object or person, “I really do not need you to be happy. I’m only deluding myself in the belief that without you I will not be happy. But I really don’t need you for my happiness; I can be happy without you. You are not my happiness, you are not my joy”. If your attachment is a person, he or she is not going to be very happy to hear you say this, but go ahead anyway. You can say it in the secrecy of your heart. In any case, you’ll be making contact with the truth; you’ll be smashing through a fantasy. Happiness is a state of non-illusion, of dropping the illusion.

Or you could try another exercise. Think of a time when you were heartbroken and thought you would never be happy again (your husband died, your wife died, your best friend deserted you, you lost your money). What happened? Time went on, and if you managed to pick up another attachment or managed to find somebody else you were attracted to or something else you were attracted to, what happened to the old attachment?

You didn’t really need it to be happy, did you? That should have taught you, but we never learn. We’re programmed; we’re conditioned. How liberating it is not to depend emotionally on anything. If you could get one second’s experience of that, you’d be breaking through your prison and getting a glimpse of the sky. Someday, maybe, you will even fly.

I was afraid to say this, but I talked to God, and I told Him that I don’t need Him. My initial reaction was “This is so contrary to everything that I’ve been brought up with”. Now, some people want to make an exception of their attachment to God. They say, “If God is the God that I think He ought to be, He’s not going to like it when I give up my attachment to Him”! All right, if you think that unless you get God you’re not going to be happy, then this “God” you’re thinking of has nothing to do with the real God. You’re thinking of a dream state; you’re thinking of your concept. Sometimes you have to get rid of “God” in order to find God. Lots of mystics tell us that.

We’ve been so blinded by everything that we have not discovered the basic truth that attachments hurt rather than help relationships. I remember how frightened I was to say to an intimate friend of mine, “I really don’t need you. I can be perfectly happy without you. And by telling you this I find I can enjoy your company thoroughly – no more anxieties, no more jealousies, no more possessiveness, no more clinging. It is a delight to be with you when I am enjoying you on a non-clinging basis.

You’re free; so am I”. But to many of you I’m sure this is like talking a foreign language. It took me many, many months to fully understand this, and mind you, I’m a Jesuit, whose spiritual exercises are all about exactly this, although I missed the point because my culture and my society in general had taught me to view people in terms of my attachments. I’m quite amused, sometimes, to see even seemingly objective people like therapists and spiritual directors say of someone, “He’s a great guy, great guy, I really like him”. I find out later that it’s because he likes me that I like him.

I look into myself, and I find the same thing coming up now and again. If you’re attached to appreciation and praise, you’re going to view people in terms of their threat to your attachment or their fostering of your attachment. If you’re a politician and you want to be elected, how do you think you’re going to look at people, how will your interest in people be guided? You will be concerned for the person who’s going to get you the vote. If what you’re interested in is sex, how do you think you’re going to look at men and women?

If you’re attached to power, that colors your view of human beings. An attachment destroys your capacity to love. What is love? Love is sensitivity, love is consciousness. To give you an example I’m listening to a symphony, but if all I hear is the sound of the drums I don’t hear the symphony. What is a loving heart? A loving heart is sensitive to the whole of life, to all persons; a loving heart doesn’t harden itself to any person or thing.

But the moment you become attached in my sense of the word, then you’re blocking out many other things. You’ve got eyes only for the object of your attachment; you’ve got ears only for the drums; the heart has hardened. Moreover, it’s blinded, because it no longer sees the object of its attachment objectively. Love entails clarity of perception, objectivity; there is nothing so clear-sighted as love.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.41&42 addictive love & more words


Addictive Love

The heart in love remains soft and sensitive. But when you’re hell-bent on getting this or the other thing, you become ruthless, hard, and insensitive. How can you love people when you need people? You can only use them. If I need you to make me happy, I’ve got to use you, I’ve got to manipulate you, I’ve got to find ways and means of winning you. I cannot let you be free. I can only love people when I have emptied my life of people. When I die to the need for people, then I’m right in the desert.

In the beginning it feels awful, it feels lonely, but if you can take it for a while, you’ll suddenly discover that it isn’t lonely at all. It is solitude, it is aloneness, and the desert begins to flower. Then at last you’ll know what love is, what God is, what reality is. But in the beginning giving up the drug can be tough, unless you have a very keen understanding or unless you have suffered enough. It’s a great thing to have suffered. Only then can you get sick of it. You can make use of suffering to end suffering.

Most people simply go on suffering. That explains the conflict I sometimes have between the role of spiritual director and that of therapist. A therapist says, “Let’s ease the suffering”. The spiritual director says, “Let her suffer, she’ll get sick of this way of relating to people and she’ll finally decide to break out of this prison of emotional dependence on others”. Shall I offer a palliative or remove a cancer? It’s not easy to decide.

A person slams a book on the table in disgust. Let him keep slamming it on the table. Don’t pick up the book for him and tell him it’s all right. Spirituality is awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness. When your mother got angry with you, she didn’t say there was something wrong with her, she said there was something wrong with you; otherwise she wouldn’t have been angry.

Well, I made the great discovery that if you are angry, Mother, there’s something wrong with you. So you’d better cope with your anger. Stay with it and cope with it. It’s not mine. Whether there’s something wrong with me or not, I’ll examine that independently of your anger. I’m not going to be influenced by your anger. The funny thing is that when I can do this without feeling any negativity toward another, I can be quite objective about myself, too. Only a very aware person can refuse to pick up the guilt and anger, can say, “You’re having a tantrum. Too bad. I don’t feel the slightest desire to rescue you anymore, and I refuse to feel guilty”. I’m not going to hate myself for anything I’ve done. That’s what guilt is.

I’m not going to give myself a bad feeling and whip myself for anything I have done, either right or wrong. I’m ready to analyze it, to watch it, and say, “Well, if I did wrong, it was in unawareness”. Nobody does wrong in awareness. That’s why theologians tell us very beautifully that Jesus could do no wrong. That makes very good sense to me, because the enlightened person can do no wrong. The enlightened person is free. Jesus was free and because he was free, he couldn’t do any wrong. But since you can do wrong, you’re not free.

By: Anthony de Mello


More Words

Mark Twain put it very nicely when he said, “It was so cold that if the thermometer had been an inch longer, we would have frozen to death”. We do freeze to death on words. It’s not the cold outside that matters, but the thermometer. It’s not reality that matters, but what you’re saying to yourself about it. I was told a lovely story about a farmer in Finland. When they were drawing up the Russian-Finnish border, the farmer had to decide whether he wanted to be in Russia or Finland. After a long time he said he wanted to be in Finland, but he didn’t want to offend the Russian officials.. These came to him and wanted to know why he wanted to be in Finland. The farmer replied, “It has always been my desire to live in Mother Russia, but at my age I wouldn’t be able to survive another Russian winter”.

Russia and Finland are only words, concepts, but not for human beings, not for crazy human beings. We’re almost never looking at reality. A guru was once attempting to explain to a crowd how human beings react to words, feed on words, live on words, rather than on reality. One of the men stood up and protested; he said, “I don’t agree that words have all that much effect on us”. The guru said, “Sit down, you son of a bitch”. The man went livid with rage and said, “You call yourself an enlightened person, a guru, a master, but you ought to be ashamed of yourself”. The guru then said, “Pardon me, sir, I was carried away. I really beg your pardon; that was a lapse; I’m sorry”. The man finally calmed down. Then the guru said, “It took just a few words to get a whole tempest going within you; and it took just a few words to calm you down, didn’t it”? Words, words, words, words, how imprisoning they are if they’re not used properly.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.43 hidden agendas


Hidden Agendas

There is a difference between knowledge and awareness, between information and awareness. I just said to you that one cannot do evil in awareness. But one can do evil in knowledge or information, when you know something is bad. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. I would translate that as “They’re not aware of what they are doing”. Paul says he is the greatest of sinners because he persecuted the Church of Christ. But, he adds, I did it in unawareness.

Or if they had been aware that they were crucifying the Lord of Glory, they would never have done so. Or “The time will come when they will persecute you and they think they are doing a service to God”. They aren’t aware. They’re caught up in information and knowledge. Thomas Aquinas puts it nicely when he says, “Every time someone sins, they’re sinning under the guise of good”. They’re blinding themselves; they’re seeing something as good even though they know it is bad; they’re rationalizing because they’re seeking something under the pretext of good.

Someone gave me two situations in which she found it difficult to be aware. She was in a service industry where many people were lined up, many phones were ringing, and she was alone and there were distractions coming from a lot of uptight, angry people. She found it extremely difficult to maintain serenity and calm. The other situation was when she was driving in traffic, with horns blowing and people shouting four-letter words. She asked me whether eventually that nervousness would dissipate and she could remain at peace.

Did you pick up the attachment there? Peace. Her attachment to peace and calm. She was saying, “Unless I’m peaceful, I won’t be happy”. Did it ever occur to you that you could be happy in tensions? Before enlightenment, I used to be depressed, after enlightenment, I continue to be depressed. You don’t make a goal out of relaxation and sensitivity. Have you ever heard of people who get tense trying to relax? If one is tense, one simply observes one’s tension. You will never understand yourself if you seek to change yourself.

The harder you try to change yourself, the worse it gets. You are called upon to be aware. Get the feel of that jangling telephone; get the feel of jarred nerves; get the sensation of the steering wheel in the car. In other words, come to reality, and let tension or the calmness take care of itself. As a matter of fact, you will have to let them take care of themselves because you’ll be too preoccupied with getting in touch with reality. Step by step, let whatever happens happen. Real change will come when it is brought about, not by your ego, but by reality. Awareness releases reality to change you.

In awareness you change, but you’ve got to experience it. At this point you’re just taking my word for it. Perhaps also you’ve got a plan to become aware. Your ego, in its own cunning way, is trying to push you into awareness. Watch it! You’ll meet with resistance; there will be trouble. When someone is anxious about being aware all the time, you can spot the mild anxiety. They want to be awake, to find out if they’re really awake or not.

That’s part of asceticism, not awareness. It sounds strange in a culture where we’ve been trained to achieve goals, to get somewhere, but in fact there’s nowhere to go because you’re there already. The Japanese have a nice way of putting it “The day you cease to travel, you will have arrived”. Your attitude should be “I want to be aware, I want to be in touch with whatever is and let whatever happens happen; if I’m awake, fine, and if I’m asleep, fine”. The moment you make a goal out of it and attempt to get it, you’re seeking ego glorification, ego promotion.

You want the good feeling that you’ve made it. When you do “make it”, you won’t know. Your left hand won’t know what your right hand is doing. “Lord, when did we do this? We had no awareness”. Charity is never so lovely as when one has lost consciousness that one is practicing charity. “You mean I helped you? I was enjoying myself I was just doing my dance. It helped you, that’s wonderful. Congratulations to you. No credit to me”.

When you attain, when you are aware, increasingly you will not be bothered about labels like “awake” or “asleep”. One of my difficulties here is to arouse your curiosity but not your spiritual greed. Let’s come awake, it’s going to be wonderful. After a while, it doesn’t matter; one is aware, because one lives. The unaware life is not worth living. And you will leave pain to take care of itself.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.44 giving in



Giving In

The harder you try to change, the worse it can get. Does this mean that a certain degree of passivity is all right? Yes, the more you resist something, the greater power you give to it. That’s the meaning, I think, of Jesus’ words: “When someone strikes you on the right cheek, offer him your left as well”. You always empower the demons you fight. That’s very Oriental. But if you flow with the enemy, you overcome the enemy.

How does one cope with evil? Not by fighting it but by understanding it. In understanding, it disappears. How does one cope with darkness? Not with one’s fist. You don’t chase darkness out of the room with a broom, you turn on a light. The more you fight darkness, the more real it becomes to you, and the more you exhaust yourself. But when you turn on the light of awareness, it melts.

Say this scrap of paper is a billion-dollar check. Ah, I must renounce it, the gospel says, I must give it up if I want eternal life. Are you going to substitute one greed – a spiritual greed – for the other greed? Before, you had a worldly ego and now you’ve got a spiritual ego, but you’ve got an ego all the same, a refined one and one more difficult to cope with. When you renounce something, you’re tied to it. But if instead of renouncing it, I look at it and say, “Hey, this isn’t a billion-dollar check, this is a scrap of paper”, there is nothing to fight, nothing to renounce.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.45a assorted landmines




Assorted Landmines

In my country, lots of men grow up with the belief that women are cattle. “I married her,” they say. “She’s my possession”. Are these men to blame? Get ready for a shock: They aren’t. Just as many Americans are not to blame for the way they view Russians. Their glasses or perceptions simply have been dyed a certain color, and there they are; that’s the color through which they look at the world. What does it take to make them real, to make them aware that they’re looking at the world through colored glasses? There is no salvation till they have seen their basic prejudice.

As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life. But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a formula; meaning is something that makes sense to the mind. Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made. Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.

I don’t say that adoration isn’t important, but I do say that doubt is infinitely more important than adoration. Everywhere people are searching for objects to adore, but I don’t find people awake enough in their attitudes and convictions. How happy we would be if terrorists would adore their ideology less and question more. However, we don’t like to apply that to ourselves; we think we’re all right and the terrorists are wrong. But a terrorist to you is a martyr to the other side.

Loneliness is when you’re missing people, aloneness is when you’re enjoying yourself. Remember that quip of George Bernard Shaw. He was at one of those awful cocktail parties, where nothing gets said. Someone asked him if he was enjoying himself. He answered, “It’s the only thing I am enjoying here”. You never enjoy others when you are enslaved to them. Community is not formed by a set of slaves, by people demanding that other people make them happy. Community is formed by emperors and princesses.

You’re an emperor, not a beggar; you’re a princess, not a beggar. There’s no begging bowl in a true community. There’s no clinging, no anxiety, no fear, no hangover, no possessiveness, no demands. Free people form community, not slaves. This is such a simple truth, but it has been drowned out by a whole culture, including religious culture. Religious culture can be very manipulative if you don’t watch out.

Some people see awareness as a high point, a plateau, beyond experiencing every moment as it is. That’s making a goal out of awareness. But with true awareness there’s nowhere to go, nothing to achieve. How do we get to this awareness? Through awareness. When people say they really want to experience every moment, they’re really talking awareness, except for that “wanting”. You don’t want to experience awareness; you do or you don’t.

A friend of mine has just gone to Ireland. He told me that though he’s an American citizen he’s entitled to an Irish passport and was getting one because he is scared to travel abroad on an American passport. If terrorists walk in and say, “Let me see your passport,” he wants to be able to say, “I’m Irish”. But when people sit next to him on the plane, they don’t want to see labels; they want to taste and experience this person, as he really is. How many people spend their lives not eating food but eating the menu? A menu is only an indication of something that’s available. You want to eat the steak, not the words.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.46 the death of me


The Death of Me

Can one be fully human without experiencing tragedy? The only tragedy there is in the world is ignorance; all evil comes from that. The only tragedy there is in the world is unwakefulness and unawareness. From them comes fear, and from fear comes everything else, but death is not a tragedy at all. Dying is wonderful; it’s only horrible to people who have never understood life. It’s only when you’re afraid of life that you fear death.

It’s only dead people who fear death. But people who are alive have no fear of death. One of your American authors put it so well. He said awakening is the death of your belief in injustice and tragedy. The end of the world for a caterpillar is a butterfly for the master. Death is resurrection. We’re talking not about some resurrection that will happen but about one that is happening right now. If you would die to the past, if you would die to every minute, you would be the person who is fully alive, because a fully alive person is one who is full of death.

We’re always dying to things. We’re always shedding everything in order to be fully alive and to be resurrected at every moment. The mystics, saints, and others make great efforts to wake people up. If they don’t wake up, they’re always going to have these other minor ills like hunger, wars, and violence. The greatest evil is sleeping people, ignorant people.

A Jesuit once wrote a note to Father Arrupe, his superior general, asking him about the relative value of communism, socialism, and capitalism. Father Arrupe gave him a lovely reply. He said, “A system is about as good or as bad as the people who use it”. People with golden hearts would make capitalism or communism or socialism work beautifully.

Don’t ask the world to change – you change first. Then you’ll get a good enough look at the world so that you’ll be able to change whatever you think ought to be changed. Take the obstruction out of your own eye. If you don’t, you have lost the right to change anyone or anything.

Till you are aware of yourself, you have no right to interfere with anyone else or with the world. Now, the danger of attempting to change others or change things when you yourself are not aware is that you may be changing things for your own convenience, your pride, your dogmatic convictions and beliefs, or just to relieve your negative feelings. I have negative feelings, so you better change in such a way that I’ll feel good.

First, cope with your negative feelings so that when you move out to change others, you’re not coming from hate or negativity but from love. It may seem strange, too, that people can be very hard on others and still be very loving. The surgeon can be hard on a patient and yet loving. Love can be very hard indeed.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.47 insight and understanding


Insight and Understanding

But what does self-change entail? I’ve said it in so many words, over and over, but now I’m going to break it down into little segments. First, insight. Not effort, not cultivating habits, not having an ideal. Ideals do a lot of damage. The whole time you’re focusing on what should be instead of focusing on what is. And so you’re imposing what should be on a present reality, never having understood what present reality is. Let me give you an example of insight from my own experience in counseling.

A priest comes to me and says he’s lazy; he wants to be more industrious, more active, but he is lazy. I ask him what “lazy” means. In the old days I would have said to him, “Let’s see, why don’t you make a list of things you want to do every day, and then every night you check them off, and it will give you a good feeling; build up habit that way”. Or I might say to him, “Who is your ideal, your patron saint”? And if he says St. Francis Xavier, I would tell him, “See how much Xavier worked. You must meditate on him and that will get you moving”. That’s one way of going about it, but, I’m sorry to say, it’s superficial.

Making him use his willpower, effort, doesn’t last very long. His behavior may change, but he does not. So I now move in the other direction. I say to him, “Lazy, what’s that? There are a million types of laziness. Let’s hear what your type of laziness is. Describe what you mean by lazy”? He says, “Well, I never get anything done. I don’t feel like doing anything”. I ask, “You mean right from the moment you get up in the morning”? “Yes”, he answers. “I wake up in the morning and there’s nothing worth getting up for”. “You’re depressed, then”? I ask. “You could call it that”, he says. “I have sort of withdrawn”. “Have you always been like this”? I ask. “Well, not always. When I was younger, I was more active. When I was in the seminary, I was full of life”. “So when did this begin”? “Oh, about three or four years ago”. I ask him if anything happened then.

He thinks a while. I say, “If you have to think so much, nothing very special could have happened four years ago. How about the year before that”? He says, “Well, I was ordained that year”. “Anything happen in your ordination year”? I ask. “There was one little thing, the final examination in theology; I failed it. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I’ve gotten over it. The bishop was planning to send me to Rome, to eventually teach in the seminary.

I rather liked the idea, but since I failed the examination, he changed his mind and sent me to this parish. Actually, there was some injustice because. . . Now he’s getting worked up; there’s anger there that he hasn’t gotten over. He’s got to work through that disappointment. It’s useless to preach him a sermon. It’s useless to give him an idea. We’ve got to get him to face his anger and disappointment and to get some insight into all of that. When he’s able to work through that, he’s back into life again. If I gave him an exhortation and told him how hard his married brothers and sisters work, that would merely make him feel guilty. He doesn’t have the self-insight which is going to heal him. So that’s the first thing.

There’s another great task, understanding. Did you really think this was going to make you happy? You just assumed it was going to make you happy. Why did you want to teach in the seminary? Because you wanted to be happy. You thought that being a professor, having a certain status and prestige, would make you happy. Would it? Understanding is called for there. In making the distinction between “I” and “me”, it’s a great help to disidentify what is going on. Let me give you an example of this kind of thing. A young Jesuit priest comes to see me; he’s a lovely, extraordinary, gifted, talented, charming, lovable man – everything. But he had a strange kind of a kink. With employees he was a terror. He was even known to assault them. It nearly became a matter for the police.

Whenever he was put in charge of the grounds, the school, or whatever, this problem would keep coming up. He made a thirty-day retreat in what we Jesuits call a Tertianship, where he meditated day after day on the patience and love of Jesus for those who were underprivileged, etc. But I knew it wasn’t going to have an effect. Anyway, he went home and was better for about three or four months. (Somebody said about most retreats that we begin them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and we end as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.)

After that, he was right back to square one. So he came to see me. I was very busy at the time. Though he had come from another city in India, I couldn’t see him. So I said, “I’m going for my evening walk; if you want to come with me on the walk, that’s fine, but I don’t have any other time”. So we went for a walk. I’d known him before, and as we were walking, I had a strange feeling. When I get one of these strange feelings, I generally check it out with the person in question. So I said, “I have a strange feeling that you’re hiding something from me. Are you”? He became indignant. He said, “What do you mean, hiding?

Do you think I’d undertake this long journey and come to ask for your time in order to hide something”? I said, “Well, it’s a funny feeling I had, that’s all; I thought I should check with you”. We walked on. We have a lake not far from where I live. I remember the scene distinctly. He said, “Could we sit down somewhere”? I said, “O.K”. We sat on a low wall that skirts the lake. He said, “You’re right. I am hiding something from you”. And with that he burst into tears.

He said, “I’m going to tell you something I’ve never said to anybody since I became a Jesuit. My father died when I was very young, and my mother became a servant. Her job was to clean lavatories and toilets and bathrooms, and sometimes she’d work for sixteen hours a day to get the wherewithal to support us. I’m so ashamed of that that I’ve hidden it from everybody and I continue taking revenge, irrationally, on her and the whole servant class”. The feeling got transferred. No one could make sense of why this charming man was doing this, but the moment he saw that, there was never any trouble again, never. He was all right.

By: Anthony de Mello
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When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
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THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.48&49 not pushing it & getting real


Not Pushing It

Meditating on and imitating externally the behavior of Jesus is no help. It’s not a question of imitating Christ, it’s a question of becoming what Jesus was. It’s a question of becoming Christ, becoming aware, understanding what’s going on within you. All the other methods we use for self change could be compared to pushing a car. Let’s suppose you have to travel to a distant city. The car breaks down along the way. Well, too bad; the car’s broken down. So we roll up our sleeves and begin to push the car. And we push and push and push and push, till we get to the distant city. “Well”, we say, “we made it”. And then we push the car all the way to another city!

You say, “We got there, didn’t we”? But do you call this life? You know what you need? You need an expert, you need a mechanic to lift the hood and change the spark plug. Turn the ignition key and the car moves. You need the expert — you need understanding, insight, awareness you don’t need pushing. You don’t need effort. That’s why people are so tired, so weary. You and I were trained to be dissatisfied with ourselves. That’s where the evil comes from psychologically. We’re always dissatisfied, we’re always discontented, we’re always pushing. Go on, put out more effort, more and more effort. But there’s always that conflict inside; there’s very little understanding.

By: Anthony de Mello


Getting Real

One red-letter day in my life occurred in India. It was a great day, really, the day after I was ordained. I sat in a confessional. We had a very saintly Jesuit priest in our parish, a Spaniard, whom I had known even before I went to the Jesuit novitiate. The day before I left for the novitiate, I thought I’d better make a clean breast of everything so that when I got to the novitiate I’d be nice and clean and wouldn’t have to tell the novice master anything.

This old Spanish priest would have crowds of people lined up at his confessional; he had a violet-colored handkerchief which he covered his eyes with, and he’d mumble something and give you a penance and send you away. He’d only met me a couple of times, but he’d call me Antonie. So I stood in line, and when my turn came, I tried changing my voice as I made my confession. He listened to me patiently, gave me my penance, absolved me, and then said, “Antonie, when are you going to the novitiate”?

Well, anyway, I went to this parish the day after my ordination. And the old priest says to me, “Do you want to hear confessions”? I said, “All right”. He said, “Go and sit in my confessional”. I thought, “My, I’m a holy man. I’m going to sit in his confessional”. I heard confessions for three hours. It was Palm Sunday and we had the Easter crowd coming in. I came out depressed, not from what I had heard, because I had been led to expect that, and, having some inkling of what was going on in my own heart, I was shocked by nothing. You know what depressed me?

The realization that I was giving them these little pious platitudes “Now pray to the Blessed Mother, she loves you”, and “Remember that God is on your side”. Were these pious platitudes any cure for cancer? And this is a cancer I’m dealing with, the lack of awareness and reality. So I swore a mighty oath to myself that day “I’ll learn, I’ll learn, so it will not be said of me when it is all over, ‘Father, what you said to me was absolutely true but totally useless.’”

Awareness, insight. When you become an expert (and you’ll soon become an expert) you don’t need to take a course in psychology. As you begin to observe yourself, to watch yourself, to pick up those negative feelings, you’ll find your own way of explaining it. And you’ll notice the change. But then you’ll have to deal with the big villain, and that villain is self-condemnation, self-hatred, self-dissatisfaction.

By: Anthony de Mello
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When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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07/02/2011 09:49 PM
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.50 assorted images


Assorted Images

Let’s talk more about effortlessness in change. I thought of a nice image for that, a sailboat. When a sailboat has a mighty wind in its sail, it glides along so effortlessly that the boatman has nothing to do but steer. He makes no effort; he doesn’t push the boat. That’s an image of what happens when change comes about through awareness, through understanding.

I was going through some of my notes and I found some quotations that go well with what I’ve been saying. Listen to this one: “There is nothing so cruel as nature. In the whole universe there is no escape from it, and yet it is not nature that does the injury, but the person’s own heart.” Does that make sense? It isn’t nature that does the injury, but the person’s own heart. There’s the story of Paddy, who fell off the scaffolding and got a good bump. They asked, “Did the fall hurt you, Paddy?” And he said, “No, it was the stop that hurt, not the fall.” When you cut water, the water doesn’t get hurt; when you cut something solid, it breaks. You’ve got solid attitudes inside you; you’ve got solid illusions inside you; that’s what bumps against nature, that’s where you get hurt, that’s where the pain comes from.

Here’s a lovely one: It’s from an Oriental sage, though I don’t remember which one. As with the Bible the author doesn’t matter. What is said is what matters. “If the eye is unobstructed, it results in sight; if the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing; if the nose is unobstructed, the result is a sense of smell; if the mouth is unobstructed, the result is a sense of taste; if the mind is unobstructed, the result is wisdom.”

Wisdom occurs when you drop barriers you have erected through your concepts and conditioning. Wisdom is not something acquired; wisdom is not experience; wisdom is not applying yesterday’s illusions to today’s problems. As somebody said to me while I was studying for my degree in psychology in Chicago years ago, “Frequently, in the life of a priest, fifty years’ experience is one year’s experience repeated fifty times.” You get the same solutions to fall back on: This is the way to deal with the alcoholic; this is the way to deal with priests; this is the way to deal with sisters; this is the way to deal with a divorcee.

But that isn’t wisdom. Wisdom is to be sensitive to this situation, to this person, uninfluenced by any carryover from the past, without residue from the experience of the past. This is quite unlike what most people are accustomed to thinking. I would add another sentence to the ones I’ve read: “If the heart is unobstructed, the result is love.” I’ve been talking a great deal about love these days even though I told you there’s nothing that can be said, really, about love. We can only speak of non-love. We can only speak of addictions. But of love itself nothing may be said explicitly.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.51 saying nothing about love


Saying Nothing About Love

How would I describe love? I decided to give you one of the meditations I’m writing in a new book of mine. I’ll read it to you slowly; you meditate on it as we go along, because I’ve got it put down in short form here so I can get it done in three or four minutes; otherwise it would take me half an hour. It’s a comment on a gospel sentence. I had been thinking of another reflection, from Plato: “One cannot make a slave of a free person, for a free person is free even in prison”. It’s like another gospel sentence: “If a person makes you go one mile, go two”.

You may think you’ve made a slave out of me by putting a load on my back, but you haven’t. If a person is trying to change external reality by being out of prison in order to be free, he is a prisoner indeed. Freedom lies not in external circumstances; freedom resides in the heart. When you have attained wisdom, who can enslave you? Anyhow, listen to the gospel sentence I had in mind earlier: “He sent the people away, and after doing that he went up to the mountain to pray alone. It grew late and he was there all by himself”. That s what love is all about. Has it ever occurred to you that you can only love when you are alone? What does it mean to love? It means to see a person, a situation, a thing as it really is, not as you imagine it to be.

And to give it the response it deserves. You can hardly be said to love what you do not even see. And what prevents us from seeing? Our conditioning. Our concepts, our categories, our prejudices, our projections, the labels that we have drawn from our cultures and our past experiences. Seeing is the most arduous thing that a human can undertake, for it calls for a disciplined, alert mind. But most people would much rather lapse into mental laziness than take the trouble to see each person, each thing in its present moment of freshness.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.52 losing control


Losing Control

If you wish to understand control, think of a little child that is given a taste for drugs. As the drugs penetrate the body of the child, it becomes addicted; its whole being cries out for the drug. To be without the drug is so unbearable a torment that it seems preferable to die. Think of that image – the body has gotten addicted to the drug. Now this is exactly what your society did to you when you were born. You were not allowed to enjoy the solid, nutritious food of life namely, work, play, fun, laughter, the company of people, the pleasures of the senses and the mind. You were given a taste for the drug called approval, appreciation, attention.

I’m going to quote a great man here, a man named A. S. Neill. He is the author of Summerhill. Neill says that the sign of a sick child is that he is always hovering around his parents; he is interested in persons. The healthy child has no interest in persons, he is interested in things. When a child is sure of his mother’s love, he forgets his mother; he goes out to explore the world; he is curious.

He looks for a frog to put in his mouth – that kind of thing. When a child is hovering around his mother, it’s a bad sign; he’s insecure. Maybe his mother has been trying to suck love out of him, not give him all the freedom and assurance he wants. His mother’s always been threatening in many subtle ways to abandon him. So we were given a taste of various drug addictions: approval, attention, success, making it to the top, prestige, getting your name in the paper, power, being the boss. We were given a taste of things like being the captain of the team, leading the band, etc. Having a taste for these drugs, we became addicted and began to dread losing them. Recall the lack of control you felt, the terror at the prospect of failure or of making mistakes, at the prospect of criticism by others.
So you became cravenly dependent on others and you lost your freedom. Others now have the power to make you happy or miserable. You crave your drugs, but as much as you hate the suffering that this involves, you find yourself completely helpless. There is never a minute when, consciously or unconsciously, you are not aware of or attuned to the reactions of others, marching to the beat of their drums.

A nice definition of an awakened person: a person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within. When you are ignored or disapproved of, you experience a loneliness so unbearable that you crawl back to people and beg for the comforting drug called support and encouragement’ reassurance.
To live with people in this state involves a never-ending tension. “Hell is other people”, said Sartre. How true. When you are in this state of dependency, you always have to be on your best behavior, you can never let your hair down; you’ve got to live up to expectations. To be with people is to live in tension. To be without them brings the agony of loneliness, because you miss them.

You have lost your capacity to see them exactly as they are and to respond to them accurately, because your perception of them is clouded by the need to get your drugs. You see them insofar as they are a support for getting your drug or a threat to have your drug removed. You’re always looking at people, consciously or unconsciously, through these eyes. Will I get what I want from them, will I not get what I want from them? And if they can neither support nor threaten my drug, I’m not interested in them. That’s a horrible thing to say, but I wonder if there’s anyone here of whom this cannot be said.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
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Anthony de Mello - Awareness pt.53 listening to life



Listening to Life

Now you need awareness and you need nourishment. You need good, healthy nourishment. Learn to enjoy the solid food of life. Good food, good wine, good water. Taste them. Lose your mind and come to your senses. That’s good, healthy nourishment. The pleasures of the senses and the pleasures of the mind. Good reading, when you enjoy a good book.

Or a really good discussion, or thinking. It’s marvelous. Unfortunately, people have gone crazy, and they’re getting more and more addicted because they do not know how to enjoy the lovely things of life. So they’re going in for greater and greater artificial stimulants.

In the 1970s, President Carter appealed to the American people to go in for austerity. I thought to myself He shouldn’t tell them to be austere, he should really tell them to enjoy things. Most of them have lost their capacity for enjoyment. I really believe that most people in affluent countries have lost that capacity. They’ve got to have more and more expensive gadgets; they can’t enjoy the simple things of life.

Then I walk into places where they have all the most marvelous music, and you get these records at a discount, they’re all stacked up, but I never hear anybody listening to them — no time, no time, no time. They’re guilty, no time to enjoy life. They’re overworked, go, go, go.

If you really enjoy life and the simple pleasures of the senses, you’d be amazed. You’d develop that extraordinary discipline of the animal. An animal will never overeat. Left in its natural habitat, it will never be overweight. It will never drink or eat anything that is not good for its health. You never find an animal smoking. It always exercises as much as it needs – watch your cat after it’s had its breakfast, look how it relaxes.

And see how it springs into action, look at the suppleness of its limbs and the aliveness of its body. We’ve lost that. We’re lost in our minds, in our ideas and ideals and so on, and its always go, go, go. And we’ve got an inner self-conflict which animals don’t have. And we’re always condemning ourselves and making ourselves feel guilty. You know what I’m talking about. I could have said of myself what one Jesuit friend said to me some years ago Take that plate of sweets away, because in front of a plate of sweets or chocolates, I lose my freedom.

That was true of me, too; I lost my freedom in front of all kinds of things, but no more! I’m satisfied with very little and I enjoy it intensely. When you have enjoyed something intensely, you need very little. It’s like people who are busy planning their vacation; they spend months planning it, and they get to the spot, and they’re all anxious about their reservations for flying back. But they’re taking pictures all right, and later they’ll show you pictures in an album, of places they never saw but only photographed. That’s a symbol of modem life.

I cannot warn you enough about this kind of asceticism. Slow down and taste and smell and hear, and let your senses come alive. If you want a royal road to mysticism, sit down quietly and listen to all the sounds around you. You do not focus on any one sound; you try to hear them all. Oh, you’ll see the miracles that happen to you when your senses come unclogged. That is extremely important for the process of change.

By: Anthony de Mello
..............................
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
..................................
THE SECOND AGREEMENT: "Don't take anything personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements





GLP