Are You Sleepwalking?
by Anthony de Mello, SJ
Imagine that you’re unwell and in a foul mood, and they’re taking you through some lovely countryside. The landscape is beautiful but you’re not in the mood to see anything. A few days later you pass the same place and you say, “Good heavens, where was I that I didn’t notice all of this?” Everything becomes beautiful when you change. Or you look at the trees and the mountains through windows that are wet with rain from a storm, and everything looks blurred and shapeless. You want to go right out there and change those trees, change those mountains. Wait a minute, let’s examine your window. When the storm ceases and the rain stops, and you look out the window, you say, “Well, how different everything looks.” We see people and things not as they are, but as we are. That is why when two people look at something or someone, you get two different reactions. We see things and people not as they are, but as we are.
Remember that sentence from scripture about everything turning into good for those who love God? When you finally awake, you don’t try to make good things happen; they just happen. You understand suddenly that everything that happens to you is good. Think of some people you’re living with whom you want to change. You find them moody, inconsiderate, unreliable, treacherous, or whatever. But when you are different, they’ll be different. That’s an infallible and miraculous cure. The day you are different, they will become different. And you will see them differently, too. Someone who seemed terrifying will now seem frightened. Someone who seemed rude will seem frightened. All of a sudden, no one has the power to hurt you anymore. No one has the power to put pressure on you. It’s something like this: You leave a book on the table and I pick it up and say, “You’re pressing this book on me. I have to pick it up or not pick it up.” People are so busy accusing everyone else, blaming everyone else, blaming life, blaming society, blaming their neighbor. You’ll never change that way; you’ll continue in your nightmare, you’ll never wake up.
Put this program into action, a thousand times:
(a) identify the negative feelings in you;
(b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in external reality;
(c) do not see them as an essential part of “I”; these things come and go;
(d) understand that when you change, everything changes
These are various quotes taken from the author and sometimes Jesuit priest Anthony DeMello. I first came across this intriguing man a couple of years ago, when a friend of mine lent one of his books titled Awareness. I’ve been struck my a few things in my time; a pain in my ass, an irate bouncer, an angry monkey, and even once by a sense of wellbeing, but reading this book was the closest thing I’ve had to being struck by a spiritual experience. Thankfully for me it was a short easy read, and the font was nice and big (no pictures though). I’m not going to detail or offer my opinion on this book. I’m in no way religious. I have no interest in imposing my beliefs or faith on anyone. All I would like to do is share something. Make of it what you will. Develop your own opinion / belief / faith / understanding. Be open to examine and challenge everything. Make of it what you will.
Anthony DeMello MP3’s (Via Bittorrent)