Awareness by Anthony De Mello

Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!


Four Steps to Wisdom

  1. Identify the negative feelings in you
  2. Understand the feeling is in you, not in the world of external reality
  3. Never identify with that feeling — It has nothing to do with WHO you are
  4. Understand that when you change, everything changes

“We see people and things not as they are, but as we are.”

“Part of waking up is that you live your life as you see fit. And understand: That is not selfish. The selfish thing is to demand that someone else live their life as you see fit. That’s selfish…. The selfishness lies in demanding that someone else live their life to suit your tastes, or your pride, or your profit, or your pleasure.”

“You can’t imitate Christ by imitating his external behavior. You’ve got to be Christ.”

“Those who know, do not say; those who say, do not know.”

“Have you ever experienced your is-not-ness? In the East we have an image for this. It is the image of the dancer and the dance. It isn’t as if God is the big dancer and you are the little dancer. Oh no. You’re not a dancer at all. You are being danced.”

“One understands one’s personal worth when one no longer identifies or defines one’s self in terms of those transient things.”

“What leads to growth is painful experiences. Suffering points up an area in you where you have not yet grown, where you need to grow and be transformed and change.”

“The disappointment you experience when things don’t turn out as you wanted them to, watch that! Look at what it says about you.”

“When you go through life with preferences but don’t let your happiness depend on any one of them, then you’re awake.”

“Wakefulness, happiness — call it what you wish — is the state of non-delusion, where you see things not as you are but as they are, insofar as this is possible for a human being.”

Confucius said, “The one who would be in constant happiness must frequently change.”

“When you cling, life is destroyed; when you hold on to something, you cease to live.”

“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.”

We have a natural urge to be free, a natural urge to love, but not to be loved.

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.

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.

Our great tragedy is that we know too much. We think we know, that is our tragedy; so we never discover.

The root of sorrow is craving. Craving distorts and destroys perception. Fears and desires haunt us.

There’s only one way out and that is to get deprogrammed! How do you do that? You become aware of the programming. You cannot change by an effort of the will; you cannot change through deals; you cannot change through building up new habits. Your behavior may change, but you don’t. You only change through awareness and understanding.

You will never understand yourself if you seek to change yourself.

Loneliness is when you’re missing people, aloneness is when you’re enjoying yourself.

It's not reality that matters, but what you're saying to yourself about it.

If the mind is unobstructed, the result is wisdom.

If the heart is unobstructed, the result is love.

Freedom lies not in external circumstances; freedom resides in the heart.

A nice definition of an awakened person: a person who no longer marches to the drum of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within.

Slow down and taste and smell and hear, and let your sense 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.

The passport to living is to imagine yourself in your grave... Not look at your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything, doesn't it?

People don’t live, most of you, you don’t live, you’re just keeping the body alive. That’s not life. You’re not living until it doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn to you whether you live or die. At that point you live. When you’re ready to lose your life, you live it. But if you’re protecting your life, you’re dead.

I’eve told you what a spiritual exercise it is to gaze at things, to be aware of things around you. Hopefully, the words will drop, the concepts will drop, and you will see, you will make contact with reality. That is the cure for loneliness. Generally, we seek to cure our loneliness through emotional dependence on people, though gregariousness and noise. That is no cure. Get back to things, get back to nature, go up in the mountains. Then you will know that your heart has brought you to the vast desert of solitude, there is no one there at your side, absolutely no one.

Happiness is not something you acquire; love is not something you produce; love is not something that you have; love is something that has you. You do not have the wind, the stars, and the rain. You don’t possess these things; you surrender to them. And surrender occurs when you are aware of your illusions, when you are aware of your additions, when you are aware of your desires and fears.

The root of evil is within you.

Lots of people gain the world and lose their soul. Lots of people live empty, soulless lives because they’re feeding themselves on popularity, appreciation and praise, look at me, attend to me, support me, value me, on being the boss, on having power, on winning the race. Do you feed yourself on that? If you do, you’re dead. You’ve lost your soul. Feed yourself on other, more nourishing material. Then you’ll see the transformation.