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!
— Anthony de Mello – Awareness
(image source: unknown)
A religious belief is not a statement about Reality, but a hint, a clue about something that is a mystery, beyond the grasp of human thought. In short, a religious belief is only a finger pointing to the moon. Some religious people never get beyond the study of the finger. Others are engaged in sucking it. Others yet use the finger to gouge their eyes out. These are the bigots whom religion has made blind. Rare indeed is the religionist who is sufficiently detached from the finger to see what it is indicating — these are those who, having gone beyond belief, are taken for blasphemers.
— Anthony de Mello – One Minute Nonsense – p. 134
Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know — all mystics — Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion — are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.
— Anthony de Mello – Approaching God – How to Pray
It’s only when you become love — in other words, when you have dropped your illusions and attachments — that you will “know.” As you identify less and less with the “me,” you will be more at ease with everybody and with everything. Do you know why? Because you are no longer afraid of being hurt or not liked. You no longer desire to impress anyone. Can you imagine the relief when you don’t have to impress anybody anymore? Oh, what a relief. Happiness at last! You no longer feel the need or the compulsion to explain things anymore. It’s all right. What is there to be explained? And you don’t feel the need or compulsion to apologize anymore. I’d much rather hear you say, “I’ve come awake,” than hear you say, “I’m sorry.” I’d much rather hear you say to me, “I’ve come awake since we last met; what I did to you won’t happen again,” than to hear you say, “I’m so sorry for what I did to you.”
— Anthony de Mello – A Changed Person – Page 96
The animals met in assembly and began
to complain that humans were always
taking things away from them.
“They take my milk,” said the cow.
“They take my eggs,” said the hen.
“They take my flesh for bacon,” said the hog.
“They hunt me for my oil,” said the whale.
Finally the snail spoke. “I have something
they would certainly take away from me
if they could. Something they want
more than anything else.
I have TIME.”
You have all the time in the world, if you would give it to yourself. What’s stopping you?
— Anthony de Mello – The Song of the Bird (page 136)
“A man who took great pride in his lawn
found himself with a large crop of dandelions.
He tried every method he knew
to get rid of them. Still they plagued him.
Finally he wrote the Department of Agriculture.
He enumerated all the things he had tried
and closed his letter with the question:
‘What shall I do now?’
In due course the reply came:
‘We suggest you learn to love them.'”
He was becoming blind by degrees. He fought it with every means in his power. When medicine no longer served to fight it, he fought it with his emotions. It took courage to say to him, “I suggest you learn to love your blindness.”
It was a struggle. He refused to have anything to do with it in the beginning. And when he eventually brought himself to speak to his blindness his words were bitter. But he kept on speaking and the words slowly changed into words of resignation and tolerance and acceptance… and, one day, very much to his own surprise, they became words of friendliness… and love. Then came the day when he was able to put his arm around his blindness and say, “I love you.” That was the day I saw him smile again.
His vision, of course, was lost forever. But how attractive his face became!
— Anthony de Mello – The Song of the Bird – Dandelions (page 65-66)
When the Zen master attained enlightenment
he wrote the following lines to celebrate it:
“Oh wondrous marvel:
I chop wood!
I draw water from the well!”
After enlightenment nothing really changes. The tree is still a tree; people are just what they were before and so are you. You may continue to be as moody or even-tempered, as wise or foolish. The one difference is that you see things with a different eye. You are more detached from it all now. And your heart is full of wonder.
That is the essence of contemplation: the sense of wonder.
Contemplation is different from ecstasy in that ecstasy leads to withdrawal. The enlightened contemplative continues to chop wood and draw water from the well. Contemplation is different from the perception of beauty in that the perception of beauty (a painting or a sunset) produces aesthetic delight, whereas contemplation produces wonder – no matter what it observes, a sunset or a stone.
This is the prerogative of children. They are so often in a state of wonder. So they easily slip into the Kingdom.
— Anthony de Mello – The Song of the Bird – Pages 16 – 17