Awareness by Anthony De Mello

SEEING BEAUTY EVERYWHERE

“Anytime you have a negative feeling toward anyone, you’re living in an illusion. There’s something seriously wrong with you. You’re not seeing reality. Something inside of you has to change. But what do we generally do when we have a negative feeling? ‘He is to blame, she is to blame. She’s got to change.’ No! The world’s all right. The one who has to change is you.” – Anthony De Mello
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a happy mood, everything around you seems to be rosey, but if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, everything seems to prove that it’s a pretty bad day? Well, maybe it’s time to look inside you and ask yourself if you really want the black and white rainy days or if you want a day full of vivid colour.

DANCING TO THE TUNE THAT SPRINGS FROM WITHIN

“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.” – Anthony De Mello
Maybe that’s why I have a funny dance.. well no, that’s not the reason, but I do end up questioning many “social norms” such as the purpose of education, the purpose of work and the untold story. I probably told this story before, but I’ll tell it again. It was after the final exam in first year of university when I was walking around the neighbourhood with a friend just reflecting on what we just went through in the first year (which was mostly a lot of stress and long nights doing assignments). It was a clear blue sky, sun beating down and laughter everywhere. That was when I started wondering if the path I was on is what I actually wanted. Fast forward 3 years, I decided to leave the program and university and transferred to another university. Everything got so much better and during that process, I became aware of myself, my wants and what society expected. I started to dance my own tune.

TRUE SELFISHNESS

“It is not selfish to live your life as you see fit. The selfishness lies in demanding that someone else live their life to suit your tastes, or your pride, or your profit, or your pleasure. That is truly selfish.” – Anthony De Mello
I am guilty of this every so often. There are times when I expect people to conform to do what I do / what I want. Because of this, I get frustrated, and sometimes wonder why I feel like this (most times I’m aware of the reason).

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

“Everything passes, everything.” – Anthony De Mello
My good friend’s favourite quote. I’ll let you soak it in.

HOW TO TRULY LIVE

“The way to really live is to die. The passport to living is to imagine yourself in your grave. Imagine you’re lying in your coffin…. Now look at your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything, doesn’t it?” – Anthony De Mello
Although I haven’t gone to the level of imagining death, I have been able to experience what life outside of the bubble we live in is like. I had the privilege of going to India for two weeks back in University and instead of living at some sort of hotel, I lived with locals, ate with locals and got to experience India from a local’s perspective. It was so inspiring to see how much more they enjoyed their lives than we did even though we technically have more going for us. That was when I realized that I did not want the life I knew of back home, but to live a life full of laughter, friends and aspirations.
Now I know that there are communities and people like that here, but the point being I will always be able to take a second look at my problems and really ask them if they’re real.

My Take Aways

I did not cover all the key ideas in that the PN mentioned, as it seems that Awareness is meant for those who are at the point of gaining control of their mind as many of these topics are focused on proving a different perspective. All of these are great ways to change it but I would suggest to start with the first idea (seeing beauty). When you first get out of bed, instead of checking your email or social media accounts, use it you time – get yourself to the happiest you can so that small problems that might have put you on the wrong foot will not change your mood. After that, it’s up to you to make sure that you always keep a third person perspective.

If any of these ideas are new to you, I suggest giving this book a read. If you already have a really good grasp on the methods, then this book might not be for you. Of course, I haven’t read it so I can’t actually tell you. If you’re interested in a copy of Awareness, you can get it on Amazon (please note that I will be getting a small amount from Amazon, though it does not affect how much you pay – Amazon just makes less money than if you were to go onto the website yourself). I also suggest you check out the actual Philosopher’s Notes (note they even have courses that consolidate many of the concepts in the books that Brian Joshnson covers and puts them into videos that are really easy to digest). This is the first program that I’ve signed up for and am definitely getting my money’s worth!

Which one of the ideas was most helpful for you?

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