The Illusion of Rewards
The following is the 14th chapter in, “AWARENESS: A de Mellow Spirituality Conference in His Own Words” by Fr. Anthony de Mello, S.J. edited by J. Francis Stroud, S.J., Copyright © 1990 by the DeMello Stroud Spirituality Center
“Until then, we’re going to get nowhere. The great mystics and masters in the East will say, ‘Who are you?’ Many think the most important question in the world is: ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ Wrong!
“Many think it is: ‘Does God exist?’ Wrong! Many think it is: ‘Is there a life after death?’ Wrong! Nobody seems to be grappling with the problem of: Is there a life before death? Yet my experience is that it’s precisely the ones who don’t know what to do with this life who are all hot and bothered about what they are going to do with another life. One sign that you’re awakened is that you don’t give a damn about what’s going to happen in the next life. You’re not bothered about it; you don’t care. You are not interested, period.
“Do you know what eternal life is? You think it’s everlasting life. But your own theologians will tell you that that is crazy, because everlasting is still within time. It is time perduring forever. Eternal means timeless—no time. The human mind cannot understand that. The human mind can understand time and can deny time. What is timeless is beyond our comprehension. Yet the mystics tell us that eternity is right now. How’s that for good news? It is right now. People are so distressed when I tell them to forget their past. They are so proud of their past. Or they are so ashamed of their past. They’re crazy! Just drop it! When you hear ‘Repent for your past,’ realize it’s a great religious distraction from waking up. Wake up! That’s what repent means. Not ‘weep for your sins.’ Wake up! Understand, stop all the crying. Understand! Wake up!”