Awareness and Contact With Reality

by markhofreiter

The following is the 21st 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.

“To watch everything inside of you and outside, and when there is something happening to you, to see it as if it were happening to someone else, with no comment, no judgment, no attitude, no interference, no attempt to change, only to understand. As you do this, you’ll begin to realize that increasingly you are disidentifying from ‘me’. St. Teresa of Avila says that toward the end of her life God gave her an extraordinary grace. She doesn’t use this modern expression, of course, but what it really boils down to is disidentifying from herself. If someone else has cancer and I don’t know the person, I’m not all that affected. If I had love and sensitivity, maybe I’d help, but I’m not emotionally affected. If you have an examination to take, I’m not all that affected. I can be quite philosophical about it and say, ‘Well, the more you worry about it, the worse it’ll get. Why not just take a good break instead of studying?’ But when it’s my turn to have an examination, well, that’s something else, isn’t it? The reason is that I’ve identified with ‘me’—with my family, my country, my possessions, my body, me. How would it be if God gave me grace not to call these things mine? I’d be detached; I’d be disidentified. That’s what it means to lose the self, to deny the self, to die to self.”