A Dose of Awareness

“Disarmed, everybody has to be disarmed.”

Anthony De Mello rejected as foolish the effort people make to change. It was the effort part that got to him, the idea of trying to change.

The psychologist and Jesuit priest saw too much effort, not enough awareness.

People trying to change into different versions of themselves for the sake of others. People wanting to hear more compliments. People trying to feel less judgement from what they imagine other people must be thinking.

We’re programmed, De Mello would say, and we need to be disarmed.

The only way to actually change is to increase self-awareness. Know thyself. Without judgement.

“The fact of the matter is that you’re neither O.K. or not O.K. You may fit the current mood or trend or fashion! Does that mean you’ve become O.K.? Does your O.K.-ness depend on that? You’re not O.K. and you’re not not O.K. … you’re you.”

It’s not even a matter of practicing awareness. “Resolving” to be more aware would defeat the point. Because you would try to do this or that, forget to do it, and then it’s self-judgement all over again. Frustration of trying to be a new different version of yourself, and failing.

It’s not something you do, it’s just a way of being. Noticing thoughts, feelings, desires.

“Cut out all of the O.K. stuff and the not- O.K. stuff; cut out all the judgements and simply observe, watch. You’ll make great discoveries. These discoveries will change you. You won’t have to make the slightest effort, believe me.”

It’s about solving the problem of you, which isn’t really a problem at all.

“Until then, we’re going to get nowhere.”


Author: Billy

High school teacher and blogger.

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