awareness anthony de mello

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

“Awareness” by Anthony De Mello is an essential read packed with spiritual wisdom. This book grows as you do, allowing you to grasp a deeper understanding of life. All transformation starts and ends with awareness and few spiritual teachers can wake us up to this truth like Anthony De Mello.




-Admit you don’t want to wake up, you don’t want to be happy.

-Your beliefs give you a lot of security, but faith is insecurity. You don’t know. You’re ready to follow and you’re open, you’re wide open! You’re ready to listen. And, mind you, being open does not mean being gullible, it doesn’t mean swallowing whatever the speaker is saying. Oh no. You’ve got to challenge everything I’m saying. But challenge it from an attitude of openness, not from an attitude of stubbornness. And challenge it all. Recall those lovely words of Buddha when he said, “Monks and scholars must not accept my words out of respect, but must analyze them the way a goldsmith analyzes gold — by cutting, scraping, rubbing, melting.”

-There are two types of selfishness. The first type is the one where I give myself the pleasure of pleasing myself. That’s what we generally call self-centeredness. The second is when I give myself the pleasure of pleasing others. That would be a more refined kind of selfishness.

-Maybe you’ve got the wrong ideas and it is these ideas that are influencing your life and making it the mess that it is and keeping you asleep. Ideas about love, ideas about freedom, ideas about happiness, and so forth. And it isn’t easy to listen to someone who would challenge those ideas of yours which have come to be so precious to you.

-The one thing you need most of all is the readiness to learn something new.

-Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known.

-Who am I? Or What is I? Is the most important question you can ask yourself.

-Who’s living in you? It’s pretty horrifying when you come to know that. You think you are free, but there probably isn’t a gesture, a thought, an emotion, an attitude, a belief of you that isn’t coming from someone else.

-When you’re beginning to awaken, you experience a great deal of pain. It’s painful to see your illusions being shattered. Everything that you thought you had built up crumbles and that’s painful. That’s what repentance is all about; that’s what waking up is all about.

-Self observation means watching — observing whatever is going on in you and around you as if it were happening to someone else.

-Suffering exists in “me” so when you identify “I” with “me,” suffering begins.

-All suffering is caused by my identifying myself with something, whether that something is within me or outside of me.

-Dependency leads to demanding

-Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency.

-Loneliness is not cured by human company. Loneliness is cured by contact with reality.

-The three most difficult things for human beings are returning love for hate, including the excluded, and admitting that you are wrong.

-Ignorance and fear, ignorance caused by fear, that’s where all evil comes from, that’s where your violence comes from.

-The person who is truly nonviolent, who is incapable of violence, is the person who is fearless.

-Think of the last time you were angry and search for the fear behind it. What were you afraid of losing? What were you afraid would be taken from you?

-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 judgement, no attitude, no interference, no attempt to change, only to understand. As you do this, you’ll begin to realize that increasingly you are dis-identifying from “me.”

-What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you. You are always a slave to what you’re not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. It’s there, but you’re not affected by it. You’re not controlled by it; you’re not enslaved by it. That’s the difference.

-The important thing is not to know who “I” is or what “I” is. You’ll never succeed. There are no words for it. The important thing is to drop the labels. As the Japanese Zen masters say, “Don’t seek the truth; just drop your opinions.”

-You know what’s going to happen to you if you identify yourself with these things. You’re going to cling to them, you’re going to be worried that they may fall apart, that’s where your suffering comes in.

-Suffering occurs when you clash with reality. When your illusions clash with reality, when your falsehoods clash with truth, then you have suffering. Otherwise, there is no suffering.

-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!

-We see things and people not as they are, but as we are.

-When you finally awake, you don’t try to make good things happen; they just happen. You understand suddenly that everything that happens to you is good.

-Put this program into action, a thousand times: (a) identify the negative feelings in you; (b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in external reality; (c) do not see them as an essential part of “I”; these things come and go; (d) understand that when you change, everything changes.

-So begin to be aware of your present condition whatever that condition is. Stop being a dictator. Stop trying to push yourself somewhere. Then someday you will understand that simply by awareness you have already attained what you were pushing yourself toward.

-If you think that compassion implies softness, there’s no way I can describe compassion to you because compassion can be very hard. Compassion can be very rude, compassion can jolt you, compassion can roll up its sleeves and operate on you.

-Nobody ever rejects you, they only reject what they think you are.

-When you go through life with preferences but don’t let your happiness depend on any one of them, then you’re awake.

-You’re more likely to respond accurately when you perceive clearly.

-The final barrier to finding God is the word “God” itself and the concept of God.

-The moment you put things into a concept, they stop flowing; they become static, dead.

-What is ultimate in the human knowledge of God — to know that we do not know God.