Book Review | Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony De Mello

Awareness The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony De Mello

Highlights and Quotes from Awareness by Anthony De Mello

I first read Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony De Mello two years ago, after hearing it repeatedly brought up on The Tim Ferriss Show.

I am not a Christian and not super religious, so I found that it was best to read this book ignoring any religious messaging. Taking an agnostic viewpoint, Anthony De Mello’s messaging is relevant to anyone, anywhere.

Anthony De Mello was a Jesuit Priest, known for “mixing Christian spirituality, Buddhist parables […] and psychological insight”

Awareness is really a series of lectures combined into a book. So you want to read it imagining that Mr. De Mello is speaking to an audience and you are in that audience.

Some of his messaging was spot on for me, and others were a miss or over my head. But overall, I found this book to be compelling, thought provoking, and an enjoyable read that did effectively expand my Awareness in this world.

AR’s Book Score: 9 out of 10

Key book highlights from Awareness:

I probably missed many highlights from this book, but this is what stuck out me. Please let me know what I missed!

  • Developing Awareness through observation:
    • Observing yourself is the best way to make changes. Simply observe in a non-critical way, and changes will occur naturally.
    • Being aware, means being present in life. “The unaware life is not worth living”
  • How to be happier:
    • You don’t need objects or people to make you happy.
    • Your happiness should not be tied up in your profession, or clothes, money or anything else.
    • Attachment causes fear, which causes unhappiness. Solution: Detachment
    • Go through life with preferences, not desires
  • On Negative feelings
    • Understand they are in you, not in reality
    • Realizing that we are all ass’. We are all humans and all make mistakes.

Best Quotes from Awareness:

I’m going to write a book someday and the title will be I’m an Ass, You’re an Ass. That’s the most liberating wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you’re an ass. It’s wonderful. When people tell me, “You’re wrong.” I say, “What can you expect from an ass?”

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

If I change my profession tomorrow, it’s like changing my clothes, I am untouched. Are you your clothes? Are you your name? Are you your profession? Stop identifying with them. They come and go.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only used in your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

Negative feelings are in you, not in reality. So stop trying to change reality. Stop trying to change the other person.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

Put this program in you a thousand times: a) identify the negative feelings in you; b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in an 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.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

Think of something you are attached to. […] And say to this object or person. “I really do not need you to be happy. I’m only deluding myself in the belief that without you I will not be happy. But I really don’t need you for my happiness; I can be happy without you. You are not my happiness, you are not my joy.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

I’m not going to hate myself for anything I have done right or wrong. I’m ready to analyze and watch it. “Well if I did wrong, it was unawareness” I refuse to rescue you anymore and I refuse to feel guilty.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

Do not suppress desire, because then you would become lifeless. […] Understand it. Don’t seek to fulfill desire so much as to understand desire […] your desire will then be transformed into what I call a preference”

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

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