Awareness Book – The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony De Mello

Awareness The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony De Mello

Book Review, 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.

But if you can take an agnostic viewpoint, Anthony ce 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 of this world.

Update: I have since re-read this book and found it even more powerful than the first time. I continue to highly recommend it!

But more than that it really is strangly calming.

Mr. de Mello deconstructs nearly everything that you’ve come to believe about success, relationships, and life.

It reminds me that most of my stressors and drama is made up. It is litterally made up!

And once I can step back and see things for what they really are, there is nothing left, but to accept reality for what it is. To accept life for what it really is.

Bottom line. This book makes me calmer, happier, and hopefully just a bit more aware.

AR’s Book Score: 9 out of 10

Key book highlights from Awareness:

Because the book is largely a compilation of lectures, it doesn’t have chapters.

However, it does cover a variety of topics and stories that help to convert the overall message that if you want to be happy to be free, you must drop your illusions and develop “Awareness:”

  • 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 over time.
    • 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 asses. We are all humans and all make mistakes.
  • Undoing your programming
    • We are all programmed to believe certain things, think certain thoughts, and behave a certain way.
    • Once you begin to recognize that, you gain more control over your life – “What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you.”

Best Quotes from Awareness:

If you are damaged, you did it; and if you are helped, you did it. You really did! You think people helped you? They didn’t. You think people support you? They don’t.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

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

If you’re hypnotized into thinking that you won’t be happy without this, that, or the other thing, you’re stuck.

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

It’s not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you do not know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known. That’s what you fear.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

You want to hope for something better than what you have right now, don’t you? Otherwise you wouldn’t be hoping. But then, you forgot that you have it all right now anyway, and you don’t know it.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

You think you are free, but there probably isn’t a gesture, a thought, an emotion, an attitude, a belief in you that isn’t coming from someone else.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at the present moment, and it’s because you’re thinking or focusing on what you don’t have.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

Who determines what it means to be a success? This stupid society! […] Being president of a corporation has nothing to do with being a success in life. Having a lot of money has nothing to do with being a success in life. You’re a success in life when you wake up!

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

The selfish thing is to demand that someone else live their life as YOU see fit. That’s selfish. Ti is not selfish to live your life as you see fit.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

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