Sunday, May 16, 2010


(The last meditations of Anthony De Mello)

 PLEASE spend 3-4 minutes it 
might take to read the following.
Whether you comment matters not...

A MEDITATION:  Pages 55-59
In publishing this short chapter from the book, I took a liberty to edit slightly. In doing so, I put the context in first person, because I am the one learning here--There is not an intention to "teach" you Peeps. All my life is connected by words from God to me--not directly, but through other humans--the only way I may understand. Some time I have listened, sometimes not. Now I wish to "hear"...and behave in accordance... Steve E


Life is a symphony for we who have the ears to hear, but rare indeed is the human who hears the music. Why? Because I am busy listening to the noises which our conditioning and programming have installed in our heads. That and something else--our attachments. An attachment is a major killer of life. To really hear the symphony I must be sensitively attuned to every instrument in the orchestra.

When I take pleasure only in the drum, I cease to hear the symphony because the sound of the drum has blotted out the the other instruments. I may prefer a certain instrument with no harm, for a preference does not damage my capacity to hear and enjoy the other instruments. BUT--the moment my preference turns into an attachment, it hardens me to the other sounds, suddenly  undervalue them.

And I am blinded to the particular instrument, because I shall give it a value out of all proportion to its merit.

Now I must look at a person or thing for which I have an attachment: someone or some thing to whom I have handed over the power to make me happy or unhappy. OBSERVE how, because of my concentration on getting this person or thing and holding on to it and enjoying it exclusively to the exclusion of other things and persons;  and how, because of my obsession with this person or thing, now I have less sensitivity to the rest of the world.

I've become hardened. And I have the courage to see how prejudiced and blind I have become in the presence of this object of my  attachment.

When I see this I will feel a yearning to rid myself of every attachment. Problem--HOW? Renunciation and avoidance is no help, for to blot out the sound of the drum once again makes me as hard and insensitive as to concentrate solely on the drum. What I need is not renunciation, but understanding--awareness. IF my attachments have caused me suffering and sorrow, that helps me to understand.  IF I have at least once in my life had the sweet taste of freedom and the delight in life which UNattachment brings, that can also help me. It also helps if I constantly notice the sound of the other instruments in the orchestra BUT THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE for the awareness that shows me the loss I suffer when I overvalue the drum and when I turn a deaf ear to the rest of the orchestra.

The day that happens and my attachment to the drum stops I will no longer say to my friend, "How happy you have made me." For in so saying I flatter his ego and manipulate him into wanting to please me again, and more. And I give MYSELF the illusion that my happiness depends on my friend.  Rather I will say, "When you and I met, HAPPINESS arose." That leaves the happiness uncontaminated by his ego and mine. Neither of us can take credit for it. And that makes it possible for the two of us to part with NO attachment to each other, OR to the experience which our meeting generated. For we have enjoyed not each other, but the symphony that arose in our meeting.

And when I move on to the next situation, or person, or work, I do so without any emotional carryover. And then I make the JOYOUS DISCOVERY that the symphony arises there also, playing a different melody in the next situation, and the next, and the next,

NOW I can move through life--living from one moment to the other, wholly absorbed in the present, carrying with me so little from the past that my spirit could pass "through the eye of a needle". I will be as little distracted by worries of the future as the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. I will be attached to NO person or thing, for I will have developed a taste for the SYMPHONY OF LIFE. 

And I will love life alone with the passionate attachment of my whole heart, whole soul, my whole mind and all my strength. I will find myself traveling unencumbered and free as a bird in the sky, always living in the ETERNAL NOW. And I will find in my heart the answer to the question, "Master, what is it I must do to be happy? To get Eternal Life?"


steveroni said...

Attack! No, I mean Attach! Not that, either!

Jingle said...


marie said...

Makes sense. Reminds me of the cliche, "We make beautiful music together."

Sam Liu said...

A very interesting post, and a very beautiful reflection. It is true, as well - we should live our lives existentially if we can, being fully aware of ourselves and others, forever striving to absorb every moment of existence, rather than isolating and concentrating upon a single point. For it is in the nature of perfection for it be fleeting, it is a moment, to prolong it is to taint it.

Thank you for sharing this most wonderful of excerpts, you've definitely provided some food for thought :)

Dulce said...

My dear sweet peep Steve,
This is no doubt the best you've ever psted from my point of you. I feel so related to your words here. They might not be your own words, but the fact that you have chosen them is for a good reason.
They are so maeningful and wise.
Unique way of putting it. I wish, though, this were so easy; I hope it is for you and that you get to listen to the whole orchestra, without missing any instrument, without MISSING any of then if the musician has not come to play.

You are a BEAUTIFUL SOUL I happen to love- more this fiddle than others. Sorry- I keep my faves and cannot help it and cannot change.

i love that line where the spirit could pass "through the eye of a needle...

God bless you Steveroni :)

Dulce said...

Sorry about the misprints... I am not wearing my glasses... but am aware of them- now, too late! Do not like deleting... so, like that it'll remain.

Nevine said...

Steve, this is an intriguing post... and I'm reading it as more about the human element than anything else. We are so conditioned to becoming attached to things and people and emotions, and we get to a point where we truly believe that our happiness can only be found in these attachments. I think human nature sort of dictates that we find life easier to handle when we believe someone or something is sharing the burden. But this is so not true. Our happiness and our strength are both inside us. We are the ones who give the power to these attachments and allow them to have such control over us and over what we do. And because we are so much stronger than we'll ever know, we should always keep in mind that we can discard any attachments and still keep on living. Easier said than done... yes. But, still do-able, I say!

I like how you gave this excerpt that you refashioned the "I" voice. It's almost like when we have a conversation with ourselves.


Bananii said...

Wow, I was so delighted to read this.

It really makes me think about a lot of things... really it is worth readind more than once!

And.. well, I´ve been there, attached to someone as if my happiness depended on him.

He was my "best friend" and by being soo concentrated to get his attention, a little love in change of my friendship... I forgot how beautiful the symphony was sounding all around me.

So... now this reading ilustrates it a very poetic way, now I understand it better and I will never forget that post.
I will say: "Oh! like the post of Steveroni!" to my kids (in a veryyy far future ;) )

Susan said...

A beautiful concept. One not entirely new to me, yet understanding comes so much easier than living by that understanding. As our awareness (consciousness) grows, so does our ability to live at a higher frequency. The challenge I find, is to not allow the "world" to dull my awareness.

Andrew said...

Yes, attachment is a concept most of the worlds religions guard against.

I always liked DeMello.

Hope said...

You know I love this little book. Mine is dog eared and worn.

Syd said...

This reminds me to live side by side with another but not in such a way as to drown out my music or theirs. It's important not to be enmeshed. Nice post here Steve. I like this philosophy a lot.

Gillian said...

Reminds me of when I listen to a song...I hear the different harmonies within the song and I will listen to it over and over again to single out all the voices and once I've processed and studied each one of them. I'll listen again - its sounds even more beautiful then.

Brian Miller said...

yeah, thats some good stuff steve. we can get so caught up in our own music that we make it sound so out of tune. but in those moments whn it all comes together it is beautiful...

JStar said...

I love it Steve!!! I agreee totally with what Brian said :)

mile191 said...

this is beautiful. music to my ears, my eyes, my heart, my soul. healing and thoughtful.

thanks for still writing Steve,
for us, for me, for healing, and hope.

i appreciate your perspectives and your wisdoms.



Findon said...

Love is a verb. That is what I tell my sponsees when their loved ones are driving them crazy. Beautiful and I have a relationship that isn't dependent, independent, but interdependent. Its a great way to live. Great post Steve. Hope you and PG are keeping well.

drybottomgirl said...

Very good writing. Attachment is a very scary thing. I loved the part of hearing new pieces with each new arriving experience. It's awesome to be a part of the symphony!

Carolynn said...

Beautiful. I think I've mastered some of this, although I still wrestle with attachment to some degree. Very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing it.


Gabriella Moonlight said...

I love Anthony De Mello and have read much of his writings, this is an amazing as always post...you are amazing and I am so grateful for your presence...<3 you!

Angeles said...

There are days when you need to read something special. Now I just need to remember this text.
You know, Anthony De Mello is one of my favorite authors some years ago a friend gave me The song of the Bird, since that day I still learn from his books.
This is a beautiful lesson, is the true way to love, without attachment.
Thanks Steveroni.

Maha said...

I am so glad for having found a musician's and a thinker's blog. i loved the analogy you skillfully used to make us see things better.

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Ily said...

Emotional carryover...I never heard it worded like that but it makes SO MUCH sense. What a great night for me to read this after my latest post (which left me drained). Thanks for sharing this, my friend. :)

G-Man said...

One things certain here Steve.
You love life, and you love living!

Katherine said...

What a deep & very meaningful post! I totally get what is being said in this post and agree. Life is like a symphony but I think I am that little drum that just can't keep the beat!
I would love for it to be as easily achieved as is explained in this excerpt.
But achieving this kind of peace & unattached happiness seems almost unachievable for me.
I am so heavily relied upon by many within my immediate family & through circumstances spend most of my waking hours taking care of others needs...both at home & at work! It is very hard for me to detach!! Very, very hard!

Katherine said...

I should have also said that I am happy though but it's just a different kinda happiness!!

izzy said...

thanks for leaving the name of this book on my blog- I came across it yesterday.

Tina said...

What a great extended metaphor! I love how you took your (obvious from your profile) love of music to explain the insight at which you have arrived. I'm impressed! Thanks so much for your lovely comments at Life is Good. Nice to meet you!