THE WAY TO LOVE
(The last meditations of Anthony De Mello)
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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
WHAT MUST I DO?
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?"