Anthony De Mello was a spiritual teach, writer, psychotherapist and Jesuit priest. Born in Bombay, India and also known as Tony De Mello, his teachings through his books and spiritual retreats touched many hearts and awakened the lives of those who followed him.
I learned about De Mello when an internet buddy of mine sent me an audio version of his famous teachings “Awareness”. I then purchased the book from Amazon as those audios completely changed my life and which later down the road lead me to experience a Kundalini Awakening.
De Mello and his many other teachings have stayed very close to my heart ever since and I often refer to them to raise my awareness and develop my wisdom.
In this post, I share 19 of my favourite Anthony De Mello quotes that will inspire you in your awakening journey.
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I hope you love these quotes as much as I do, some may seem a little controversial and hard to understand for those new to his work, but I do believe they come from a place of true love and acceptance.
1. “The tragedy of an attachment is that if its object is not attained it causes unhappiness. But if it is attained, it does not cause happiness – it merely causes a flash of pleasure followed by weariness, and it is always accompanied, of course, by the anxiety that you may lose the object of your attachment.”
2. “Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself; I enjoy your company immensely, but I do not cling.”
3. “You see persons and things not as they are but as you are.”
4. “Any time you are with anyone or think of anyone you must say to yourself: I am dying and this person too is dying, attempting the while to experience the truth of the words you are saying. If every one of you agrees to practice this, bitterness will die out, harmony will arise.”
5. “When you come to see you are not as wise today as you thought you were yesterday, you are wiser today.”
6. “Work becomes spiritual only when it is transformed into play.”
8. “Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.”
9. “The genius of a composer is found in the notes of his music; but analyzing the notes will not reveal his genius. The poet’s greatness is contained in his words; yet the study of his words will not disclose his inspiration. God reveals himself in creation; but scrutinize creation as minutely as you wish, you will not find God, any more than you will find the soul through careful examination of your body.”
10. “Is it possible for the rose to say, “I will give my fragrance to the good people who smell me, but I will withhold it from the bad?” Or is it possible for the lamp to say, “I will give my light to the good people in this room, but I will withhold it from the evil people?” Or can a tree say, “I’ll give my shade to the good people who rest under me, but I will withhold it from the bad?” These are images of what love is about.”
11. “You know, all mystics – Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion – are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.”
12. “If what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else.” “I know. An overwhelming passion for it.” “No. An unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong.”
13. “If you look carefully you will see that there is one thing and only one thing that causes unhappiness. The name of that thing is attachment. What is an attachment? An emotional state of clinging caused by the belief that without some particular thing or some person you cannot be happy.”
14. “You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something.”
15. “What is love?”; “The total absence of fear,” said the Master; “What is it we fear?”; “Love,” said the Master.”
16. “What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you.”
17. “You are never in love with anyone. You’re only in love with your prejudiced and hopeful idea of that person.”
18. “The butterfly in a caterpillar: the eagle in an egg; the saint in a selfish human being.”
19. “Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.”