Anthony de Mello: Christian teachings in Eastern form

Church Goa India

On a recent long flight I read 2 books by Anthony de Mello, ‘Sadhana: The path to God’, and ‘The way to love’

These fabulous books weave Christianity together with a myriad of spiritual teachings and are very enlightening and inclusive in thier approach. The word Sadhana can be translated from the Hindi to English as “Path to God” and this gives an idea on the teachings of Anthony De Mello, a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist from Bombay, India who had the gift of being able to transcend culture and religious background by writing in a multi-religious context making his work relevant to followers of non-Christian religions, agnostics, atheists, and all who find themselves on a spiritual search

Although a Catholic Jesuit Priest, Tony considers Jesus as a master alongside others. The only difference from other men is that Jesus is “awake” and fully free, while others are not. Jesus is not recognized as the only Son of God, but simply as the one who teaches us that all people are children of God, a view that I find refreshing in Christianity.

Both books are wonderful for those who wish to experience a mystical ‘God-centredness’ in meditation, and in a way that includes the wisdom of many different spiritual traditions alongside Christianity.

In ‘Sadhana: Away to God’ Anthony offers 47 exercises derived from Zen Buddhist sources, Hindu teachings, Christian scripture, and psychology. Although the book is described as ‘bringing the whole person to prayer’ I found it a means of discovering satisfying depths of meditation that included ‘God’ alongside the feeling of wakefulness that happens when one has the increased ability to see God in all things including objects of our imagination. As well as the Eastern traditions I found the ‘journey’ approach very much like Shamanism, where the journey is used as a means of enriching meditation or prayer.

‘The Way to love’ inspires deep contemplation,  In this book Anthony at first invites us to ‘wake up’. Most people, Anthony de Mello maintains, are asleep. They need to wake up, open up their eyes, see what is real, both inside and outside of themselves.

“It is said that love is blind but nothing is as clear sighted as love, the thing that is blind is not love but attachment”.

The reader is invited to look at thier own attachment to power, our own popularity, self-promotion and to see how in our attempt to gain the world end up living unnatural meaningless and soulless lives borne from the emotional state of believing that without some particular person or thing we cannot be happy…on the path to love we need to consider dealing with the ego and attachments, by dropping them.

“If you want to know what it means to be happy, look at a flower, a bird, a child; they are perfect images of the kingdom. For they live from moment to moment in the eternal now with no past and no future. So they are spared the guilt and anxiety that so torment human beings and they are full of the sheer joy of living, taking delight not so much in persons or things as in life itself. As long as your happiness is caused or sustained by something or someone outside of you, you are still in the land of the dead. The day you are happy for no reason whatsoever, the day you find yourself taking delight in everything and in nothing, you will know that you have found the land of unending joy called the kingdom.”- Anthony de Mello

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The way to love


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