Who is this “I” ?

Am I my thoughts, the thoughts that I am thinking?  No.  Thoughts come and go; I am not my thoughts.

Am I my body?  They tell us that millions of cells in our body are changing or are renewed every minute, so that by the end of seven years we don’t have a single living cell in our body that was there seven years before.  Cells come and go.  Cells arise and die.  But “I” seems to persist.  So am I my body?  Evidently not!

“I” is something other and more than the body.  You might say the body is part of “I” but it is a changing part.  It keeps moving.  It keeps changing.   We have the same name for it but it constantly changes. Just as we have the same name for Niagara Falls, but Niagara Falls is constituted by water that is constantly changing.  We use the same name for an ever-changing reality.

How about my name?  Is “I” my name” Evidently not because I can change my name without changing the “I”.

How about my career? How about my beliefs?  I say I am a Catholic, a Jew – is that an essential part of “I”?  When I move from one religion to another, has the “I” changed?  Do I have a new “I” … or is it the same “I” that has changed?

In other words, is my name an essential part of me, of the “I”?  Is my religion an essential part of the “I”?    Labels are so important to us.  We spend so much of our lives reacting to labels, our own and others.  We identify the labels with the “I”.

When you are caught up in labels, what value do these labels have, as far as the “I” is concerned?  Could we say that “I” is none of the labels we attach to it? Labels belong to “me”.  What constantly changes is “me”.  Does “I” ever change?

The fact is that no matter what labels you think of (except perhaps human being) you should apply them to “me”.  Suffering exists in “me” so when you identify “I” with “me” suffering begins.

For example, say that you are afraid or desirous or anxious.  When “I” does not identify with money, or name, or nationality, or persons, or friends, or any quality, the “I” is never threatened.  It can be very active, but it isn’t threatened.

Think of anything that caused or is causing you pain or worry or anxiety.  First you can pick up the desire under that suffering, that there’s something you desire very keenly or else you wouldn’t be suffering.  What is that desire?  Second, it isn’t simply a desire; there is an identification there.  You have somehow said to yourself, “The Well-being of ‘I’, almost the existence of ‘I’ is tied up with this desire.”

All suffering is caused by my identifying myself with something, whether that something is within me or outside of me.

Extract from the section ‘The Stripping of “I”!”  in Awareness by Anthony de Mello

 

The terrible thing about religion

“…. The fact is that you’re surrounded by God and you don’t see God, because you “know” about God. The final barrier to the vision of God is your God concept.

You miss God because you think you know. That’s the terrible thing about religion.

That’s what the gospels were saying, that religious people “knew,” so they got rid of Jesus.

The highest knowledge of God is to know God as unknowable. There is far too much God talk; the world is sick of it. There is too little awareness, too little love, too little happiness, but let’s not use those words either. There’s too little dropping of illusions, dropping of errors, dropping of attachments and cruelty, too little awareness. That’s what the world is suffering from, not from a lack of religion. Religion is supposed to be about a lack of awareness, of waking up. Look what we’ve degenerated into. …”      Extract from : The Anthony deMello Institute Goa: Awareness – 57

Awareness

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The most difficult thing is the world is to look, to see. We don’t want to look because if we do, we may change. If you look, you lose control of the life you are precariously holding onto. In order to wake up the one thing that you need the most….. is the readiness to learn something new.

The chances that you will wake up are in direct proportion to the amount of truth you can take without running away.

How much are you ready to take?  How much of everything you have held dear are you ready to have shattered without running away?  How ready are you to think of something unfamiliar?

The first reaction is one of fear.  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.

Extract :  Awareness – The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.  by Anthony De Mello

Choosing happiness …

If you had to choose between happiness and something or someone that you desperately want,  what would you choose?

It seems such an inane question  … but think about it a moment.  Aren’t there things in life, decisions we make every day that we know will not bring us happiness  – and yet we make them?

As Anthony Mello de Mello puts it in his reflections on Awareness:

“…. we don’t  want to be happy.  We want other things. Or let’s put it more accurately:  We don’t want to be unconditionally happy. I’m ready to be happy provided I have this, that and the other thing. But this is really to say to our friend, or to our God or to anyone, ‘You are my happiness.  If I don’t get you, I refuse to be happy.’

It’s so important to understand that.  We cannot imagine being happy without those conditions.  That’s pretty accurate.  We cannot conceive of being happy without them. We’ve been taught to place our happiness in them.”   

So when you have to choose between happiness and something or someone that you want, what will you choose ?   Honestly …..

Tips for Photography, Prayer … and Life.

I have been participating in a Mundane Monday Challenge created by Jithin @ Photrablogger

 “to find beauty in almost everything. The challenge is simple :  find beauty in everyday mundane things, capture the beauty and upload the photographs.”

I came across this during my ‘retreat’ time today and would like to share with all those participating in the challenge.  It is a great tip on AWARENESS AND PAYING ATTENTION. 

Advice That Applies in More Than One Context

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My advice: Slow down. Pause to savor the moment. Breathe deeply. Think about how things smell, what the air feels like on your skin, and look at what you’re seeing: the colors, the shapes, the shadows. Think about how it came to be.

Sound like advice for prayer? It certainly could be applied to that, but the advice comes from Josh Noel in an article on taking amazing travel photos.

At this time of year, when many of us are looking forward to summer vacations, the advice to slow down and pay attention is well-timed—and appropriate for both photography and a life of prayer.

And if you get that great travel shot in a prayerful moment, please share it with us at our sister blog, Picturing God.

Minimal on my mind …

With Photrabloggers Minimal Touch challenge on my mind, I just had to click on this sign in a little car eco-testing bay in which you could not drive at 5 kmph (3 mph) if you tried!   So this is my tongue in cheek entry for the “most minimal”  you can go … or is it least minimal  🙂 ?

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Minimal Speed

And this is my attempt at a minimal touch photography !

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Minimal Action !

I wonder … does it qualify ?  🙂

Actually it does not matter – for Jithin (Photrablogger) encourages you to take the most mundane pictures and look at it through rose coloured spectacles  … to see beauty in the day to day things around you.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in this challenge to ‘awareness of the things around us’ so please feel free to send in your efforts at finding beauty in the most mundane.