A Sufi’s Tale

The sufi Bayazid said this about himself: I was a revolutionary when I was young, and all my prayer to God was, “Lord, give me the energy to change the world.” As I approached middle age and realized that half my life was gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to “Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me—just my family and friends—and I…

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The Philosopher’s Tale

The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, “If you would learn to be subservient to the king, you would not have to live on lentils.” Said Diogenes, “Learn to live on lentils, and you will not have to cultivate the king.”

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Gone Fishing

A rich industrialist from the North was horrified to find the Southern fisherman lying lazily beside his boat, smoking a pipe. “Why aren’t you out fishing?” said the industrialist. “Because I have caught enough fish for the day,” said the fisherman. “Why don’t you catch some more?” “What would I do with it?” “You could earn more money,” was the reply. “With that, you could have a motor fixed to your boat and go into…

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Happiness

from One Minute Wisdom “I am in desperate need of help — or I’ll go crazy. We’re living in a single room, my wife, my children and my in-laws. So our nerves are on edge, we yell and scream at one another. The room is a hell.” “Do you promise to do whatever I tell you?” said the Master gravely. “I swear I shall do anything.” “Very well. How many animals do you have?” “A…

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Understanding

from One Minute Wisdom “How shall I get the grace of never judging my neighbor?” “Through prayer.” “Then why have I not found it yet?” “Because you haven’t prayed in the right place.” “Where is that?” “In the heart of God.” “And how do I get there?” “Understand that anyone who sins does not know what he is doing and deserves to be forgiven.”

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Clarity

from One Minute Wisdom “Don‘t look for God,” the Master said. “Just look — and all will be revealed.” “But how is one to look?” “Each time you look at anything, see only what is there and nothing else.” The disciples were bewildered, so the Master made it simpler: “For instance: When you look at the moon, see the moon and nothing else.” “What else could one see except the moon when one looks at…

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I’m an Ass; You’re an Ass; We’re All Asses

from Awareness by Anthony DeMello . . . There’s nothing so delightful as being aware. Would you rather live in darkness? Would you rather act and not be aware of your actions, talk and not be aware of your words? Would you rather listen to people and not be aware of what you’re hearing, or see things and not be aware of what you’re looking at? The great Socrates said, “The unaware life is not worth living.”…

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How Does One Lose Oneself?

from Awareness by Anthony DeMello . . . There is that marvelous sentence in the gospel about losing oneself in order to find oneself. One finds it in most religious literature and in all religious and spiritual and mystical literature. How does one lose oneself? Did you ever try to lose something? That’s right, the harder you try, the harder it gets. It’s when you’re not trying that you lose things. You lose something when you’re not…

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Clear Thinking

From The Way to Love by Anthony DeMello . . . What is clear thinking and how does one arrive at it? The first thing you must know is that it does not call for any great learning. It is so simple as to be within the reach of a ten-year-old child. What is needed is not learning but unlearning, not talent but courage. You will understand this if you think of a little child in the…

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The Darkness

from Wellspring by Anthony DeMello I think of myself as quite a decent person, good-hearted and respected, with minor sins and failings, until it dawns on me that the greatest sinners are the ones who sin in ignorance. I see the well intentioned damage “love” inflicts on helpless children. I see the marks of cruelty in fervently religious people. I see fair-minded Pharisees assess the evidence against Jesus and consider it their duty to do…

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