The Enlightenment

from Wellspring by Anthony DeMello

When I try to change what I dislike in me by fighting it I merely push it underground. If I accept it, it will surface and evaporate. What I resist will stubbornly persist.

I consider the example of Jesus, who sets himself the task of moving mountains and battles with exasperating foes. Yet even in his anger he is loving—he combines a keen desire for change with an acceptance of reality as it is.

I try to be like him. I start with feelings I dislike. To each of them I talk in a loving, accepting kind of way and listen to what each has to say, till I discover that, while it can do me harm, it also does me good, that it is there for a benign purpose, which I now attempt to see.

I keep on with the dialogue till I feel a real acceptance of these feelings —acceptance, not approval, not resignation—so that I am no longer depressed about my depressions or angry with my anger or discouraged because of my discouragement or frightened of my fears or rejecting of my feelings of rejection. I can live with them in peace for I have seen that God can use them for my good.

I do the same with some of the many other things about my life that I want to change:

My body’s disabilities …

My personal shortcomings …

The external circumstances of my life …

The happenings of the past …

The persons with whom I live …

The whole world as it is …

Old age, sickness, death.

I speak to them with love and the consciousness that they somehow fit into God’s plan.

In doing so I undergo a transformation: while everything about me is the same —the world, my family, my feelings, my body, my neuroses—

I am the same no longer. I am more loving now, more accepting of what is undesirable. More peaceful, too, for having come to see that violence cannot lead to lasting change —only love and understanding can.