“Even though Anthony De Mello’s approach reaches such vast dimensions, it is one he made available to anyone willing to enter this work of the soul.”

People asked Tony De Mello all the time, “What do I need to do to change myself?” Here’s the surprise: you don’t have to do anything. In fact, the more you do, the worse it gets. The trouble with most people is that they’re busy trying to fix things in themselves that they really don’t understand.

Wake up! Stop fixing yourself. You’re OK. Simply observe and become aware.

The first thing you need is awareness of your negative feelings. Maybe you feel self-hatred or guilt. Maybe you feel that life is pointless, that it makes no sense. Maybe you’ve got hurt feelings, or you’re feeling nervous and tense. Get in touch with those feelings first, then understand that the feeling is in YOU, not in reality. Stop trying to change reality. And stop defining your essential self in terms of your feelings.

Don’t say, “I am depressed.” You’re defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That’s your illusion; that’s your mistake. Because everything passes—everything. Your depressions and your thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Happiness is not an achievement; love is not an achievement; holiness is not an achievement. They are each a grace—grace called awareness, a grace called looking, observing, and understanding.

Consider the example of Jesus, who combines a keen desire for change with an acceptance of reality as it is. Try to be like him. Try listening to what each of your feelings has to say until you feel a real acceptance of it, and you are no longer depressed about your depressions, angry over your anger, or frightened of your fears. Your feelings, and everything else—the external circumstances of your life, the happenings of the past, the whole world with old age, sickness, and death—somehow fit into God’s plan.

It is this nonjudgmental awareness alone that heals and changes, and makes one grow. But, in its own way and at its own time. And when you finally awaken to reality, your attachments will disappear, and you will enter the boundless realm of spiritual freedom called “love”—true union with God.

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People asked Anthony De Mello all the time, what do I need to do to change myself?” If you are one of those people, De Mello has a big surprise for you! You don’t have to do anything. In fact, the more you do, the worse it gets. All you have to do is understand. The trouble with most of us is that we’re busy trying to fix things in ourselves that we really don’t understand.

Related Podcasts

Below you will find a curated collection from the Happiness Podcast meant to help you gain awareness and continue your journey toward happiness.