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from The Way to Love by Anthony De Mello . . .
It is not what you do that brings you the holiness that makes you whole. Holiness is not a prize that you can win or a change you can acquire by practicing some technique or a commodity that you can purchase from someone selling it. What matters is not what you do, but what you are and what you become. Holiness comes from within; it is a Grace, a Grace called awareness, a Grace called looking, observing, understanding. If you would only switch on the light of awareness and observe yourself and everything around you throughout the day, you would experience marvelous changes taking place within you, arising naturally, all by themselves.
If you would see yourself accurately, clearly, exactly as you are without the slightest distortion or addition or even the need to change, and you observed this reflection of yourself without any judgment or condemnation, you would experience marvelous changes coming about in you through the effortlessness of Grace. Only you will not be in control of those changes, or be able to plan them in advance, or decide how and when they are to take place. It is this nonjudgmental awareness alone that heals and changes and makes one grow. But in its own way and at its own time.
What specifically are you to be aware of?
Be aware of your reactions to people and events. Each time you are in the presence of a person, any person, or with Nature or with any particular situation, you have all sorts of reactions, positive and negative. Study those reactions, observe what exactly they are and where they come from, without any sermonizing or guilt or even any desire, much less effort to change them. That is all that one needs for holiness to arise.
But isn’t awareness itself an effort, you might ask.
Not if you have experienced the Grace called awareness even once. For then you will understand that awareness is a delight, the delight of a little child moving out in wonder to discover the world. For even when awareness uncovers unpleasant things in you, it always brings liberation and joy. Then you will know that the unaware life is not worth living, it is too full of darkness and pain.
One more thing that is important: If at first there is a sluggishness in practicing awareness don’t force yourself. That would be an effort again. Just be aware of your sluggishness without any judgment or condemnation. You will then understand that awareness involves as much effort as a lover makes to go to his or her beloved.