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.” That’s a self-evident truth. Most people don’t live aware lives. They live mechanical lives, mechanical thoughts—generally somebody else’s—mechanical emotions, mechanical actions, mechanical reactions.

Do you want to see how mechanical you really are? “My, that’s a lovely shirt you’re wearing.” You feel good hearing that. For a shirt, for heaven’s sake! You feel proud of yourself when you hear that.

People come over to my center in India and they say, “What a lovely place, these lovely trees” (for which I’m not responsible at all), “this lovely climate.” And already I’m feeling good, until I catch myself feeling good, and I say, “Hey, can you imagine anything as stupid as that?” I’m not responsible for those trees; I wasn’t responsible for choosing the location. I didn’t order the weather; it just happened. But “me” got in there, so I’m feeling good. I’m feeling good about “my” culture and “my” nation.

How stupid can you get? I mean that. I’m told my great Indian culture has produced all these mystics. I didn’t produce them. I’m not responsible for them. Or they tell me, “That country of yours and its poverty—it’s disgusting.” I feel ashamed. But I didn’t create it. What’s going on? Did you ever stop to think?

People tell you, “I think you’re very charming,” so I feel wonderful. I get a positive stroke (that’s why they call it I’m O.K., you’re O.K.). I’m going to write a book someday and the title will be I’m an Ass, You’re an Ass. That’s the most liberating, wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you’re an ass. It’s wonderful. When people tell me, “You’re wrong.” I say, “What can you expect of an ass?”