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From The Way to Love by Anthony De Mello . . .
What we call the experience of happiness is not happiness at all but the excitement and thrill caused by some person or thing or event. True happiness is un-caused. You are happy for no reason at all. And true happiness cannot be experienced. It is not within the realm of consciousness. It is un-self-consciousness.
Spend some time in becoming aware of the fact that all the virtue that you can see in yourself is no virtue at all but something that you have cunningly cultivated and produced and forced on yourself. If it were real virtue you would have enjoyed it thoroughly and would feel so natural that it wouldn’t occur to you to think of it as a virtue.
So, the first quality of holiness is its un-self-consciousness. The second quality is its effortlessness.
Effort can change behavior; it cannot change you. Think of this: Effort can put food into your mouth, it cannot produce an appetite; it can keep you in bed, it cannot produce sleep; it can make you reveal a secret to another but it cannot produce trust; it can force you to pay a compliment, it cannot produce genuine admiration; effort can perform acts of service, it is powerless to produce love or holiness. All you can achieve by your effort is repression, not genuine change and growth. Change is only brought about by awareness and understanding. Understand your unhappiness and it will disappear-what results is the state of happiness. Understand your pride and it will drop what results will be humility. Understand your fears and they will melt-the resultant state is love. Understand your attachments _and they will vanish-the consequence is freedom. Love and freedom and happiness are not things that you can cultivate and produce. You cannot even know what they are. All you can do is observe their opposites and, through your observation, cause these opposites to die.
There is a third quality of holiness: It cannot be desired. If you desire happiness you will be
anxious lest you do not attain it. You will be constantly in a state of dissatisfaction; and dissatisfaction and anxiety kill the very happiness that they set out to gain. When you desire holiness for yourself you feed the very greed and ambition that make you so selfish and vain and unholy.
Here is something you must understand: There are two sources for change within you.
One is the cunningness of your ego that pushes you into making efforts to become something other than you are meant to be so that it can give itself a boost, so that it can glorify itself.
The other is the wisdom of Nature. Thanks to this wisdom you become aware, you understand it. That is all you do, leaving the change-type, the manner, the speed, the time of change-to Reality and to Nature. Your ego is a great technician. It cannot be creative. It goes in for methods and techniques and produces so-called holy people who are rigid, consistent, mechanical, lifeless, as intolerant of others as they are of themselves-violent people the very opposite of holiness and love. The type of “spiritual” people who, conscious of their spirituality, then proceed to crucify the Messiah.
Nature is not a technician. Nature is creative. You will be a creator, not a wily technician when there is abandonment in you-no greed, no ambition, no anxiety, no sense of striving, gaining, arriving, attaining. All there is, is a keen, alert, penetrating, vigilant awareness that causes the dissolution of all one’s foolishness and selfishness, all one’s attachments and fears. The changes that follow are not the result of your blueprints and efforts but the product of Nature that spurns your plans and will, thereby leaving no room for a sense of merit or achievement or even any consciousness on the part of your left hand of what Reality is doing by means of your right.