Anthony de Mello’s phrases reveal to us the wisdom of an ecumenical character who was able to grasp essential aspects of contemporary spirituality. He himself was the synthesis of various cultures and beliefs.
He was born in Mumbai, India, but unlike most of his compatriots, he was a Catholic. He became a priest of the Jesuit order. He moved to the United States where he gained some fame thanks to his sermons and his books.
Many quotes from Anthony de Mello do not embody a specific principle. The author mixes elements of Eastern religions with a Catholic and social message. While some found his way of thinking controversial, what is certain is that millions of people around the world have benefited from his teachings. Here are some of his most famous phrases.
1. One of Anthony de Mello’s best known phrases
This is undoubtedly one of de Mello’s most famous phrases: “Happiness cannot depend on events. It is your reaction to events that makes you suffer ”.
As you can see, the strong influence of Eastern philosophies is felt in this statement. It reminds us that reality does not give rise to happiness or suffering, which instead depend only on our inner world. What matters is our response to the facts, not the facts themselves.
2. Others are a mirror
Another phrase from Anthony de Mello reads: “Look at people and things not as they are, but as you are”. Once again the idea he wants to convey to us is that everything depends on our approach to life, on how we build our world.
This phrase also refers to an aspect of psychoanalysis: the mechanisms of projection. It is our way of seeing that shapes what we see.
3. The lighting
Illumination is one of the concepts that continually recurs in Anthony de Mello’s sentences. It has a meaning similar to the Buddhist one, that is, it is a sort of awakening of the deep conscience that allows you to get in touch with reality in a more genuine way.
Anthony de Mello states: “Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable”. It’s a nice way of saying that clarity comes from accepting things as they are. In fact, we must not only accept them, but “cooperate”. In other words, let them take their course and get involved in their dynamism.
4. Contact with nature
This sentence is a reflection on life in the city: “When you are too far from nature, your spirit withers and dies because it has been violently separated from its roots”.
This thought is very interesting because it seems that one of the main sources of stress for those who live in the city is precisely the lack of contact with nature. This is why many contemporary therapies involve contact with other living beings to heal.
5. Contemporary addictions
This sentence sums up various contemporary evils: “ Approval, success, praise, valorization are the drugs with which society has fueled our addiction to the point that suffering is terrible if we do not always have them available”.
We are surprised by the lucidity of this statement. Anthony de Mello died in 1987, he was unable to witness the massification of new technologies. However, he already had an inkling of what human relationships would be like, as the last sentence of this compilation suggests. Furthermore, it warns us of new forms of addiction that only cause suffering.
Anthony de Mello is more than just a best-selling author . The clarity and kindness with which this character shared his teachings made him one of the most important guides in the contemporary world. Deep faith in love was a great source of inspiration for him and he firmly believed that words could change the world.