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Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  11,223 ratings  ·  832 reviews
The heart of Anthony de Mello's bestselling spiritual message is awareness. Mixing Christian spirituality, Buddhist parables, Hindu breathing exercises, and psychological insight, de Mello's words of hope come together in Awareness in a grand synthesis.

In short chapters for reading in quiet moments at home or at the office, he cajoles and challenges: We must leave this go-
Paperback, First Paperback Edition, 184 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Image (first published 1990)
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Chris Merck Indeed it's an odd choice to use "I" and "me" to distinguish two different selves. It would have been clearer had de Mello used terms like "I-awarenes…moreIndeed it's an odd choice to use "I" and "me" to distinguish two different selves. It would have been clearer had de Mello used terms like "I-awareness" and "the Self", but then again, one of the book's advantages is its lack of jargon.(less)

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Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: future enlightened souls
This is one of the more personally challenging books I've ever read. It made me think... hard. I wanted to sit down and argue with this guy. I didn't like how it was written. I didn't like what he said about people and selfishness and being and love, but I can't stop thinking about it. The more time passes, the more I think thiss asshole is on to something. The Pope must have thoght so too, since he EXCOMMUNICATED HIM FOR WRITING IT. ...more
Tom LA
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
"You guys are such idiots. Just look at you all. Fretting about, worrying, stressing about everything... But hey, I have the key to take all of your stresses away! Yes, I do! Look closely in my eyes, though, because before you have the chance to ask me what that key is, and why I'm not explaining it properly to you, I'm going to slam a little cute story in your face that is going to distract you from the fact that I have actually just told you nothing at all". Voilà! Clap! Boom! It's magic!

Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I picked up this book at a monastery in Northern California about 10 years ago and have kept it close ever since.

De Mello, espousing no religious agenda, contends we've been brainwashed as to our typical ideas of love and happiness. This untypical priest--his writings were denounced by the Pope--says our attachments, illusions, conditioning and general unawareness keep us anxiety-ridden. (Maybe the Pope didn't like de Mello's appreciation of the prostitute scene in Fellini's "8 1/2.")

The author
Anita Louise
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My favorite spiritual book. Anthony de Mello helped me to understand, "I'm an ass, you're an ass". He tells us we're all sleeping, and he clobbers us over the head with a wake up call. ...more
Feb 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
How to write a best-selling spiritual / self-improvement book?
Challenge peoples' thoughts. Destroy their beliefs, no matter what they are. Tell them how miserably they are leading their lives, what scoundrels and idiots they have been all through.
(Yes, people love to hear that. Probably, that's the reason they have taken up that book/course. A perfectly happy person would seldom pick-up a spiritually enlightening book.)
Ask them tough questions. What is "happiness"? Who is "I"? What is life's go
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Awareness, Anthony de Mello's most popular book, is a beautiful bridge between Western and Eastern spiritual thought. de Mello was a Roman Catholic priest who grew up in India, and his intimate familiarity with both traditions combined with a deep understanding of world mysticism provide seekers of a Western background (i.e., Christian) a thought provoking introduction to Eastern spiritual thought. After his death in 1987, de Mello was censured by the Vatican's Defeneders of the Faith (headed at ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Awareness Review

Well, I must really love this book. I’ve read it 3 times in my life. There was a time in my life where I wanted to wake each day with a favorite quote – I chose 52 different quotes (one for each randomly drawn card from a deck) from 5-6 books, with about 10 of the quotes from this one. The reading this most recent time in an effort to better understand the culture of India, where I am now working with several of their citizens. Anthony de Mello brought Buddhist parables, Hindu ph
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Book that tought me that I am not my emotions, and to wake up, which I haven't really done, because I have too many snooze buttons. ...more
Jun 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Zen enthusiasts
Shelves: essays-ideas
Considering the length of Awareness (184 pages), it’s taken me a long time to read what I have of it. As a matter of fact, I haven’t quite finished it, but it’s due at the library and I’m taking it back.

It’s taken a long time to read, partly because the book is a collection of meditations and, of course, the whole point is to take time to reflect on them. In addition, though, I have to say that, like a dictionary, it offers very little in the way of plot. There’s just one message in each of its
Garland Vance
Aug 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
I hated almost every minute of this book but had to read it for a class. de Mello combines Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and New Age worldviews mixed with a dose of radical individualism to create a spirituality devoid of any significant beliefs except for the fact that we don't need other people if we are aware of ourselves.

Throughout the book there were sentences and sometimes paragraphs that I thought were insightful. But I continually found myself wishing that I was finished with this book. FIN
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After quite some time, I finished reading "Awareness" by Anthony de Mello.
Although it is not long, and the language is not difficult, the book is not easy to read or like. It is not written for entertainment, but for thinking, thinking beyond everyday routine. It criticizes society and human values. It will turn your world upside down, well, at least that's what I felt after reading it. I think it will take me forever to process everything I read in the book, and, probably, forever would not be
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I have read this one 5 times now. How obvious it is that we don't want to wake up. We don't want to admit, or give up our attachments! I have tried to focus on his teachings for years now, and denounce my attachments but I always end up back in square one. I fall into the same patterns and expectations. How did he do this? Better, how do I do this? My biggest concern with this book is that he wants us to "give up" attachments like our family for example. He claims that once you no longer "need" ...more
Renée Paule
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love, love, love this book and I'll read it again very soon. Anthony was in love with life and humanity and, provided you have an open mind, you will be also when you finish reading this book. Highly recommended. ...more
Anthony de Mello was an indian Jesuit priest and a psychotherapist. The book definitely felt like reading a speech. De Mello argues that life is easy only if you let go of your attachments, cravings and illusions. You’ve got to drop the labels and you’ve got to understand that the negative feelings you experience are in you and not in the external world around you. Until you drop everything, you can’t experience happiness because true happiness is uncaused unlike excitement. In order to change, ...more
Iliana Gonzalez
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
"on dependence:
---to depend on another emotionally-- what does it imply? it means to depend on another human being for my happiness. Think about that. Because if you do, the next thing you will be doing is demanding other people contribute to your happiness... Perfect love casts out of fear where theres is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you, If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself;
Ville Verkkapuro
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books books of happiness and enlightenment I have read. Eastern philosophy, critical towards modern consumerism etc.
The tone is magnificent: at times it feels almost angry, like it’s mocking me. I love it. And it’s very straight-forward, absolutely no bullshit. Some people will get hurt by this book.
The kind of selfishness that this book courages is very welcome to me. It is not selfishness, quite the opposite. We should all be on our path to clarity, we should all stare within,
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
If I could give this book a 10 stars, I would.

The reason why it took a while for me to finish this book is that it has so many passages that I would prefer to give them time to sink in before moving forward. Some of them made me silent within, that I had to pause. There are many fundamental truths expressed in the simplest and most blunt manner for anyone to get a glimpse of what it is to be trully aware.
Christopher Maricle
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is fun - not becuase it's light. It's because it feels like someone left a tape recorder on during a retreat and wrote down exactly what he said, so it feels like you are in the room with him, and his tone and charm come right off the page. But it's not simplistic - it's challenging. Best quote: "To see at last with a vision unclouded by fear or desire." ...more
Antti Lahtinen
While being generally entertaining, this book somewhat overstayed its welcome as the key points could have be fitted into a short essay. The "babbling" nature of writing started to get tedious towards the end. This would probably have been more interesting read around 10 years ago when the book's themes were a bit less saturated in the western discourse. ...more
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Liz by: My grandfather
Am I shaken to my core? Yes
Is that okay? Most definitely
Andrew Diamond
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book reads like a transcription of talks given before live audiences. The initial chapters read like the joke-filled exhortations of a professional self-help writer, but the book begins to deepen around pages 60-70. De Mello was a Jesuit priest, a trained psychologist, and apparently a devoted student of both Eastern and Western religion. His knowledge is broad and deep, and he has obviously brought great passion to his learning.

At its core, this book is about the difference between realit
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm glad I was able to hear the audio version of this book 'Awareness' which is definitely an eye opener in several aspects. Anthony de Mello talks about a lot of topics which all have the basic philosophy of awareness or 'waking up' to see reality as it is and not to cloud it with our biases. ...more
Vlad Lazăr
"Anytime you have a negative feeling toward anyone your leaving in an illusion. There's something seriously wrong with you.You're not seeing reality. Something inside of you has to change.But what do we generally do when we have a negative feeling? he is to blame, she is to blame.She's got to change. NO! The world's all right.The one who has to change is you."

I had a negative feeling toward this book from the first 10 pages I read even though i was very hyped and eager to read it. This paragraph
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing.

So short, so simple, yet so powerful. I was struck with its simple logic and its basic concepts and how hard these are for us to acknowledge. It will put a mirror to your soul and challenge you to reassess everything you ever though you knew.

This book puts into perspective how we make our own lives difficult and how we truly hold the power over true happiness. This is a book that I will read again and again. I highly recommend it to anyone that anyone that is in pursuit of
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
for all of the lost souls... you have arrived.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lively and heart felt writing. Has entertaining teaching stories throughout his essays
Adriana Popescu
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"If you wish to love, you must learn to see again. And if you wish to see, you must learn to give up your drug. (...) You don't have to go to the desert; you're right in the middle of people; you're enjoying them immensely. But they no longer have the power to make you happy or miserable. That's what aloneness means. In this solitude your dependence dies. The capacity to love is born. One no longer sees others as means of satisfying one's addiction. (...) If you ever get to this state, you will ...more
Wade Z
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A good read to accompany my own pursued interests in meditation and mindfulness. I've thought of what it means to be "intelligent" or "smart" for a long time, and why one should pursue these qualities, but all I've ever really understood is that it has to do with one's awareness and ignorance. After all, can you really hate someone for not wearing a mask during a pandemic if they aren't aware of the pandemic?

Outside philosophical or whatever spiritual topics though, this read also has some prett
Matthew Boak
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t looking for any specific help or guidance when I picked this up. It was mentioned in a letter a friend wrote me. It offered some helpful tips on how to be aware of my own experiences in life and how humans tend to let outside forces control how we think about ourselves and how we view our lives, as well as the many problems that can lead to. While I haven’t walked away a changed individual, I think this book recharged me and gave me some helpful phrases and ideas to keep in mind as I go ...more
G.R. Hewitt
A book worth reading.
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Anthony de Mello was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. An internationally acclaimed spiritual guide, writer and public speaker, de Mello hosted many spiritual conferences.

The few talks which he allowed to be filmed, such as "A Rediscovery of Life" and "A Way to God for Today," have inspired many viewers and audiences throughout the United St

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43 likes · 7 comments
“Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself; I enjoy your company immensely, but I do not cling.” 332 likes
“Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don't have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don't you experience it? Because you've got to drop something. You've got to drop illusions. You don't have to add anything in order to be happy; you've got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It's only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!” 112 likes
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