Awareness by Anthony de Mello

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Unusual yet thought-provoking book which discusses number of aspects of spirituality different religions along with human nature written by a psychotherapist and Jewish priest from India.

Challenges people’s perception about what they do.  For example suggests that people who are helping others are doing this due to an underlying need to help themselves.  Even if they are helping others they are feeling good about themselves because they help others.

Suggests the ideal way to live is to be independently aware of yourself so you can look on situations as if you are an external person is looking in being objective. Be aware that you and all others are not perfect and you do not need to rely on approval from others to have a happy life!

Stresses that you should not say “I am sad” you should instead say “I feel sad at the moment but this is a temporary emotion that will pass”. Some wisdom for example you if a patient went to a doctor mentioned all their symptoms and the doctors action was to tell them to treat their neighbour with a medicine the patient may get upset.  The point it is trying to show is that the patient needs to take responsibility for themselves rather than seeking someone else to cure them, this bizarre point relates to the author’s counselling work he perform as a priest and psychotherapist. Seemingly in the confession box all prostitutes talk about is god and all priests talk about sex.  It is what you are deliberately trying to turn away that the author claims causes mental unease, if you accept things as they are life is better.

Quite a hard read as talks about the inevitability of death and how futile many human interactions are although a lot of content that’s interesting enough.

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