I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER FORGETTING IT

When the Master was a boy at school, a classmate treated him with persistent cruelty.

Now, older and contrite, he came to the monastery and was received with open arms.

One day he brought up the subject of his former cruelty, but the Master seemed not to recall it.

Said the visitor, “Don’t you remember?”

Said the Master, “I distinctly remember forgetting it!” so they both melted innocent laughter.

Source | Anthony de Mello SJ
Awakening: Conversations with the Masters
(Image, 2003) # 66

CONSIDER THIS

What do you distinctly remember forgetting, thus making space for deeper and more authentic connections and relationships?

A DOLL OF SALT

A doll of salt, after a long pilgrimage on dry land, came to the sea and discovered something she had never seen and could not possibly understand.  She stood on the firm ground, a solid little doll of salt, and saw there was another ground that was mobile, insecure, noisy, strange and unknown.  She asked the sea, “But what are you?” and it said, “I am the sea.”  And the doll said, “What is the sea?” to which the answer was, “It is me.”  Then the doll said, “I cannot understand, but I want to; how can I?”  The sea answered, “Touch me.”  So the doll shyly put forward a foot and touched the water and she got a strange impression that it was something that began to be knowable.  She withdrew her leg, looked and saw that her toes had gone, and she was afraid and said, “Oh, but where is my toe, what have you done to me?”  And the sea said, “You have given something in order to understand.”  Gradually the water took away small bits of the doll’s salt and the doll went farther and farther into the sea and at every moment she had a sense of understanding more and more, and yet of not being able to say what the sea was.  As she went deeper, she melted more and more, repeating: “But what is the sea?”  At last a wave dissolved the rest of her and the doll said: “It is I!”

Source | Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, Living Prayer ,
(Darton Longman and Todd, 19 66) pages 105-106

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a slightly different rendition

A salt doll journeyed for thousands of miles over land, until it finally came to the sea.

It was fascinated by this strange moving mass, quite unlike anything it had ever seen before.

“Who are you?” said the salt doll to the sea.

The sea smilingly replied, “Come in and see.”

So the doll waded in.

The farther it walked into the sea the more it dissolved, until there was only very little of it left. Before that last bit dissolved, the doll exclaimed in wonder, “Now I know what I am!”

Source | Anthony De Mello, Song of the Bird
(Image Books, 1984), page 98

CONSIDER THIS

  • I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.Galatians 2:19-20
  • What is it that you need to give and what is it that you need to receive for a better understanding of who you really are?
  • What do you think is the relationship between you and the other, you and the rest of creation, you and the Other?

THE MOON IN THE LAKE

A drunk was staggering across a bridge one night when he ran into a friend. The two of them leaned over the bridge and began chatting for a while.

“What’s that down there?” asked the drunk suddenly.

“That’s the moon,” said his friend.

The drunk looked again, shook his head in disbelief and said, “Okay, okay. But how the hell did I get way up here?”

__________

We almost never see reality. What we see is a reflection of it in the form of words and concepts which we then proceed to take for reality. The world we live in is mostly a mental construct. People feed on words, live by words, would fall apart without them.

Source  | Anthony de MelloTaking Flight
(Image, 1990) page 66

NON-VIOLENCE

A snake in the village had bitten so many people that few dared go into the fields.  Such was the Master’s holiness that he was said to have tamed the snake and persuaded it to practice the discipline of nonviolence.

It did not take long for the villager to discover that the snake had become harmless.  They took to hurling stones at it and dragging it about by its tail.

The badly battered snake crawled into the Master’s house one night to complain. Said the Master, “Friend, you have stopped frightening people,  that’s bad!”

“But it was you who taught me to practice the discipline of nonviolence!”

“I told you to stop hurting, not to stop hissing!”

Source | Anthony de Mello, SJ, One Minute Wisdom
(Image Books, 1988) page 45

PONDER AND CONSIDER

VIGILANCE

Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened?

As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.

Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?

To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.

Anthony de Mello sj, One Minute Wisdom
(Image, 1988) page 11

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. | Matthew 25:13
  • Are you awake or asleep … distracted or centred and focused?
  • What spiritual exercises do you engage on a daily basis to keep yourself mindful, he artful, alert and attentive?

ESCAPE

The master became a legend in his lifetime.  It was said that God once sought his advice: “I want to play a game of hide-and-seek with humankind.  I’ve asked my angels what the best place is to hide in.  Some say the depth of the ocean.  Others say the top of the highest mountain.  Others still the far side of the moon or a distant star.  What do you suggest?”

Said the Master, “Hide in the human heart.  That is the last place they will think of!”

Source | Anthony De Mello, One Minute Wisdom, page 44

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • “Looking for God is like seeking a path in a field of snow; if there is no path and you are looking for one, walk across it and there is your path.” | Thomas Merton
  • “Where do we begin?” asks Meister Eckhart. “Begin with the heart.”