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Although Anthony De Mello was a Jesuit priest, this book is not a Catholic or Christian book. It is a spiritually centered book. As Anthony De Mello often said, “Spirituality is about waking up.” Thus, this book begs the question, wake up to what? 
 
Wake up to the divinity that is all around you and within you. Believe it or not, it is right here within easy grasp, there for the taking. This divinity is what Christ described as the kingdom of joy. It is all about you, there to make your life meaningful, beautiful, and rich. The great irony is that you have always lived in the kingdom of joy, albeit unsuspectingly. This book helps you rediscover that all is well, that Reality is there; God is there. Love is there. It’s all there. But you are not seeing Reality; you are not seeing that all is well because you are asleep.

How could this have happened? Society programmed the kingdom of joy out of you by programming into you a set of false beliefs that superimpose illusion over Reality. It’s tantamount to being hypnotized to see what is not there, and not see what is there. This book offers a return to what people everywhere are searching for and rarely find. Namely, the fountainhead of peace and joy that hides in every human heart waiting to be rediscovered. 


We were born happy. We lost it. We were born with the gift of life. We lost it. We’ve got to rediscover it. The world is full of sorrow. The root of sorrow is attachment, desire. An attachment is any person, possession, or outcome you believe you cannot be happy without. It is a false belief we’ve all swallowed hook, line, and sinker. The truth is that at every moment we have everything we need to be happy, and the only reason we are ever unhappy is when we are focused on what we don’t have. We have been socialized to focus perpetually on what we don’t have. The end result is sorrow. Thus, the uprooting of sorrow is the dropping of attachment.

 

Some people fear that the dropping of attachment means renouncing the material world. No. One uses the material world; one enjoys the material world, but one does not make one’s happiness depend on the material world. The irony is, when you are detached from the material world as you pursue success and cultivate relationships, you actually enjoy the process more than when you believe self-worth, inner peace, and happiness depend on the outcomes of an unpredictable and mercurial world.


The profound realization available in A Year with Anthony De Mello is summed up in the words of Meister Eckhart. He said, “God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop attachments. You don’t do anything to liberate yourself; you drop illusions. Then you’re free… So, you can stop wasting your energy changing your looks, your lifestyle, your personality. You can stop moving from one lover to another, one job to another, one place to another. Deep down you know you could change every one of these things and still be unhappy.


The kingdom of joy is attained by waking up to what is there already. How? By cultivating awareness. Give time to being aware in the way Anthony De Mello describes in this book and you will see a difference in a matter of weeks. You will come home to yourself. The quality of your everyday experience will change. You will see things you’ve never seen before. Beautiful things. You will be much more alive. You will be yourself, relaxed, free of tension and the fear of failing.

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A Year with Anthony De Mellois a guided journal, divided into 52-week segments. Each week’s segment opens up with a key teaching from one of Anthony De Mello’s writings. The teaching is followed by a story in the form of a short parable or koan that further illustrates the teaching. Following each week’s teaching and story is a self-observation section in which you reflect on the week’s teaching through two simple exercises. You can also journal in the blank ruled pages that follow each self-observation section.


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