One of the best ways to start a new year is to read a powerful book that can change your life. Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality certainly fits that category.
Awareness is about waking up, and fairly abruptly to boot. Anthony De Mello’s teaching style is very direct. Unlike many other books out there that attempt to handle this topic, you won’t find any new age fluff or religious dogma in this book. Instead you’ll find a serious challenge to your ego interspersed with some interesting stories.
One of the first things I noticed after reading this book is the difference between “trying to stay present” and simply being aware. If you are “trying” to live in the present moment, you might find that you judge yourself when your mind wanders away from the present moment. You may feel that you “failed’ to stay present. But when practicing awareness, you transcend that dynamic. You are aware that your mind is wandering, and you are also able to observe any resulting judgment of yourself.
This book also helped me tune in to my motives for the things that I do. By allowing myself to observe my own thoughts without judging myself, I am suddenly way more honest with myself. As a result of this, I’ve noticed myself passing on things that I simply don’t want to partake in. Where before there might have been some guilt, fear, or other emotion motivating my behavior, now there is the awareness that those emotions are the result of conditioning, and their power over me is waning. It’s as if I was manipulating myself and now I’ve stopped. It’s very liberating.
Although I suspect this book will affect every reader differently, there is a good chance that most people who read it will find it hard to dodge its message.