By now, we are almost ready for the 4 Steps to Wisdom deMello wishes to teach us. These are, in his own words, “The first thing you need to do is get in touch with negative feelings that you’re not even aware of”, “The first thing you need is awareness of your negative feelings”. “The second step is to understand that the feeling is in you, not in reality”.
These steps most of us can handle. They are easy enough to understand although difficult to really know and accept. The problem lies within, deMello tells us, “Negative feelings are in you, not in reality. So stop trying to change reality. That’s crazy! Stop trying to change the other person. We spend all our time and energy trying to change external circumstances, trying to change our spouses, our bosses, our friends, our enemies, and everybody else. We don’t have to change anything. Negative feelings are in you. No person on earth has the power to make you unhappy.”
The third step is, “Never identify with that feeling. It has nothing to do with the ‘I’. My feelings are in me, they are not me. This requires a degree of awareness and a considerable amount of practice. The strongest feelings are the most difficult to observe, to dis-identify with. Practice with the everyday feelings and then you will be ready for that flush of rage, that surge of righteous indignation, the overpowering feeling of entitlement.
Now we approach the top of the steps. The fourth step is to change yourself. Something has to change! deMello tells us, “The person who is asleep always thinks he’ll feel better if somebody else changes. You’re suffering because you are asleep, but you’re thinking, ‘How wonderful life would be if somebody else would change; how wonderful life would be if my neighbour changed, my wife changes, my boss changed”.
We all want that, don’t we. We want the situation to change, for other people to change, so that we can be happy. We want everything to be right so that we can feel good. “Wrong”, says deMello, “The world is right because I feel good. That’s what all the mystics are saying”.
Let us take the first step or two. Let us begin. Even though there are only four steps, they must be climbed again and again, every time a new situation arises. Time is short, let us begin