Farewell now to deMello.
We shall return though, as he has written many books full of wisdom. Before we leave ‘awareness’, let us consider a few more of his words and advice. Meditating on death, on your own death, visualizing yourself lying in your coffin as you slowly decay is an important aspect of Tibetan Buddhist meditation. We shall revisit this concept many times, not least when we read ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’
Contemplating on your future death is considered important for two reasons; firstly by recognizing how short life is we are less likely to waste it and more likely to try to make it meaningful and secondly, we are less likely to be afraid of death when our time comes. deMello tells us, “I’ve often said to people that the way to really live is to die. The passport to living is to imagine yourself in your grave. Imagine that you’re lying in your coffin”, “You see the body decomposing, then bones, then dust”. “Now look at your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything, doesn’t it?”
Mark’s Gospel is generally considered to have been the first to have been written and, therefore, perhaps, to be the most authentic. Certainly, there is much in some of the other Gospels which is not in Mark’s. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is portrayed as a man in a hurry. This is one of the reasons I love this Gospel. Wouldn’t you be in a hurry if you knew you had such an important message to pass on and only a very short time to teach it. Its likely that Jesus often envisaged his own death and knew that it would not be long before he met it. We know little about the first thirty years of Jesus’s life, but we can pretty safely assume that much of it was spent in meditation and prayer. It is unlikely that Jesus became as wise as he was without practicing awareness and contemplating on his death.
One of the other issues that deMello raises briefly in ‘Awareness’ is Jesus as a Mystic. We shall look at this more in the future but for now we just need to be aware of that possibility, probability even if we consider that mystics are people who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.
deMello finishes ‘Awareness’ with the message, “I’ve given you a whole program for life, haven’t I?” And, of course, he has. Earlier, he reminded us, “Lots of people gain the world and lose their souls” Don’t be one of them. Listen to deMello’s wisdom, read ‘Awareness’ for yourself, contemplate on what he has written there.
We will leave with some words of St Thomas Aquinas which deMello quotes in his book. “Since we cannot know what God is, but only what God is not, we cannot consider how God is, but only how He is not”. “This is what is ultimate in the human knowledge of God – to know that we do not know God”.
This serves nicely as an introduction to the next book we shall consider.