Friday, November 25, 2011

One Minute Wisdom

I have enjoyed the writing of Anthony de Mello for many years.

You may find the Wikipedia info interesting, especially on the Pope’s opinion!

His “One Minute Wisdom” book is in the library of the monastery where I have done several retreats. I am drawn to it each time I’m there for the freshness of his thinking and his gentle humor.

In my next few blog postings I’ll share stories from his book.

Here are a few words from the introduction to set the stage.

“The Master in these tales is not a single person... His wisdom belongs to East and West alike. Do his historical antecedents really matter? History, after all, is the record of appearances, not Reality; of doctrines, not of Silence.

It will only take a minute to read each of the anecdotes that follow. You will probably find the Master’s language baffling, exasperating, even downright meaningless. This, alas, is not an easy book! It was written, not to instruct, but to Awaken. Concealed within its pages (not in the printed words, not even in the tales, but in its spirit, its mood, its atmosphere) is a Wisdom which cannot be conveyed in human speech. As you read the printed page and struggle with the Master’s cryptic language it is possible that you will unwittingly chance upon the Silent Teaching that lurks within the book, and be Awakened - and transformed. This is what Wisdom means: to be changed without the slightest effort on your part, to be transformed, believe it or not, merely by waking to the reality that is not words, that lies beyond the reach of words.”

When it comes to our own spiritual nurture, and spiritual growth, we can become discouraged. It is common for me to arrive at plateaus in my practice and in my relationship with God. I’m grateful for the reminder in the teaching of Centering Prayer that the most important part of the practice is doing it, not in any results or feelings of spiritual closeness. Here is Tony’s take on it!

“Is there such a thing as One Minute Wisdom”

“There certainly is,” said the Master.

“But surely one minute is to brief?”

“It is fifty-nine seconds too long.”

To his puzzled disciples the Master later said, “How much time does it take to catch sight of the moon?”

“Then why all these years of spiritual endeavor?”

“Opening one’s eyes may take a lifetime. Seeing is done in a flash.”

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