WOW! My goal of 50 books in 2020 is DONE!
What a wonderful book to hold as I cross that finish line.
So much of what we call happiness is thrust upon us by external forces. We are told that riches, fame, and approval will make us happy. Most of the time they leave us empty, especially when compared to the internal feelings we acquire from our soul. These are the positive emotions we get when we see a sunset, read a great book, play with our kids or cross a finish line. These are the things we truly love. It’s the difference between being empty and being nourished.
Anthony De Mello was a Jesuit priest who wrote down these 32 meditations just before dying. In these short meditations, he teaches us how to seek true love rather than the emptiness the world tells us we should pursue, that which our cultural programming tries to define, but which is actually undefinable. We either have it or we don’t.
De Mello challenges us to open our eyes and to see more clearly that our ill-conceived attachments are not making us happy and we must shed them if we are to truly love. Those attachments stop us from loving other things and love excludes nothing. It’s like loving drums so much that when you hear a symphony you only hear the drums, which stops you from hearing the beautiful music of the entire work.
Obviously, this passage hit me square in the jaw:
”You were bent on winning an election and in the din of battle, it was impossible to hear the songs of birds: Your ambition drowned out every other sound. You were faced with the possibility of a serious illness or the loss of a loved one and you found it impossible to concentrate on anything.”
This is a small book. In fact, it’s so small that I have the pocket version. You can read it in one day. I opted to read it over a month so that I could meditate on each, well, meditation. That seems to be what De Mello had in mind. This is another life-changing book that must be read by everyone.
And with that, I complete my journey of reading 50 books in 2020. I would have never imagined knocking it out in half the time. My journey is far from over. The point was not to cross a finish line and to yell “look at me!” The whole point was to create a new habit. While I will not slow down my reading, the number of books I consume will slow down. I’m about to dive into some thick biographies. So, let’s see how far I can go in 2020.