Yes, this book is old. It has been with me for twenty-two long years. It was given to me by Sister Elena as a guide on my way to a new path. The words of this book are simple, written by an Indian priest, Father Anthony de Mello. But the message? Oh, so deep until now I am still struggling to apply in my life. I already lost count of the times I read this book. I had read it over and over again. Once I thought I already understood his words and had believed in myself I was that enlightened. But it only took few failures in myself did I realize how ignorant I still was.
Using the words of Fr. de Mello and borrowing from his experience made me only become self-righteous. One priest said, had he read this book earlier he would have woken up earlier. But me? I was only eighteen when I first got hold of this book; yet I was not any better five or ten years after that. I even came to the point of attempting to burn this book because I thought I did not benefit from it. It only made me feel guilty of not being as enlightened as Father de Mello was. In short, his words are easy to understand but difficult to apply. Enlightenment or awareness, is honestly like a bubble in the air. You are mesmerized by its beauty when it floats but bursts when it touches your hands; for when you are aware what you learned no longer matters. What matters most is the present moment, the Being that is you.
So then I tossed the book aside and forgot all about it for almost a decade. The other day, I remembered it. I took it from the shelf and started to read again, waiting for any sparks in my spirit. After reading just the first few pages, I finally understood why. Father de Mello became wise because of his learning, of his experiences, of his influences, of everything he had been through. I could only get inspiration from his words and his life. I could only say to myself, 'hey, it is possible to be like him.' But even memorizing all his words could not make me as wise and as enlightened as he had been. I have to follow my own path. I have to learn my own lessons. I have to live my own life. And if all my efforts would pay, I could only say, 'this I have done, this I have become. If you want to be where I am, hear my words but do not follow me. Do your own thing, dance your own dance, paint your own masterpiece, for it is only you who knows deep in your heart what makes you happy and what makes you realize your Being.'
God sent people in our lives that would serve as our guides. But our final destination depends solely on us. This is where our Will play the crucial path. Learning and becoming is not done overnight. It would take a lifetime. And we are so blessed if we would be able to realize this before our candle gives off its light.
On my part, I am so thankful for meeting Fr. de Mello at an earlier age for I already know where my destination is. Getting there is my only struggle. But with God, I know someday I will become the Being I am supposed to be. And I hope you would be too.