Thursday, March 28, 2013

A few days ago, I posted an amusing story my father told me when I was very young, about being happy and content with what I have. Here is a piece of Wisdon from my brother to back up that advice I received from Dad all those years ago:

“I am in desperate need of help—or I’ll go crazy. We’re living in a single room, my wife, my children and my in-laws. So our nerves are on edge, we yell and scream at one another. The room is a hell.”
“Do you promise to do whatever I tell you?” said the Master gravely.
“I swear I shall do anything.”
“Very well. How many animals do you have?”
“A cow, a goat and six chickens.”
“Take them all into the room with you. Then come back after a week.”

The disciple was appalled. But he had promised to obey! So he took the animals in. A week later he came back, a pitiable figure moaning, “I’m a nervous wreck. The dirt! The stench! The noise! We’re all on the verge of madness!”

“Go back,” said the Master, “and put the animals out.”

The man ran all the way home. And came back the following day, his eyes sparkling with joy. “How sweet life is! The animals are out. The home is a paradise—so quiet and clean and roomy!”
One Minute Wisdom. Anthony deMello SJ ( Publisher-Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand India July 1985)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Here is another contribution from an ardent Tony follower:

I have been infinitely blessed with the wisdom shared by Tony DeMello for many, many years. Seeking Woman became Finding Woman in the pages of his many books from which I drank with relish long and deep. From the first pages of Song of The Bird and through his lectures and workshops others have kindly shared online, my heart and spirit took flight. The journey became clear and life became a joyous celebration. The stories he shares are priceless and his genius in ordering them undeniable. I feel extremely blessed and lucky to have had this master sent to me at a time when the student was ready. I've worn many professional hats during my life but make a humble living crafting jewerly from sea glass, semi precious stones and metals. It is enough. Thank you, Bill, for doing the work of fleshing out the details of the life of the man we have come to know and love. After completing Tony's Awareness workshop, it occurred to me that he has fleshed out a ninth beatitude and, if I may be so presumptuous as to put it to paper for him, I believe he would offer his assent to it: Blessed are those who are awake for to them has been given the power to really love. 
Cindy Khun.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My friends,
Now that The Happy Wanderer, Tony's biography, has been launched globally(Orbis books and Amazon) I feel it is time to begin publishing some of the messages I have been receiving from way back when I first posted the short e-biography on the Internet in 2000 as well as more recent messages from people. I am amazed at the number of times I read the lines-"Your brother( or Tony) changed/transformed my life". Today is the first of many I intend posting here so stay tuned and if you wish to either comment(use the "Comment" bar) or send me your review, I shall be happy to post it here too. Here is the first:

Hi Bill,

I would just like to thank you for putting the short biography of Tony on-line.
It has been very interesting to read, giving a sense of how Tony lived whilst he was with us.
On a personal level I can say that his work has transformed my life, new insights and direction have come from practising awareness. My family and friends have also benefited as have the clients I work with in my counselling capacity.
I guess just sending this to you gives me a connection to the most influential person in my life, it feels like there has been a gift of freedom given to me and that this gift will be passed on to souls who are looking to be awakened. Most of my work is in the area of fear and I use many of Tony's teaching to help me and others move into true happiness
Kindest regards to you and your family   
John Doherty

Monday, March 18, 2013

 Swimming Match.
Or- All that Glitters...........
In case you're wondering what these two pictures have to do with my blog, read on....

 My dear father (bless his gentle soul) told me a story many years ago years ago; I'll never forget it! It all came about when I, as a child would come home from school complaining and grumbling about how unfortunate I was.  I always had comparisons to make about how others were better off than me. If it wasn't toys, it was something else. Special food maybe, or a picture show(as they called it in those days-the movies today) they had seen and I had missed out on. One day, Dad sat me down and said he wanted to tell me a ‘true’ story about a very funny but meaningful event he experienced when he was a bachelor. His story was my lesson for life. I’ll quote Dad:
Everybody thinks that they are worse off than their neighbour. Be content with what you have Bill. Don't look over the fence, you may have a treasure right where you are and not realise it. In fact, have you ever wondered whether all your friends are telling the truth? Do you really think they are better off than you? Let me tell you about an incident that took place when I was a young man many years ago. I was new to Bombay, in my job with the Indian Railways. My friends and I had nothing to do in our spare time after work. So we looked for distractions and entertainment. We played cards, went to the sea shore and occupied our time in other activities to keep us distracted and occupied. The big event though, the one which ran for a full two weeks was when once a year the Circus came to town.  Besides the Big Top, there were all sorts of other attractions like freak shows, weight lifters, target shooting  etc. And we all indulged in these activities, depending on our budget. 
One year, we noticed a new attraction at the Circus. A big tent, with large photos of beautiful women painted on the sides of the tent, clad in swimming costumes.{ Those pictures would have been similar to the one's above} There was a big board on the front entrance which read- Swimming Match. We could clearly hear the sound of  splashing water coming from within the tent and our imaginations ran wild. We imagined all these beautiful women swimming and splashing around  in a big pool. 
At this stage of the story, Mum would interject with "Umm, nothing seems to have changed" and Dad would ignore the remark with a smile and a wink continue with his story… :)
In those days, the entry fee was more than we could afford. Expensive as it was, some of us paid the entrance fee against our better judgement, thinking that we could always economise on something else. After all, the Circus only came to town once a year! And the new attraction was unusual ,to say the least.

 Once we had paid the entrance fee, we were directed to enter the tent and passed through a corridor with cloth sheets on the side where the sound was coming from so that while we heard the sound of splashing water, we could not see the ladies. Eventually, after pushing and shoving the fellows in front of us, we entered an arena and the first thing we saw was a man beating water in a very large tub, with a big flat paddle. We did not realise of course, that this was the source of the splashing we had heard outside the tent. All we were thinking of and searching for was, “Where is the 'Swimming Match' and the ladies?”
When we asked the man who was beating the water in the tub where the swimming match was, all he did was indicate with a nod of his head, to a large bowl of water, on a pedestal, in the centre of the arena, with a matchstick floating in it!

After looking at this basin with the matchstick floating in it, we realised  that we had been taken for a ride. Of course, we were angry and demanded our money back. But the man with the paddle told us, “Listen you fools, I promised you a swimming match and I've given you just that. That matchstick in the bowl of water is swimming. Now, do you want to go out there and make fools of yourselves? Or, would you rather tell other fellows about the 'Fantastic' sights you have seen, so that all of you leave with your egos intact?
That’s exactly what we did. When we left the tent, we rolled our eyes, oohed and aaahed and told our companions outside what a great show we had witnessed. And we secretly laughed when we saw them lining up to go into the tent.
Remember Bill, the grass is never greener on the other side. All that glitters is not necessarly gold. Never believe everything you hear AND be content with what you have and you will be happy all your life.

I've never forgotten that story-I am blessed indeed- and Happy!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The New Pope.
I see that the new Pope also happens to be a Jesuit. How interesting! I'm going to ask my publisher to send him a copy of Anthony deMello SJ, The Happy Wanderer.
I've lost touch with matters relating to the Catholic Church but I vaguely remember that in order to be beatified and then canonised, proof of miracles performed by the candidate in question is necessary. Is this correct? Well in that case, Pope Francis may consider Tony deMello as a candidate for sainthood. Not that this would interest or for that matter please Tony one bit. But it's interesting to note that before he died in 1987 and for twenty five years after his death, Tony has continued to perform miracles (in spite of the Vatican trying to stifle him) through his books and audio and video conferences. I get messages from people telling me that Tony changed their lives.
So while he (Tony) may not have performed physical miracles like restoring sight, curing cancer and repairing broken limbs, he certainly performed the miracle of getting people to see. From the messages I receive, Tony is changing lives and bringing freedom to many people. They have thrown away their crutches (of blind faith and obedience) and where they once crawled, they now fly. This could be the only stumbling block (according to the Vatican) in his path to sainthood. Thousands, if not millions of Tony admirers and followers will disagree!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


“I wish to become a teacher of the Truth.”
“Are you prepared to be ridiculed, ignored and starving till you are forty-five?”
“I am. But tell me: what will happen after I am forty-five?”
“You will have grown accustomed to it.”
Anthony deMello. One Minute Wisdom.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Happy Wanderer goes global

Orbis Books have recently launched The Happy Wanderer in the USA.
The book is also available through
I discovered an excellent review of the book on the Amazon webpage and would like to share it here:
The Happy Wanderer...
Review by Dom Gonzalvez

"There are only two times in life: now and too late." Bill de Mello chose the `now' of 2011 to write the biography of his brother, Tony. He made a timely decision as subsequent years may have been `too late'.

The men and women who personally knew Tony de Mello become fewer every year. They are vital sources for the biography for they were eye-witnesses to what Tony did, and ear-witnesses to what he said. They know the gospel of Tony's life. Bill was just in time to track them down before their voices fall silent forever.

These witnesses helped fill out the chapters of Tony's life to an extent that pleased and astonished Bill. The 14-year age gap between the brothers de Mello had made the task of writing a comprehensive biography difficult. Bill's memories of Tony were a patchwork of early childhood impressions, followed by long blanks of the absent Tony who was away with the Jesuits. The long blanks were filled in by witnesses. A clear picture emerged of Tony's training and progress in the Society of Jesus, his skill as a priest/therapist, his universal vision of spirituality, and his magnificent power of presentation.

What makes the biography powerful is Bill's approach. The Vatican's condemnation of Tony's works is still a fiery topic, but Bill does not give it emphasis. He sets out to show who and what Tony was, and leaves the task of evaluation to the reader. His aim in writing the biography was "... to share whatever information I could garner from my own memory and from others who knew Tony and who personally interacted with him."

I, as a reader, do have an evaluation to present.

Do Tony de Mello's writings endanger the faith of Catholics as claimed by the Vatican in its Notification of 1998? Since Bill expresses no opinion, I sought out what Tony's companions said.

Fr Joseph M Feliu knew Tony since the time they were twenty year olds studying philosophy. They became friends and remained so till Tony's death. He states: "Tony... expressed himself via simple stories about the spiritual insights with which he was enlightened. He may have seemed to be a borderline Christian, but in fact he was a man who never crossed the border drawn by Jesus, assuming the good Lord ever drew such a line. Tony was at the crossroads and frontiers of faith and had a unique vision of reality that many questioned because they did not share this vision. His spirituality was not constrained by creeds but all the same found both inspiration and expression very much within the Catholic Church."

Tony saw himself as an Eastern Christian.

Western Christianity is a comparative new-comer to India. I say "western" Christianity because eastern Christianity came to India with St Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century, whereas western Christianity came with the Portuguese in the 14th century.

Tony wrote an unusual essay, "An Eastern Christian Speaks of Prayer", for a journal of theology in 1982. The essay is reproduced in appendix 6 of the biography.

In the essay Tony traipses effortlessly between Eastern and Western concepts of God and prayer. It is vintage de Mello!

Understanding Tony's viewpoint requires an understanding of India. In addition to being the world's largest democracy, India is also home to the world's major religions. In many a city centre in India a Christian Church, a Mosque, a Hindu temple and a Zoroastrian fire temple co-exist. Religions respect each other's truths. Tony was exposed to religious tolerance and respect from his earliest days. This unique religious atmosphere of his native land permeated Tony's outlook.

When I read the chapter entitled: "Sadhana - Birth and (R)Evolution" I was reminded of Mahatma Gandhi's "My Experiments with Truth." Tony was a spiritual experimenter. While he leaned to Eastern mysticism, he also used western psychology and psycho-therapy to improve the spiritual life of Jesuits and other religious.

Indian (and Eastern) words often have deep connotations, moreso than English words. Tony chose the word Sadhana - a means to the divine - as the name of his main course on spirituality. One of Tony's friends (a witness!) described the course:
"The main segment of the course would be one on spirituality, specifically the Spiritual Exercises and Jesuit spirituality. Tony saw spirituality and psychology intimately tied up with each other. He saw Gestalt Therapy with its stress on taking responsibility for one's life and actions, its emphasis on getting in touch with one's self through becoming aware of one's feelings and its advocacy of total honesty with oneself and others as the perfect foil to spirituality."

In addition to Gestalt Therapy, Tony also brought in Vipassana Meditation as taught by S N Goenka. Vipassana is insight meditation that originated with the Buddha.

Tony was a stirrer and shaker!

"Sadhana - Birth and (R)Evolution" is aptly named. Tony started the revolution, and the evolution continues to this day. The chapter has my vote as the best in the book to understand what Tony de Mello was about.

Nobody but Bill could have written Tony's biography as it stands.

Tony's companions and students - the contributors to the biography - opened up to Bill with a frankness that they'd have shown to no other researcher. Bill's charm overcame defences, revived memories and had people reveal incidents, thoughts and opinions that were private and personal.

Bill reveals Tony the boy, the man, the human being, the brother, the Jesuit, the innovator and maverick who is always a faithful priest.

Tony appreciated the difficulty of dogma. Someone once wrote: "the inevitable result of a dogma is that it asks people to believe impossible things and then makes them feel guilty... guilty when their innate reason rebels." Instead of heading down the path of dogma, Tony taught the importance of the Socratic "know thyself" for understanding Christ's message that "the kingdom of heaven is within you."

I found the biography to be the story of a man's spiritual evolution. Tony evolves. The stimulus of every challenge results in spiritual growth, often in an unexpected direction.

Tony evolves into a master teacher who helps people wake up to themselves. Instead of contradicting, he innovates so that questioners see a new angle which reveals where the answer lies.

I imagine that had Bill, an agnostic, said: "Tony, I don't have a soul", Tony, quoting C S Lewis, might have replied:
'Bill, I agree.
You have no soul.
You ARE the soul.
You have a body.'