by DW Green — October 7, 2020
In the mid-twentieth century, there was an Indian Jesuit priest named Anthony de Mello. Born in Bombay when it was still under British control, de Mello was an amalgam of many different cultures and perspectives: East, West; he even trained as a psychotherapist. It’s interesting when one sees timeless wisdom develop across schools, across epochs and ideas. Here is a quote from de Mello’s book, The Way to Love:
“The cause of my irritation is not in this person but in me.”
Remember, each individual has a choice. You are always the one in control. The cause of irritation—or our notion that something is bad—that comes from us, from our labels or our expectations. Just as easily, we can change those labels; we can change our entitlement and decide to accept and love what’s happening around us. And this wisdom has been repeated and independently discovered in every century and every country since time began.
This wisdom or insight came to me quite unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. I had been bemoaning my elder* brother’s negativity. It was making my conversations with him challenging, frustrating and well, just plain irritating. Then out-of-the-blue, I realized that it was my “labeling” of his negativity that was causing my displeasure. As soon as I let go of my perception of his negativity, I was no longer frustrated, challenged or irritated. Amazing!
*I referred to my older brother as elder brother intentionally. Because elder is superlative: of the highest kind, quality, or order; surpassing all else or others; supreme: a superlative person. An influential member of a tribe or community or family.
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