De Mello: Out of the Head    

“A word about getting out of your head: the head is not a very good place for prayer. It is not a bad place for starting your prayer. But if your prayer stays there too long and doesn’t move into the heart, it will gradually dry up and prove tiresome and frustrating. You must learn to move out of the area of thinking and talking and move into the area of feeling, sensing, loving, intuiting. That is the area where contemplation is born and prayer becomes a transforming power and a source of never-ending delight and peace.” Anthony De Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God, p. 17.


Anthony De Mello’s Sadhana: A Way to God is an amazing book a “one of a kind, practical spiritual exercises” blending Eastern and Western spiritual practice for contemplative prayer. De Mello describes contemplative prayer as communicating with God with a minimal use of words.  De Mello lists 47 exercises that each easily could be best learned by practicing for a week at a time. De Mello in his first section constantly teaches about how contemplative prayer comes after an awareness, awareness of the body, not just the mind, and awareness of God’s presence.  The second section is about using fantasy in prayer and the last section is using devotion in contemplative prayer. The awareness exercises especially help us get out of our head and into our bodies where De Mello says we must return to our senses. He describes the head as a place to start prayer, but becoming aware of the feelings in our whole body, our breath, returning to our senses, is what keeps us in the present presence, and this is where God meets us, not in anticipating or dreading the future or resenting or gloating over the past, but in the present moment.