De Mello, Ignatius: Consciousness of the Past
“The postulate is that awareness alone will heal, without the need for judgment and resolution. Mere awareness will cause to die whatever is unhealthy and will cause to grow whatever is good and holy. There is no need to use your spiritual or psychological muscles to achieve this.”
Anthony de Mello, p. 101, Sadhana: A Way to God. ImageCatholicBooks.
I try not to read too many de Mello exercises a day in his book, Sadhana: A Way to God, but I find myself not being able to wait to read the next installment! As I start to write, I am ending up listing almost all of the exercises as so useful especially exercise 30, “Consciousness of the Past,” practiced at night, where we think of our whole day as a film, unwinding the day as a movie, not approving or condemning what we did, just becoming aware.
This is different from the Ignatian Examen where we do examine and make judgements from our day. In the Examen, we review our day, give thanks, review where we found God and where we ignored God, recall actions we wish we had not done, ask for forgiveness, and ask for grace for the next day. (James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, p. 97, HarperOne 2010).
De Mello believes on the other hand, that if we are only aware, we will heal without the need for judgment and resolution. The finale of the exercise by de Mello after we have observed the day as a movie is noticing where Christ was with us in the day. How did Christ act? De Mello asks us to concentrate on how “Christ” acted in our day more than on how we acted.
We can see similarities in both of these spiritual exercises and differences. This is just one more small example of the diversity of how we can try to be aware of our connection to God.
My experience is that when I simply become aware and look for Christ, as de Mello describes as I review the movie of my day, God indeed heals, much slower than I would like, however. At other times I need the awareness exercises described in the Ignatian Examen to get me back on track.
I am going to have to stop describing all of the de Mello exercises. Otherwise, I will be going over his whole book! The miracle of finding and choosing his book as well as the exercises of St. Ignatius was an answer to prayer, and I now share it with you!