Archive for Anthony de Mello

Change and the Artist

Through Jan’s wonderful blog, I was introduced to Anthony de Mello. I came across his moving last words:

Don’t change: Desire to change is the enemy of love.
Don’t change yourselves: Love yourselves as you are.
Don’t change others: Love all others as they are.
Don’t change the world: It is in God’s hands and he knows.
And if you do that change will occur

I have heard so many artists, myself included, say they want to change the world. It’s a radical idea that change comes from a state of complete acceptance not from any actions we take. This state of acceptance is actually just being truly present. That something needs changing is a judgment. If you are completely in the present moment you are not judging and there is nothing to change.

Art is created in the present moment. In the present moment your body may be still, but your being is in action. It is in sync with the continuous and unceasing emanation of Divine Creativity and Consciousness. This is why art can change the world. It does so not through action, but through this deeply connected state of being. Divine Creativity becomes manifest in the world through the energy captured in the painting, sculpture, or other form of art.

This week I worked with a group of kids ages 5 to 9. As I was teaching them to draw a person, they started with the usual complaints about mistakes made. I stopped the class and told them

In art there are no mistakes. In art there are no mistakes. Everything that happens is just something to work with.

I’ve said this before many times, but this time was different. I felt that statement go into to the kids. There was a special kind of silence, an active silence, as they processed and took in this statement. When they went back to work, they produced the most beautiful drawings. Far more expressive and detailed than anything they had done before. It was really stunning. Why did this happen? Because for that short time they entered into the present moment fully. They released the judgment of “mistake” and changed the world by shifting their beings. It was beautiful to see.

Via Negativa in Poetry

Here are some poems I love on the via negativa, finding God in absence. For more posts on this look here:


I have lived on the lip
Of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
Knocking on a door. It opens,
I’ve been knocking from the inside!
Rumi (trans. Coleman Barks & John Moyne)


God, whose love and joy
Are present everywhere,
Can’t come to visit you
Unless you aren’t there.
-Angelus Silesius (trans. Stephan Mitchell)

Lao Tzu:

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.

The unnamable is the eternal real.
Naming is the origin
Of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
Arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
-Lao-Tzu (trans. Stephan Mitchell)

A couple quotes from The Unveiling of Love by Sufi Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak Al-Jerrahi:

(On affection toward God) …it is possible by letting oneself fall like a drop into the ocean.

As for those who are annihilated in God, it is absolute certainty that they will exist forever.

The last quotes are borderline negative/affirmative way, but they are so beautiful…