Enlightenment. What is it? Much has been written about it. Many have tried to describe it or show how to attain it.
Does one get enlightenment from reading about how to get it? Or listening to a guru who is enlightened? Or spending years in solitude? Or contemplation? Or does it just come one day all by itself to the true seeker?
Apparently in any or all of these ways. Or none of them.
If the seeker gets hung up on the book, or the guru, or the practice, or the solitude then no enlightenment. That would be like travelling on a journey to a specific destination and then clinging to a beautiful signpost that points the way.
One must desire enlightenment passionately and not desire it.One must search for it and remain unperturbed at not having got it.
Enlightenment will come. In its time. Can the seeker wait? In patience ? In silence?
Not a Serpent, Not a Rope is a collection of tales that emerge from the collective wisdom of this world. The Introduction in the beginning of the book suffices to explain why it was written.
CLIFFORD DESILVA is a practicing counsellor in Goa. Counselling was his first love from a very tender age but in the course of his studies he was introduced to spirituality by his mentor.
However, it was years before he came to fully appreciate spirituality and the concept of enlightenment. Not a Serpent, Not a Rope is his first book.
One of the outstanding memories of Tony de Mello that I have is the wonderful way he would hold us spellbound with his story narrations. Companions information with Tony say that he was a born story teller. His books have runaway sales. Tony's stories have the magic of getting one's attention and even more of leading one to think even more deeply on the significance of life experiences especially in relation to sublime even divine realities.
Clifford DeSilva shared a close relationship with Tony. He walks in his footsteps as a skilled counsellor and adept trainer. Clifford has chosen to name his training institution as 'The Anthony de Mello Institute'. His close association with Tony was acknowledged by Tony's brother) Bill deMello who had Clifford edit his book) Anthony deMello SJ, The Happy Wanderer.
Clifford has gone one step further and chosen to write his own book. The stories contained therein, inspire and lead one to plumb the depths of one's spiritual self. The catchy title, Not a Serpent, Not a Rope makes one wonder what to expect. The title itself has the semblance of a 'koan' of which you will make sense as you come from your own experiences. And as one shifts through the stories one will be drawn to the charm of the story and the depth of insights each story offers.
This is not a book to be run through. Picking and choosing what has appeal at any particular point of time will do you well. You will find yourself transported to a world of wonder at the richness and depth that life offers when you reach out to your inner world that sustains, supports and gives meaning to your person and life in general.
I greet you as you travel on your way to illuminating moments as you savour the stories in this book. May you find your journey in life as unfolding moments of true inner peace, joy and happiness. May each story take you closer to an inner awakening.
"Sacred stories are those of transformation, they are stories that draw us closer to what I call the Lord Within The Heart, and they help us to see our connection to all things. There's a saying in the Jewish tradition that the shortest distance between a human and God is through a story. So if storytelling is a journey, sacred storytelling is a pilgrimage - a pilgrimage to a place called Hope."
Enlightenment - the Holy Grail that many seek. Can one attain enlightenment? Should one attain enlightenment? How does enlightenment change one? What would happen if one does not attain enlightenment, does not even seek it, cares nothing for it?
Very good questions.
Valid questions? I am not so sure.
You see) intellectual knowledge is a much-cherished value. And the person with intellectual knowledge talks about. The intellectual would love to read The Dark Night of the Soul, The Cloud of Unknowing and the works of Buddha and then write a learned treatise comparing and contrasting western and eastern philosophy. Other intellectuals who have read the said books and a good many more then read the treatise) accept some points) poke holes in others and discuss it threadbare. At the end of it all they go home satisfied with themselves for having had such an enlightening intellectual discussion.
They know so much and they have experienced nothing.
When I was living at De Nobili College (DNC), Pune and reading philosophy at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth Tony deMello had just started his Sadhana Institute on the premises of DNC. We knew Tony before he was a superstar. He was just 'Tony') a friend) everybody's friend. He would share his ideas and convictions with us and we would accept them - or not. It never mattered to him whether we did or we didn't. He was) as I understood later when reading his books) just' dancing his dance'.
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