Thus begins Anthony de Mello S.J.'s spiritual classic, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, this is his call to waking people up to the reality of their greatness. At the heart of Father de Mello's spiritual message is awareness, an awareness that challenges you to wake up to every aspect of your lives, challenge yourself from an attitude of openness, not from an attitude of stubbornness. Father de Mello recalls the powerful challenging words of the Buddha when he said: "Monks and scholars must not accept my words out of respect, but must analyze them the way a goldsmith analyzes gold - by cutting, scraping, melting." When you do that, you're listening, you've moved closer toward awakening.
Over the next four years, your career awareness and your career development will be a spiritual journey that begins with an understanding of your self and the choices you make. In a very real sense, your career decisions will serve as a manifestation of your attempts to make sense out of your life experiences. Your career experiences will emerge and be integrated by your continual participation in life in and outside the classroom.
As you explore and describe how to narrate your career story,[ first to your self, then to others] awareness needs to be at the epicenter of your approach. Stories that are best told through the perceptive prism of your values, interests, aptitudes, skills, and abilities. Our mission at Career Services is to assist Fordham students in telling your stories filling the space that exists between your performance and the description of your performance. In other words, our work involves encouraging you to enhance and expand your career awareness, preparation, and presentation.
In his writings, presentations, and retreats Father DeMello captures the essence of being alive, and connects you to your innermost being and reality as you discover'bliss' in your every moment: "There's only one reason why you're not experiencing what in India we call Anand - bliss, bliss. There's only one reason why you're not experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it's because your thinking or focusing on what you don't have. But right now you have everything you need to be in bliss."
What keeps you from this ever present 'bliss' are your illusions about yourselves and life itself. What you need to do is to drop something, to lose something - your greed, your ambitions, your cravings. You don't need to add something in order to find bliss. What you need to do is to stop identifying with society's labels and seek through the wisdom of your experience a path defined by awareness.
Virginia Satir is a legendary pioneer in the art and awareness of family therapy. Her understanding, skill, and humor earned her the warm respect of people all over the world. She worked at helping people feel more connected to their personal resources and rhythms. Her philosophy was centered in her belief that every human being is a miracle fully capable of continued growth and change and understanding.
Virginia Satir's celebration of awareness were alive in her Five Freedoms, a philosophy richly vested in the belief that every person can learn and grow:
- The freedom to see and hear what is here instead of what should be, was, and/or will be.
- The freedom to say what one feels and thinks instead of what one should.
- The freedom to feel what one feels instead of what one ought to feel.
- The freedom to ask for what one wants instead of waiting for permission.
- The freedom to take risks in one's behalf instead of wanting only to be secure.
Virginia Satir was a master of awareness as she lived a life that understood the importance of the spiritual dimensions of the human experience. She also understood that people do not pay attention to the treasure that they and need help finding it. Sometimes these treasures are deeply buried and hard to access and you need a strong belief in your uniqueness in order to tap into your richness. Satir had a keen understanding of the presence and power of this life force:
"As I have been evolving, I have had experiences which tell me that their exists something which could be called the life force or universal mind. I know that there are many dimensions in this force that are powerful shapers in human behavior. It seems a little to me like the presence of electricity. It has always been there, yet it waited for someone to identify it, then learn ways to use it for beneficial purposes."