Conclusions: Starting With Now

A book by Anthony de Mello, Wellsprings (Doubleday: New York.  1986) begins with a spiritual exercise called “Conclusions” (14-15).

The spiritual life requires courageous ventures into what is new, unknown, and uncomfortable.  There, in the process of discovery, meaning is to be found–or rather, created.
Conclusions
I imagine that today I am to die.
I ask for some time alone and write down for my friends a sort of testament for which the points that follow could serve as chapter titles.
1.  These things I have loved in life:
Things I tasted,
looked at,
smelled,
heard,
touched.
2.  These experiences I have cherished:3. These ideas have brought me liberation:

4.  These beliefs I have outgrown:

5.  These convictions I have lived by:

6.  These are the things I have lived for:

7.  These insights I have gained in the school of life:

Insights into God,
the world,
human nature,
Jesus Christ,
love,
religion,
prayer.
8.  These risks I took,
these dangers I have courted:9.  These sufferings have seasoned me:

10.  These lessons life has taught me:

11.  These influences have shaped my life (persons, occupations, books, events):

12.  These scripture texts have lit my path:

13.  These things I regret about my life;

14.  These things are my life’s achievements:

15.  These persons are enshrined within my heart:

16.  These are my unfulfilled desires:

I choose an ending for this document:
a poem–my own or someone else’s;
or a prayer;
a sketch
or a picture from a magazine;
a scripture text;
or anything that I judge would be
an apt conclusion to my testament.