Because Zen makes sense



Looking back on my life, I sure have made many mistakes. And each day I struggle with consequences of earlier bad choices. Some of my mistakes hurt others, some hurt only myself, and some hurt both others And myself. Some consequences seem to have been glued yo me for the restvof my life, some have been transitional, but never the less both quite serious and unpleasant.

But do I feel regrets?

In a.mindless life I sure don’t feel good about my mistakes. And I wish they could have been undone. I guess most people grumble about earlier mistakes. Most people bear on a bad conscience, shame and.a.hurted pride when thinking of mistakes that could have been prevented. And when our actions have hurt others, most of us will feel the burden of bad conscience. That is natural.

But apart from the fact that I have hurt others, do I have reasons to regret?

Well, first of all what’s done is done. Nothing can be undone, even though some of my mistakes can to some extent repaired. That is a fact that must be accepted, and acceptance of reality is fundamental for our wellbeing. So energy used to grumbling about earlier mistakes is a thief of energy that should be used here and now to do right.

Second, I have learned from my mistakes. My mistakes have contributed to my wisdom. Besides that, my mistakes have made me more tolerant towards the mistakes and faults of others, my mistakes have indeed made me more compassionate. Wisdom and compassion are no bad qualities. I don’t think neither shall protect me against doing new mistakes, and I don’t think my experiences have given me a moral superiority in any way. But my mistakes have surely made my mind more open and accepting.

Thinking of it, even my mistakes and their consequences have become a valuable part of my condition. Apart from what sufferings my.mistakes have brought upon others, which I feel deeply sorry for, my own sufferings have been beneficial to me. I have got opportunities for learning, and I have learned. Besides that, I get more aware of my blessings when I experience the opposite.

Is it possible to be grateful both for ones mistakes and for their consequences? Thankful for my suffering they have created in my life? I am not sure. It has always been better being well and rich than sick and poor. And I don’t embrace my sufferings. But all taken into account my situation always have something to teach me, and even suffering offers me an opportunity for personal growth. If I had got the opportunity to live my life once again, I probably would have avoided some of the mistakes I have done. But I also believe that I would have done others. Mistakes and faults are all part of human existence, and I am not sure that a life without any mistakes would have been all beneficial to me.

Yes, I do regret my mistakes, and I am sorry for the consequences, both on my behalf and on the behalf of other. But I am thankful as well, with an accepting attitude, a sort of self-compassion. I accepts what is done, and I am grateful for all wisdom I can get out of it. Then I try not to do the same mistakes over and over. That is a question of mindfulness.

Illustration: Wikimedia commons: Les regrets d orphee  Charles Paul Landon.


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