If you knew then what you know now, you’d have had absolutely no reason to be here.
Regret is useless. It is a view of the world through shit-colored glasses. If you find yourself doing the coulda-shoulda-woulda dance, it’s time to change those lenses.
What is useful is a cumulative view of your life. This is a view that turns mistakes into experiments and discoveries, and generates the abundance born of gratitude and meaning-making. It opens us up to an experience of success. And make no mistake about that; success is an experience, not a destination.
When you know better, you do better. That’s what life on this planet is about. At least that’s what I choose to believe.
Buddhist teachings, in my very simplistic understanding of them, revolve around the idea of Karma. Until we have stepped out of the cycle of Karma… of blame, shame, rage, anger, hatred, self-righteousness and the world of pain generated by those states of mind… we get to return for another go-round.
Regret is not how you graduate.
Kadam Morten of the Kadampa Meditation Center teaches about our having these ‘precious human lives.’ What’s more, if you are reading this, you are in a rarified position. Chances are you are not in a part of the world where your life is in peril on a moment to moment basis. Whether you believe in the laws of Karma or not, every moment of our lives is ripe with renewed opportunity.
Then again, you never know how many more opportunities any of us has. All the more reason to treasure each and every experience, past, present and future, as being a means to greater wisdom.
You can decide to look back over your life and view each defining (or traumatic) moment as having prepared you for success at whatever you choose to do. That’s the heroes viewpoint, or as Joseph Campbell used to say, the Hero’s Journey.
You can decide your life has been a series of missed opportunities due to negligence and abuse or misinformation foisted upon… you. The latter, in a nutshell, is called ‘victim consciousness.’
Both versions of our stories are self-perpetuating. Most of us weave a tale that vacillates between the two. The trick is to catch yourself and remember to mentally shift gears so that you back out of the non-productive mental pattern of regret before you get stuck in victim ditch!
Can you relate to any of this? Do let me know in the comments section.