Learning to live without regrets
Feeling remorse is part of our human experience. Regret means, “I think I would be happier or better off if things had been different in the past.” Everything that happens is recorded in the memory banks of our mind. There are so many stories floating around in your mind; Matters not yet resolved, unfinished tasks, something we wish we hadn’t done or said, something we would have liked to have done or said. Some of these things disappear quickly, others fade with time, but some remain and are as vivid as they were when they happened.
Part of a spiritual journey is beginning to resolve feelings of regret. First of all, we can understand how we can learn from these experiences; they can help me to deal with situations differently in the future. However, we also begin to dissipate the impact and influence of these feelings of regret. There are two effects of experiencing a very deep sense of regret. One is that I don’t feel happy in the present because of this regret hanging over me like a shadow, and the other is that it damages the relationship with myself.
There is a cycle of regret. First there is denial, we tell ourselves that it didn’t happen – it should just go away. Then comes the dismay: “How could I do/say that?”. Then comes the self-punishment: “I could slap myself for doing that!”, and finally the reinforcement; by playing it over and over again, I am reinforcing a negative attitude towards myself. This is very harmful.
At the heart of a good life is nurturing love, respect and appreciation for myself. This is impossible if I constantly paint a negative image of myself that weakens me. If I don’t respect myself, I won’t have respect for others, society or the environment either.
I have to make friends with my conscience. I must learn on my spiritual path to do and say only what is consistent with my deepest beliefs and to resist pressure from others and any temptation to act against those beliefs.
In order to do this, I need to understand who I really am. I am not this physical identity, the sense of self derived from my body, gender, culture or upbringing – all of which are ephemeral and make me feel arrogant and superior one moment and lacking the next self-respect and feelings of inferiority.
I have to understand that I am a soul. A spiritual, eternal, immortal being of light – Atma; the living resident of the costume. The soul is real. A point – no breadth, no length, no extension. She is full of power and light.
Once I begin to understand and experience this truth, I feel very comfortable and at ease with who I am. A natural state of peace begins to set in. I can understand that in the past I was under the temporary impression of being a body and therefore came under the influence of many things.
Now I can receive the strength not to do anything that I would regret.
This spiritual path and the use of meditation are beginning to heal the past and the impact it has had on me. This develops a different relationship with my conscience. I become my own best friend and not my worst enemy.
Sydney resident Charlie Hogg has been meditating daily with the Brahma Kumaris for 45 years.