We all have a tendency to blame ourselves for things we have done wrong in the past, or for ourselves to think that we have done wrong. And so we all need to forgive ourselves.
When we don’t forgive ourselves we often want to change the past. We reproduce past events over and over again, sometimes reliving events as they really happened and blaming ourselves, and sometimes imagining that things went differently. Then we end up regretting that this alternative reality has not happened.
And I think there is a kind of myth about time that is worth examining.
The idea, “I should have done better”
I want to approach this myth from a direction that may seem a little unusual. I’ll start by talking about golf. Don’t worry if you’re not a sports fan. I’m not a fan of sports! I don’t even play golf. Therefore, no golf experience is required. But I think we can all imagine playing golf or practicing some other skill.
For now, just imagine you’re a good golfer. You lined up for a short putt, something you’ve done many times before. You almost always put the ball in the hole with these shots because you are a good golfer. But on this particular occasion, for whatever reason, the ball does not enter the hole. Maybe you’re getting closer. But, as they say, no cigar.
Now, by sinking a putt we are dealing with a huge number of variables. Every time you do the same movement with your body it’s a little different. No matter how much you practice, there is an inevitable inaccuracy in the movements of your body and therefore in the movement of your putter. There are other conditions that you cannot control: deformations of the putting green, how wet or dry the grass is, how hard or soft the ground is, changes in wind conditions, how concentrated you are, if you feel stressed, for example. These are just some of the variables involved in making a putt.
So you missed the putt for whatever reason. You might sink it 99 percent of the time, but this is one percent of the time. And you can say to yourself, “Damn it it should I have this putt! “and you may feel very angry with yourself. You may like it a lot and be very critical of yourself, but you missed the putt.
And you keep thinking, “If I could do it again, I’d do it differently.” Thought obsesses you.
Could you have acted differently?
Now, you do not have the ability to go back in time and go back to the same circumstances and conditions. In fact, if you literally went back in time and were there exactly the same place, and exactly the same situation, below exactly the same conditions, what would happen? You would lose the putt again, because the conditions that were there at that time were the conditions that were there at that time!
Now you might think, “Yeah, but if I could go back in time I’d know I was about to lose my putt and do things differently.” But then you are not there exactly the same conditions. You are in a different set of conditions. And this, in a world where we are not able to project our consciousness from the present moment to the past, is a set of conditions that can never have existed.
So the idea that you it should Sinking the putt is an abstraction. it refers to a different kind of world from the world where we really live.
Apply this to non-sporting things
Therefore, we apply this reflection to other things in our life.
Suppose you lost your temper with someone and said some things that were nasty. And then you regret it, which by the way is okay, as lamenting is a perfectly natural and ethical thing to do. We can regret something without hitting ourselves. Sticking to ourselves is the problem.
But the thing is, if you look back at that particular event, if you could see all the conditions that were related at that particular time: your expectations and your stress levels and all the different things that you were juggling. in your mind. at that particular time, and your physiological state, depending on how tired you are, what your blood sugar level was, etc., if you could see all these conditions, you would realize that it was inevitable at that time that you were going to lose the stirrups.
You were doing the best you could with the resources at your fingertips. In fact, you did everything you could with the resources available. Now, you might say, “Well, if I had a little more awareness, I could have done better.” But at that moment you he did not be more aware! You were as conscious as you were! The idea that you could have done something different is again a kind of abstraction. It is assumed that our present state of mind may in some way affect our past state of mind, which of course is not possible.
The solutions are in the present, not in the past
The myth about the time we have to overcome is that the solution to painful repentance lies in the past. It doesn’t. The solution to our suffering lies right here in the present.
The important thing is now. The repentance you have for the unskilled actions of the past is happening now. The learning you are having, drawn from the lessons of the past, is happening now. The intention to act differently in the future is happening now.
And these things are happening now. Thus, at the present time:
- Let the past be the past.
- Sorry for what you did wrong, which is just another way of saying “realize that what you did wrong was wrong.”
- Accept that you did your best with the available resources.
- Learn from your past mistakes.
- Intend to act differently in the future.
Of course, you can choose to use the present moment to hit yourself, but self-punishment, calling yourself, telling yourself you are a bad person, etc., are ways of acting that are awkward, unhelpful, and painful. . They are a waste of this precious moment that we have in the present to act in a way that promotes our long-term happiness and well-being.
This is not determinism
Now, it may seem like I’m being deterministic: that we have no choice and therefore no responsibility. That’s not what I’m saying, as I’ll tell you
The ability to choose lines of action, including the option of not doing something that hurts us and others, is always potentially it is available to us, but practically speaking it is often not, because we often lack mindfulness. Without consciousness, it is as if our lives are predetermined by conditions. When we have mindfulness, life becomes more creative. We begin to be able to make decisions that prevent suffering from happening to ourselves or others.
We are not usually very aware. I remember reading about a study once that showed that what we do and say is a bit predictable at 80 percent. Usually our habits continue without much conscious intervention.
An analogy of mindfulness and lack thereof
Imagine a heavy ball rolling down a slope toward something beautiful, like a kitten. The ball will hit the kitten (which, arguably, is too young to get out of the way). This is life without mindfulness. Our usual impulses keep rolling, like heavy balls on a slope. Sometimes bad things happen as a result.
Now, imagine that someone is watching the ball rolling down the slope. They see what is about to happen, and with the touch of the hand the ball is deflected to another course and the kitten remains intact. This is life with mindfulness (or with enough mindfulness to act, which is the important thing).
It’s just an analogy. Don’t think too much about it!
At any point in life, you either have enough awareness to act skillfully or not. When there is no mindfulness present, it is as if there is no one to lend a hand to the heavy ball.
And any time in the past when you acted wrongly was a time when you did not have enough conscience or wisdom to do the opposite.
Mindfulness = Wiggle Room
Full attention gives us room for maneuver. And if we want to live happier lives and have fewer regrets, we should make it a goal to develop more mindfulness. Because more mindfulness gives us more leeway.
With the little awareness we currently have, we recognize that life has more potential for happiness when we are conscious. So we set conditions so that we can further develop consciousness. Let’s meditate, for example. Or we commit ourselves to living according to ethical principles, such as the five precepts of Buddhism. Or we join a community of other people who also intend to cultivate mindfulness. Or we go to a retreat where we can train intensively in mindfulness. Or we study by reading books and listening to talks on mindfulness to better understand what we are trying to achieve. Or we create mindfulness activators for ourselves. Or, all of the above.
And right now, in the present moment, as we look back at the things we regret doing (or not doing), we recognize that self-blame is a painful waste of time. We recognize the value of accepting that we did what we did, and did the best we could with the resources available at the time, and in fact we could not have done otherwise. And in this present moment we can ask ourselves how we could act differently in the future.
The key to forgiveness is to see that the solution to our present suffering is not in the past. It’s here, now. You can’t go back and change the past. But you can bring about change right now. And that will benefit you and others in the future.
#Forgiveness #myth #time
Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission.