My Biggest Mistake

Mistake implies an action. One does something hurtful to another or to oneself; one behaves carelessly, foolishly, selfishly, cruelly. But behind all action is a state of being, and this part of a mistake is rarely confronted or even observed: the is that does, the being behind the doing, or the being that doing passes through. Most people make the same mistakes over and over all their lives because they don’t regard the doing as an integral act of the doer. They call it a mistake; they believe it wasn’t intended, or wasn’t indicative of who they really are. What is ac­tually true is that it wasn’t indicative of the offending person’s idealized self-image.

So, to begin with, there are no mistakes—only a person’s reality expressing itself in an unguarded moment, a denied part of ourselves leaking out. If we were always unguarded, we would do almost nothing but “mistakes,” in that doing one’s real self is so often going to be at odds with society, which IS the collec­tive idealized self-images of the mass-persons, persons too significantly shaped from the outside.

Thus I can say with confidence that I’ve made no mistakes in my life, let alone big ones. My actions have many times revealed unpleasant and ugly things about me. I’ve been rude and selfish, surely; I’ve hurt people’s feelings with unkind remarks which I thoroughly intended to be unkind and to hurt; like all of us, I’ve behaved inelegantly, made faux pas, acted stupidly, carelessly, destructively. But it’s been me manifesting myself every last time of them.

Though I still may wince, I no longer despair for my “mistakes.” In forgiving myself, I am able to more clearly observe myself, and thus put my mistakes in­to the service of self-recognition. This is a religious exercise, a fertile soil to grow in. You feel the hands of higher development coming in to work on you.

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