In order to let go of any painful past condition — so there is never again a moment where regret or sorrow is pulling us down — we must allow every movement, each unexpected event encountered, every thought and feeling — no matter its character — to have its own life. If we will attempt to view life from this new and higher understanding — that everything under the sun, from thoughts to thunder, has its own birth, life and death — then one day we will come to the relief-filled realization that the reason any part of our painful past persists is because there is something in us that won’t let it die out naturally. Any lingering sadness is an unnatural life-form kept breathing by our reluctance to let it go. We can prove this to ourselves and we will; but there is also an abundance of help waiting and available to encourage us on our way.
Physicists have just recently confirmed what religious scholars, wise men and mystics have known all along. Every present moment is always new and new is always right now. Now is constantly shedding the old. The new dies to the ever-new in an endless celebration of Life. This is not philosophy or a misplaced wish for a kinder, gentler universe. Life works through this process. You need only observe any living system to see the beauty and significance of starting over — over and over and over. If anything in life fails to shed the old, it quickly stagnates. A spring that stops replenishing its new waters soon turns dank and sour. This powerful principle is never so true as when it pertains to human life. It is a scientific fact that the you who is reading this sentence right now will not be the same you that finishes it!
So, the evidence is conclusive. What it tells us is that there is no real reason why our lives should ever seem stale or feel futile because real Life, of which we are a part, is always new right now. This is the fact of it. Our task is to unleash the power of this fact in our own lives. You may be thinking, “What’s it going to take for me to break through to totally present living? How can I learn to really start over all of the time?”
Just as a weary rock climber must at times reach above himself to gain a difficult resting ledge, you too must dare to go beyond yourself to find this ever-present safety. There is no danger in true self-ascent. The only real danger lies within remaining where you are. Think about it. If you could realize and enter into that true quality of life where there is an entirely new you every moment, it would mean that with every single heartbeat you would be free from any possible heartache that might have preceded it. In this new life, every relationship begins for the first time over and over again. Every discouragement is over right now. Every challenge, every difficulty is shouldered only in its time and is never carried forward or looked back upon with regret. Isn’t that what all of us really want? Yes it is!
Do you see what has happened? Something wonderful has already taken place. Our question is no longer, “Is this ever-new life really possible?” Now we are asking, “What is it within me that has kept me from living in this new way?” What a difference! If you will only persist with this kind of bold self-questioning, nothing in the universe can stop you from leaving the painful past behind and breaking through to a new you. This is Truth’s wondrous promise.
Question: How can I move beyond a painful regret?
Answer: Events demand decisions. Choices must be made. And we do the best we know how in any given moment. Even so, we often err and choose against ourselves. For a split second we sense our misstep and wish we could put things right, but the momentum of the moment holds us helpless in its tow. Seemingly too late to struggle with what has now been cast, we can only hope tomorrow won’t find us on some unpleasant shore. But in truth, there is no grim tide of events to which we must submit. It’s only our flooding thoughts that carry us along. And we can start life all over any time we’ll remember that nothing real keeps us from standing on solid ground.
Our relationships with one another are often a source of distress. And, speaking in general terms, most of the conflict we experience with others has to do with some form of consideration that we feel they are not giving to us. We often suffer from thoughts like these: “She is not being respectful enough.” “He is not as kind as I want him to be.” “They just don’t care as deeply as I do.” However, if we will be courageous enough to see the truth of the next insight — admit its finding into our heart and mind — something new and wonderful can happen within us: we can release ourselves from this dissatisfaction we feel in our relationship with others, along with the conflict it generates between us:
Many times the very thing we want from those we are with — for example, respect, patience, or a just little tenderness — is the very thing that we ourselves either lack at the moment or otherwise somehow are withholding from them.
The “catch” here is that we are mostly clueless about our own actual impoverished condition in these moments because — quietly tucked away in the depths of us are certain clever “self-concealing devices.” The continuing presence of these unconscious parts of us ensures we never realize that it is we who run in debt because of how quickly they point out the inadequacies of those they judge. Each time our attention is successfully diverted in this way, here’s what unfolds: not only are we kept from coming awake to ourselves, but in this engineered spiritual sleep we are rendered unable to realize that the very quality we judge as missing in the person before us is actually lacking in ourselves!
Some needed inner light reveals the truth of our actual condition. We almost always place certain character demands upon others, but rarely see that the part of us making these demands is without the very substance it cries out as missing in them. No wonder the cycle of human disharmony rolls on as it does; this spiritual sleep is not just the breeding ground of the contempt we feel for the insensitivity of others, it is the source of it!
What’s to be done? How can we transform ourselves and, at the same time, serve as an agent for change in the lives of all those we meet along the Way?
The true Friends of God have always known the law of reciprocal Divine Love: whatever we give our love to, gives us that love back according to the extent of our giving.
With this idea in mind, let’s apply it to our need to open our hearts and stop judging others for what we see as missing in them. Here is the great principle that makes possible true harmony between all human beings: giving to others what we ask for from them is how we receive what we wish. Stated another way: we must learn to give to others what we hope to get from them. Here now are a few simple suggestions for how we can get started with enacting our new understanding.
Before we ask for someone’s attention, let us first lend that person our own.
Before we look to him or her for an act of consideration, let us offer one from ourselves.
If we wish for kindness, let it begin with our own. Otherwise all we give each other are unconscious demands followed by judgment and disappointment.
We must learn to take the true conscious initiative with each other and then — based in our understanding of this great spiritual law that governs harmonious relationships — make the effort to be to others what we wish them to be for us.