The Joy of Regrets - and the Sorrow

It is common with human beings to think of their past actions and feel sorry about things they could have done differently. As one ages, the length of one’s experience is longer and such regrets can become voluminous so that the mind focuses on that far more than enjoying the present moment and doing what is required here and now. Most humans then become sad or depressed about it. Essentially we may classify our past mistake into two categories. First are those that have caused harm to others and we should indeed be very sorry about that, especially if the harm has been to sweet innocent and vulnerable children. It is an unforgivable sin.

However there is a second category of mistakes that have not harmed anyone else but harmed our own selves and these are such that should be a moment of celebration and joy because of the learning they have provided us. The joy in the present note is with reference to such mistakes and the essential learning they provide. There was a period in my life when I took to drinking regularly. However it led to my behaving very badly on occasions and there was an adverse impact on health. Therefore I resolved to only drink on rare occasions, less than a month. However, even there my experience was of bad behavior on my part. It goes without saying that later one feels terrible. Time and the grace of the Almighty heals the wounds but the important lesson learnt from this for me was not to touch alcohol again.

These latter humans, who are happy at realizing their past follies, regard life as an education and feel that learning only takes place by making mistakes and realizing what those mistakes are. They feel sorry for those who do not have such regrets because that simply means that they have wasted their lives and learned nothing, like a student who attends a particular course at school or university but pays no attention to the lessons.

Certainly they feel happy and grateful for the times they did things right but they are also happy about the times they did not do them right and learned something from it. That would help them not to repeat those errors in future.

Of what use is that learning to an old person or if an opportunity is lost forever?

Well such persons also believe that life goes on in new lives even after death and similar opportunities keep on repeating.

But what if one does not believe in reincarnation?

Well some of those rare humans who are delighted at their past mistakes and the learning it provides are even more delighted if they do not believe in reincarnation because then they have a good laugh over the past loss since it would not really matter in a decade or two except as a nice joke while life lasts. They do feel a little sorry though for all the stuff they worked hard to acquire and will mean nothing after a decade or two when they are gone and it all will have to be left behind.

Laugh about it all, Laughter is a step in the direction of Heaven.  LOL :-)


Vinod Khurana said…
Dear Ashokji.
A wonderful writeup. You are right. Why have regrets. Do good and forget. Give and don't acquire. Leave something that survives us. With Regards/Vinod
Ashok said…
Good to hear from you Vinod after a gap. Thanks for your compliment. Life is for learning really and mistakes make us learn but to dwell on them as some do becomes a waste of the present.

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