"It is a mistake if you believe it is a mistake"
Defining A Mistake
A mistake is defined here as creating an undesirable/unintentional/wrong result.
There are many situations in life where we can make mistakes: For instance, when we take an exam at school, when we answer questions in job interviews, we can make mistakes when we communicate, we can make mistakes at home or at the work place and so forth.
This article will look at the ways in which we can reduce the chances of making mistakes at the same time addressing the suffering state of mind in relation to making mistakes.
Mistakes In Depth
First, let us look at mistakes at the surface level by understanding the steps we can take to reduce the number of mistakes we make daily.
First we understand that when we act from a mind that is in chaos or lacking clarity, i.e. when we are in angry, or clouded with wandering thoughts, or when we are mentally fatigued, then the chances of making mistakes will increase. The less we are in the Present Moment, the more likely we will make mistakes.
Thus by having a more grounded and a clearer mind will help us to make better decisions in life. So the practice of meditation and yoga will help greatly as these practices will work to ground and clear the mind. These practices can help to strengthen the mind, allowing us to remain more centered and still in times of chaos.
The Negativity Experienced When Making Mistakes
Now let us look at the Negative Reactions we can experience when we make mistakes and the ways to address them.
Some of us can forgive ourselves when we make mistakes. But there are the rest of us who can be highly critical and never forgive ourselves or others when a mistake is made. When we hold high expectations of ourselves and others to not make mistakes in life, it can often take weeks until we can let the judgemental thoughts and feelings go when mistakes are made.
To help us address the Negative Reactions experienced when mistakes are made we can first understand what a mistake is to the mind.
To the mind, a mistake can simply be a subjective opinion. For instance, let us take the following scenario as an example where a man, out of honesty, tells his boss that his management skills are not good. From one perspective, one may think it's a mistake for an employee to have said something unrespectable to the boss, whilst from another perspective one may think it's correct to be honest and give ideas to the boss on ways things can be improved around the work place.
Thus what a mistake really is will always come down to the ideas of right and wrong that we carry. The importance of transforming the mind thus is not so much in not ever making a mistake, but rather to develop unconditional acceptance towards ourselves and each other when a mistake is made. So that even if a mistake was really made, one's state of happiness and unconditional love is not affected.
Path Of Creator
Mistakes In Relation To The Path Of Creator
The journey begins first with the understanding that the ideas of right and wrong can be highly subjective and that everyone will always have their own opinions of what is right and wrong. On the journey, one will realize that when we become attached to the ideas of right and wrong then we will experience the suffering states of the mind - judgement towards The Self when a mistake is made and fears of making mistakes ourselves.
From a psychological point of view, our fears of making mistakes could have surfaced during our childhood when the ideas of right and wrong were dealt to us through the form of punishments from our parents, or later by the teachers at school, our friends and our loved ones and so forth. But from a spiritual perspective, it's simply a learning that we have carried into this life. The outer experiences we went through in life simply brought it out into light.
The journey of Self-Transformation will begin and progress with Self-Knowing. After all, ideas of right and wrong is different from individual to individual, so what has made us become attached to these ideas? Such the journey is the journey of self-discovery.
Throughout the journey, a helpful wisdom to develop is the wisdom that we can never predict the outcome and the way in which other people will treat us when we do things in life. So when a mistake happens, the only choice is to either be unhappy through Self-Rejection or be happy through Self-Acceptance.
The destination is towards the greater acceptance of ourselves and each other.
Let us look at some Negative Ideas that can promote the fear of making a mistake.
At The Idea Level
One may discover the following ideas in their journey towards self-discovery.
"It is not ok to make a mistake"
For the mind which carries the negative declaration, the person will tend to hold great fears in making a mistake. When one is extremely fearful of making a mistake one will may not even take any action at all in life that may involve “risks.”
The transition towards the positive declaration - "It is ok to be make a mistake" begins when one realizes that the fear of making mistakes is there because of a lack of trust and support one has towards oneself.
When one has a lack of love inwards one will often subconsciously try to fill it through seeking love outwards, and this can increase the fear of not being accepted by others if one makes a mistake.
The wisdom here is to realize that we can only act through how much we know in the present moment, thus no matter what we do we are bound to make mistakes if there are people who know better way of doing things, or if something happens that is outside of our control. Thus the only thing we can be is to simply do our best in the moment but the goal of Self-Transformation is to to develop Self-Acceptance in whatever situation we end up in
The journey will thus be challenging, because in order to know the best way of doing things will involve the journey of making many "mistakes." Individuals who have ideas of a "Perfect Self" will be afraid of making mistakes thus such individuals can end up becoming attached to specific ideas and resistant to new ideas / refusing to change.
To accelerate one's journey one will have to direct Acceptance both ways - to forgive not only oneself for making mistakes but also others. This is because when we continue to condemn others for making mistakes we will only create the fear of being judged by others in the same way - in turn this will only sustains the fears we carry.
Develop Experienced Knowledge
Whenever you feel indecisive about making a decision in fear of making a mistake, you can simply make it and observe any negativities that may surface to develop the Knowing of The Self.
The Creator's Meditation / VipassanaLink here
Often when we do things in meditation such as “wandering off into our minds” or when we “move our postures too much” or when we end the meditation session earlier than we planned, we can subconsciously blame ourselves and as a result creating even more suffering in the practice.
Thus observe for any negativities/suffering sensations throughout the body when one has made a “mistake” and observing it with a Still Mind without distortion - this is how we develop Acceptance / Forgiveness / Compassion at the Idea Level of the consciousness.
Know and Transform The Self!
There are many free courses that you can try on the Courses page for you to develop greater self-acceptance even if you made a mistake.
For example, the Self Blessings Meditation will guide you to learn how to develop Self-Acceptance by practising a 5 minute Self-Acceptance technique every night. This practice will help you to see that no matter what you do in life, every thing you do is perfect.