Regret

Pema Chödrön tells a story in one of her books about the Dalai Lama and regret. He’s speaking before an audience and recalls an incident from his past in which a man came to him asking to be a monk. The Dalai Lama told the man it was not possible because of some circumstance; from memory, I think it was that the man was too old to train to be a monk. A little while later, the man took his life in despair about not being able to fulfil his dream.

Stunned, the audience fell quiet and someone raised his hand to ask the Dalai Lama a question, “How did you get rid of the regret?” The Dalai Lama paused and said, “I haven’t. It’s still there.”

The following article from The Guardian is an interesting read about what happened when a woman asked her Twitter audience about their biggest regret. She got a huge response, and the article about her tweet has also had thousands of comments. The answers people give are frank and moving.

My biggest regrets are those times when I’ve been unkind to someone, and, as many other respondents said, that I’ve lived in fear for long periods of my life. As one of the respondents says,

“Yes. Fear. The straitjacket we wear throughout life.

But we can unbuckle it. It might take decades to get to that point, but when you do feel fearless, boy – now that’s living.

I was scared of everyone all my life. Still am a bit. But it no longer stops me.”

Here’s the article: What is your biggest regret?

Image: Symbiosis by Eugenia Loli

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The crises of community life

This is very good. It applies to all kinds of communities: families, friends, workplaces, intimate relationships, social groups, societies; wherever one human being encounters another human being. I like the suggestion the crises are inevitable and necessary, and that one can surf the crises, rather than run away from them, and thereby emerge into reality …

“There are four great crises of community life. The first comes when we arrive. There are parts of us which cling to the values we have left behind. The second is the discovery that the community is not as perfect as we had thought. The ideal and our illusions crumble; we are faced with reality. The third is when we feel misunderstood and even rejected by the community. The fourth is the hardest: our disappointment with ourselves because of all the anger, jealousies and frustrations that boil up in us. If we are to integrate into community we must know how to pass through these crises. They all imply the losing of illusions and the gradual welcoming of reality as it is.”

~ Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, p136

Image: Sudden shower over Shin-Ōhashi bridge and Atake, Hiroshige, 1857

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