Almost all of us have met people at some time who have chosen to regard the world with a cynical attitude. Many of these unfortunate people feel bitterly disappointed about their expectations of life. They feel they’ve been let down by a host of external factors, be it by people or by fate, which of course unconsciously reflects their belief they’ve been let down by God, Who apparently didn’t think too much of all their efforts, let alone their very existence. In hindsight they regret not having done things differently. A failure is a failure, and there’s no way to erase the past. Or is there?
Regrets seem to be about hope of finding more happiness if the approach had been different, but in effect they are about attempting to make a better dream world, which from Jesus’ point of view in A Course in Miracles, is hopeless. A complaint such as “If I had only done this or that differently, my life would be so much better” is an ego ploy to keep the mind focused on seeking, seeking and never finding, ensuring its continued existence. It keeps the mind from honestly evaluating the whole situation of the world and our seeming role in it, and once again choosing the unchangeable eternal Love of God.
If you and I honestly search our mind at any time during the day, we will undoubtedly discover that more than 90% of our thoughts are either about the past or the present. While on the one hand this dream world in which we believe we live does require us to make effective plans based on past experiences, the mind has the power to choose to spend a little more time focusing on the now, stepping back and asking the Holy Spirit sincerely what we should do, where we should go, and what we should say and think. Again, we refuse to do this because we are still enamored of our little ego. To make a real shift in your life’s happiness requires a diligent focus on being miracle-minded ever more often.
Miracle-mindedness, it should be noted, requires more than just affirming that the focus should be on (the voice of) love in the present here and now, however valuable such an attitude in itself is. We must learn to remember what we are and what this world is. A Course in Miracles contains ample passages that shed light on this: “All your difficulties stem from the fact that you do not recognize [know] yourself, your brother or God. […] The Bible tells you to know yourself, or to be certain. Certainty is always of God.” (T-3.III.2:1;5:1-2). “The miracle establishes that you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions.” (T-28.II.7:1-2). And from the workbook: “A miracle is a correction. It does not create, nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false.” (W-pII.13:1-3). And, finally: “[Miracles] stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream.” (T-28.II.12:1-3). Again, this puts in proper perspective what we are and what this world is about. Only then can we practice forgiveness the way Jesus asks us to.
In A Course in Miracles, Jesus treats the miracle and forgiveness as virtually synonymous: “Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation. Correct perception of your brother is necessary, because minds have chosen to see themselves as separate. […] But God’s miracles are as total as His Thoughts because they are His thoughts.” (T-3.V.9:1-2,7). In other words, the miracle heals the perception that things went wrong due to external factors. Our brothers are not against us; they are one with us, and as we see them so we see ourselves: “The miracle is the act of the Son of God who has laid aside all false gods, and calls on his brothers to do likewise. It is an act of faith, because it is the recognition that his brother can do it.” (T-10.IV.7:1-2)
Regrets therefore mirror wrong-mindedness, and serve no other purpose than keeping alive the ego’s focus on the future being the same as the past. Kenneth Wapnick once noted in one of his workshops that when asked if he would have done anything differently if he would get the chance, his answer was that “no, I would not change a single thing, because every single thing I did somehow had its role in contributing to a greater whole.” Of course, once one learns to “resign as his own teacher” (T-12.V.8:3), acknowledging that he was “badly taught” (T-28.I.7:1), under the guidance of the Holy Spirit everything in this dream world we call life becomes a useful classroom, and failure is inherently impossible. Regrets therefore, again, serve no purpose at all, except to keep the ego alive. Miracles, on the other hand, “fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven” (W-pII.13.5:1).
So whenever you catch yourself about being disappointed over anything in the past, realize that regrets are dark spots in the mind. These serve to keep the light of Jesus and the Holy Spirit at bay, but they really do not serve you. Dark spots call for forgiveness, not for wallowing in regret. Quickly choose a miracle instead of murder (T-23.IV.6:5), and remember that the closest approximation to eternity is now, not the past. If you can instead shake off the depressive feeling, and without any prejudice ask the Holy Spirit what you should do, this is bound to quickly result in the peaceful lightness that you then realize you and I and everyone have always wanted. You and I indeed have every reason to live life without regrets, because everything that happened that brought us to where we are now, offers the opportunity to make a right-minded choice: to let life be guided by the Holy Spirit, or what I call true intuition, ever more often. Diligently practicing forgiveness undoes the past, one dark spot at a time. Eventually there’ll be nothing left to have any regrets about.
See also “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com: