Everyone on the planet is allowed the mistakes of growth and learning with anybody, at anytime and anyplace, and you don’t have to make amends for your mistakes. If you purposefully hurt someone—you planned it in detail and then carried it out—that is not a mistake, and you may need to make amends for that. But if you just said or did something and then realized, “Oh God, that hurt them, and I didn’t mean to,” you don’t have to make amends for that. You can apologize, as part of having manners: “I didn’t mean that to hurt. It just came out.” Some people say, “If it came out, it’s true.” Well, someone can pass gas; how true is that?” You see, it isn’t.
You don’t have to punish yourself for your mistakes. And, anyway, you don’t know how to punish yourself. If we truly punished ourselves, we’d be cured of whatever it was. It would be over and done. But we punish, and then punish, and then punish, and then punish. And then we feel guilty, and then we feel guilty that we felt guilty, and then we feel guilty that we felt guilty that we felt guilty. Then we punish, and we punish, and the darn thing goes on and on, and we say, “Why don’t I accomplish anything in my life?” If you make a mistake, get on with your life and don’t waste time punishing yourself “from here to eternity.”
It’s much easier than I’m telling it to you. Stop to think about it. There’s not really a good definition for eternity, though the closest we can come may be to speak of the “eternal now.” As a symbol, eternity looks like a figure eight on its side, but even that is not eternity. Eternity actually takes place right where the two loops come together. To say it another way, eternity is in the blinks of the eye. It’s not when the eyes are open or when they are closed; it’s a blink. And if you can look into the blink, you can see into eternity.
The most obvious mistake we make in our lives is not loving ourselves no matter what. At the moment when we’ve made an emotional feeling-level mistake, there’s one thing we need more than anything else in the world, and that is to be loved past all that, to be loved into the Divinity, the divineness, the holiness of God’s breath upon us. Yet we often won’t do this because, as I said, we make a mistake and then we punish ourselves more, even though that isn’t what we need.
We need loving. We need the “balm of Gilead.” We need caring. So start giving that to yourself, and you’ll find out that a lot of the judgments that you live in will start to disappear and that new energy will come in, energy that you had been wasting on judgments that could never be carried out. Judgments are warehoused against us, and we’ve got to get them loose. We all did what we did, good or bad, right or wrong. And next year, when they change legislation, some of our guilt may disappear because it will be legislated out, as something we did and felt guilty about may now be legal. Time cures a lot of things. Some things that you innocently did may also be legislated in, and now if you do it, you’re guilty. Then you get to feel guilty for all the things you did that you thought were legal. That’s legalism. It’s not spirituality.
One lady told me that when she watched some other parents being really loving with their kids, she felt that she didn’t do her job of bringing loving to her own children. She’d look at one of her sons, who was involved with drugs, and then compare what she did with him against what these other parents were doing. She forgot about the karma that her own children had.
I told this woman that when she sees other people raising their children and they seem to be doing a tremendous job, she needs to remember they’re not raising her children, or she might see them do a lousy job. Her children chose their family situation, and, all along, she was doing a great job with what was happening as part of the family dynamics.
You have to remember that, inevitably, somebody is not going to like something about you. If it’s not somebody else not liking something about you, it will be you. So it’s best to just take it as it comes and to let it go as it goes. There’s no need to try to be an accretion, a rock that rolls down a hill. Especially if it’s muddy, the rock picks up other rocks and debris as it keeps rolling. It acquires things, but it doesn’t let anything go.
You can let go of your day-to-day accretions by not judging yourself for anything you do and not judging others. And if you do judge, forgive as soon as possible. Forgive yourself for everything from here to eternity, and along with this goes an observable change in behavior. That is one of the ways that we can see that learning has taken place.