Have you ever done something you regret? I think we all have. Maybe it’s something we said, or didn’t say; maybe it was the way we treated someone long ago, or just last week; maybe it was something illegal, or just morally wrong. We’ve all had those moments. What do we do with them? How do we live with them?
Redemption isn’t a word you hear a lot in Unitarian Universalist circles and I think it’s too bad. It’s a beautiful world and this planet needs more of it. I’m not talking about the Christian concept of “our sins” paid back by the blood of Christ. I’m talking about the more universal concept of redemption – the journey toward wholeness, forgiveness and healing that each of us goes through in our lives.
The Buddhists don’t have a concept of redemption really. Regret is suffering – it is when we hold onto the past, that person we no longer are or want to be and keep replaying it over in our mind. That is suffering. Another form of suffering is to live in the future. It’s to live in the fantasy that someday, someway, just maybe we can make up for our past regrets. It creates anxiety, because there is no way to make up for the past. It’s gone. But the Buddhists tell us we can live here in the present. Right here, right now. We can choose right here and right now to let go of the past, to choose a different way.
The Buddhists got it going on, but they would be the first to tell you that redemption isn’t about forgetting the past or about denying it. Rather it’s about experiencing the pain and letting it go; about apologizing and forgiving of others and of yourself. To do otherwise is to suffer and that does not serve the world.
I think the Buddhists are on to something. What regrets can you let go of that no longer serve the world?