October 14, 2015

Do we Really Learn from our Mistakes?


This tangled question has been on my mind lately.

We all make mistakes and we all affirm that we learn from them. Looking closely at my life, and the lives of others, made me question whether we truly mean it when we claim that we learned our lesson.

Do we really learn from our mistakes?

Sadly, no, we don’t.

Humans are absolutely simple creatures. If we put a piece of clothing in the drawer today, we will wake up tomorrow forgetting in which drawer we tossed it. Reality is, we forget.

We declare our torment and vow to refrain from experiencing it once more. We collect our bad memories and carve them in our minds so we remember what made us say, “I will not do it again.”

All what remains from memories is nothing but a blurry perception.

We fail to recall the exact emotions we felt. We acknowledge the incident, but rarely the consequences. Hence, we repeat the same mistake, entirely disregarding what went awry in the past.
Failing again, we give ourselves a hard time and proclaim, “I never learn.”

It’s true. We don’t learn.

We keep repeating the same mistakes again and again, because maybe there is nothing to learn. Maybe, the whole notion of “we should learn from our mistakes” is completely bullsh*t. Maybe, there are no mistakes. Our life is nothing but a sequence of events taking place in a different time and different space.

What qualifies us to judge right from wrong?

Things that we called a mistake, and refrained from repeating, might be the actual, beautiful event that got us where we are today.

Every single day we are shutting down new opportunities and new chances only for the sake of “I will not repeat the same mistake again.” Nevertheless, when we truthfully don’t repeat this mistake again, it is only our ego acting.

The ego loathes being ignored.

Most importantly, it loathes repeating past mistakes, because it doesn’t want to get hurt.

Let’s put our ego aside for a while.

Truth is, we might be pushing away what is true because we don’t want to fail. But there is no failure, nor anything called “I want to stay on the safe side.” What is safe in this life? All of life is unsafe. We are living on a planet with natural disasters, wars, hunger and greed. There are many things that can literally kill us.

In case you’re wondering, my life is full of so-called mistakes. I repeat them and I am willing to keep on repeating them until my last breath on earth. Those mistakes give my life meaning and a story to tell. They are the air I breathe. Without them I wouldn’t be alive today.

There is nothing to protect myself from, nor any wrong doing I refrain from repeating. I used to say, “I’ve learned my lesson” hundreds of times in my life. I gave myself a hard time for not accepting new opportunities. The worst part is, mentally punishing myself again whenever I failed to “learn.”

It didn’t take me long to figure out that there was actually nothing to learn.

The results were astounding when I cut off this duality that we were raised to believe.

I acknowledged that the only mistake we can make is to believe that there is actually something called a “mistake.” How long will it take us to see that there is almost nothing in this life that we can control? We are living in an immense field of energy where every single event is controlled by a supreme power we know nothing about.

“Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable.”

~ Anthony Demello

We are similar to an ant, compared to this universe. We are too small but think we’re too big. We’ve made events in our life bigger by naming every so-called trauma we go through.
Let’s enjoy what we go through. If there is one thing we need to learn is how to view life with a different perspective.

Know that you will never learn. Not because you are ignorant, but because there is absolutely nothing to learn.

Embrace your “mistakes”—they are what make up your life.



How to Handle Our Mistakes: Lessons From a Work in Progress.

Buddhadharma In Everyday Life. Lojong Slogan: Drive all Blames into One. ~ via Linda Lewis

Author: Elyane Yousef

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr/Lars Plougmann


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