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Wisdom starts with mistakes

Updated: Jul 27, 2018

Mistake is a word that we use for having done or been wrong and it carries great weight and judgement both from ourselves and others. This word leads us to regret, quilt and sometimes shame, none of which are of service to our growth unless we consciously awaken before repeating the same mistake again. The word mistake is a word that implies a specific kind of failure rather than an experience. It is harsh and often times we are so afraid to admit mistakes that we hide behind perfection instead. This is a false premise since perfection is not real and more importantly, it gets in the way. Often times we resist trying something new or come out of our comfort in fear that we might make a mistake. It is a burden we create and hold onto.

This is just one of the many things we can let go of when encouraged to let go of what we hold onto, our fear of making mistakes. In our yoga practice we refer to letting go in various ways and through various means. It is not easy of course but the best things in life are not about being easy but about being worthwhile and of value to our well being and to the well being of others. So when we allow ourselves to make mistakes then we are more forgiving to those who make them as well. We essentially set our selves free from our judgment and change our perspective to our life experience.

'Wisdom starts with mistakes' is a quote from Anne Wilson Schaef who also writes "Success is not always the best teacher. When we can see our mistakes not as failures but as opportunities for learning, life becomes much, much easier. It is only in a perfectionist society based on illusion of control that people come to believe that by sheer will they can control their lives and the lives of others to such an extent that they can prevent mistakes...Cultures that live in peace with life focus on participation with life, not on control."

It seems yoga offers this as well. We are participating in our journey and exploring our selves and learning through mistakes. When we are learning, we are open and when we are open, we are accepting and when we are accepting, we let go and when we let go, we are forgiving, we open to compassion, and when we are forgiving and compassionate we are free.

So we need to leave room for mistakes and let go of the false expectations that impede our process. We are, after all, human. We all make mistakes. The greatest teacher we will ever truly have is our self - we are essentially our own Guru - and the definition of Guru is "one who removes darkness or ignorance, so that we may see the light of truth"...and the light of truth is that we are students and a student learns through mistakes. A student learns nothing through avoidance, fear, judgement and rejection of mistakes. That just holds us prisoner to our life and limited in our potential. Being the teacher is one in the same as being the student and both learn through experience.

As we let go of the fear of being wrong, falling down or looking foolish we can trust that there is peace in letting go and there is love on the other side. love is to light as fear is to darkness - and love is the first step out of fear. The only reason we judge mistakes is because of fear. So when we let go of that - we can trust that there is wisdom, love and peace on the other side. We can allow for the attachment of fear to release one mistake at a time. As we let go we can look to our mistakes with gratitude as they have presented themselves for a purpose to teach us something about ourselves.

Because we place a lot of weight on the mistakes of others we can unburden ourselves and others by changing our perspective. When we see mistakes as a path to wisdom then we are more accepting as human beings. We are one step closer to our truth and authenticity as well as one step freer of our illusory perfection. When we see our truth as all encompassing then we are one step closer to our divinity "our mission is to integrate our divinity with our humanity."

"Our relationship with divine consciousness deepens or lessens - depending on our treatment of the self and others... Divine being or human being? Divine being and human being?...Your choice". Nischala Joy Devi.

Photo credit Sasha Schaepe

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