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The Lesson in Regret

Each of us is here in this world to transform spiritually. How we go about this depends on a variety of things: the circumstances into which we are born, the choices we make, or the people we meet, to name a few. As each of us carve our own unique paths forward, it’s easy to make a wrong turn or find that we are unprepared for the road ahead. This is all part of the process. Life is, of course, a series of lessons that move us closer to fulfilling our purpose. However, there is one thing that can inhibit our growth if we allow it to. That is regret.

Psychologists believe we are not hardwired for regret the way we are for other emotions, like happiness, sorrow, or fear. It is something that develops in childhood when we begin to understand cause and effect. From then on, it seems we cannot avoid regret. We are, after all, human and will continuously make mistakes. When we dwell on them, they have the potential to draw us into a state of rumination that can be difficult to arise from. The danger in this is losing important time we need to complete our spiritual work. Regret can linger for months or years, preventing us from continuing on our path.

Michael Berg tells us, “We don’t realize that we don’t have limitless time to correct, to elevate, and to grow, for once our soul leaves this world, that opportunity is no more.” Therefore, it behooves us to use negative experiences as opportunities to reflect and find the lesson the Creator intends for us to learn. With consciousness, we can use regret as fuel to propel us forward, stronger and wiser than before.

Start by asking for forgiveness (if necessary) and forgiving yourself. Grant yourself a reprieve from your lapse in judgment; none of us is perfect. Give yourself a little time to consider how you could have done things differently. Accept this lesson and try to remember it in the future.

Ask yourself what kind of person you want to be. Are your actions aligned with your vision of yourself? What steps can you take to move towards being your best self? What does this look like on a small scale in your day-to-day life?

Change starts now. We seem to think that we will always have time, making excuses for missed opportunities because we think we will always stumble upon another. Kabbalistically speaking, this is not true. "The only place where a person can correct, the only place where a person can elevate,” Michael Berg explains, “is the physical world. In the Upper Worlds, there is no growth. An individual cannot do spiritual work to perfect the soul or to elevate it in the spiritual realms; that can only be accomplished in this world."

Kabbalists teach that we are given just enough time to achieve what we have been put on this earth to do – no more, no less. Therefore, we have no time to waste. “When we look back on our life, we shouldn’t have to regret that we didn’t do more,” says Karen Berg, “we are always capable of doing more with the gifts and talents we have been given. The time will come for all of us when we will look back and ask: Did I do enough? Did I share my gifts? Was there a place where I could have done more?”

There is no time for regret unless we use it as a tool for transformation. The moments we waste weighed down by regret will never be returned to us. Our spiritual work is continuous. Therefore, opportunities taking us to the next spiritual level present themselves continuously. Look for them and act. The time is now.

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