…. Continued from Spark of Love [PART II]:
So There is Never ANYTHING that Justifies REGRET HELL? Isn’t that Irresponsible?
Finding the SPARK OF LOVE–that is, seeing whatever I was believing in that moment and loving the innocence in it–doesn’t mean I condone hurtful actions; I still go back and make amends whenever I find that I have acted in ways that feel out of alignment with who I really am or what I fear may have been hurtful to others.
Instead of becoming complacent or excusing ‘bad’ behavior, what finding that SPARK OF LOVE does mean is that we no longer need to let our regretful thinking re-write history in a way that makes us UNFORGIVABLE to ourselves.
It means you become the HERO that little part of you was waiting for; the one who sees yourself in all your innocence and sees that it couldn’t have happened any other way given what you were believing in that moment. (Another way to do this is to question the story that something was ever wrong—a later article in the SPARK OF LOVE series!).
It means you forgive yourself.
Life gets so sweet when you become your own cheerleader, always looking beyond your knee-jerk reactions to find the innocence in yourself and others.
Again, the end result is NOT that you go carelessly through life disregarding others and not even trying to do the ‘right’ thing, just because you stopped beating yourself up; the result is that you move forward from exactly where you are with great clarity and efficient action.
It means that NO MATTER WHAT you did, you don’t have to stay in REGRET HELL forever. REGRET HELL just creates more pain in the world. If you are treating yourself that way, you will treat others that way.
We are so good at this that once we become conscious of REGRET HELL, we can even regret going into it and tell ourselves a story that we should be ‘over that’ by now.
Do you think you would CHOOSE to go there if you had a choice?You didn’t plan to put yourself in hell; you are innocent.
Possibly the Most Transformative Question of my Life
After falling into REGRET HELL over my sure prediction that people would interpret my subject line the ‘wrong’ way, the thing I did to snap me back out of it, to witness the SPARK OF LOVE, to find the innocent believer was to ask myself a simple question—one that has made all the difference (a question taught to me by one of my greatest teachers, Byron Katie):
What was I believing in that situation to have acted that way?
This may be the most transformative question of my life, since it finally put an end to REGRET HELL.
Understanding the nature of thought and being able to finmy own – and others’ – innocence is the thing that the Happy Symmetry I now see in life always brings me to. It is so much more reliable than anything I was ever able to get in any other spiritual or counseling approach.
It is what Jesus was talking about “Forgive them, Father; for they know not what they do.” But I just wasn’t getting it until I saw how the thoughts we believe absolutely drive our behaviors and blind us to our unfolding reality and options. Now, whenever I find that the dear, innocent, most child-like part of me back in REGRET HELL, believing she ‘Did it wrong,’ and ‘They will leave,’ I simply ask myself that question.
And I can now find it in others, too, by asking myself when I want to over-react to something someone is doing that feels so wrong or hurtful to me:
What would they have had to be believing to have shown up in a way?
I even used it for the shooter in North Carolina. I was able to find the SPARK OF LOVE I imagined must have been at the very deepest root of his actions—that what he was doing was the most loving thing (for someone—himself, his family, the victims, the planet).
Again, it doesn’t mean I condone such acts; it just means I can rescue myself from the equally horrible state of THE HELL OF LIVING IN BLAME AND UNFORGIVENESS—the closing of our hearts that happens when we simply cannot find compassion. Once I asked this question, I understand how it could happen and no longer hold myself above him.
After much inquiry, I have learned ‘for myself,’ that the worst thing anyone is EVER doing is believing a thought, then acting on it.
And in my own case last night, looking back on my own thoughts, I realized that I believed two conflicting thoughts—one to help them; one to help me (and both had the SPARK OF LOVE driving them):
“I need to help them even at my own expense;” and “My survival depends on them loving everything I send out.”
The first one was in play when I hit send; the second one came in right afterwards and made me believe there was a way to do this wrong.
Healing your REGRET HELL “for good” (lastingly AND the good of you and others)
Now that I know how to deal with REGRET HELL, I find myself open to the gifts it always brings me; how the pain of thinking I did it “wrong” actually leads to the blessed outcome of finding where I had left myself. That pain is just a heads-up that it’s time to follow the bread-crumb trail back to unconditionally loving me and life just as it shows up.
The next time you go into REGRET HELL, try going back and asking that question with sincere curiosity and the wish to meet the YOU that was calling the shots in that perfect moment:
“Wow, I wonder what I could have been believing in that moment to have shown up that way?”
It is a great, world-changing act to reconnect with what you were believing when you acted the way you did. You WILL find the pure SPARK OF LOVE for yourself or someone else behind the dear ‘kindergarten’ motives that were driving the bus.
And that not only puts regret hell in it’s place (back to lower case), but also takes care of BLAME HELL, because it allows you to see through to what others were thinking when they seemed to be persecuting you.
When that happened to me last night, I fell in love again with me and with the grace of that moment—just the way it unfolded. That was followed by complete trust in any outcome that emerges; based on this very experience that whatever I believe to be SO BAD will just lead me home.
And I slept like a baby.
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