Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where Do Mistakes Come From?

Where do mistakes come from?

Someone recently told me that she was giving up her 'mistaken beliefs'. Her face and voice were exuding self loathing - clearly disappointed that she had spent so many years believing lies.

Where do all of these mistakes come from? Why are there so many mistakes in life? Why are they so common? Do we assume that mistakes are foreign intruders, unwelcome guests on planet earth? Are 'mis-takes' because of human Original Sin? Why are we on a planet with such strong tendencies toward, and so many opportunities for mistakes, miscues, misunderstandings, missteps, misinterpretations, misbehaviors, miscarriages, and missed opportunities that result in separation, grief, fear and confusion?

The prefix 'mis' originally comes from an Indo-European root word meaning 'to change'. So a 'mistake' is a 'change in takes,' a sort of cosmic movie term - 'Action: take two,' or three, or four, or more.

If that is true, then 'mis-takes' are perfect for a soul learning to grow into divinity. Each earthquake is a mis-quake, a change in the scenery. Each tsunami sweeps away the old props. Each war or conflict is a change in the individual or collective social and psychological story. Each cancer cell or AIDs virus is a change in the shape of the body, the mind, the family, the emotions and ultimately the soul's adventure. Each contamination, whether by a snake bite or carbon emission, is natural ultimately, if humans are as much a part of nature as everything else. Each 'miscue' changes the scenery in the drama of soul-making on stage earth. Each act of abuse or damage, which is a more uncomplimentary name for 'remodeling,' is an act of renewal - a transition from one idea, feeling or state of being. Ultimately, every mis-take is a shift in the story, a change away from the current version of the 'self' to the next self in a succession of molting and shedding, moving us toward completion.

If this is a truth, and it is not the whole truth, then 'mistaken beliefs' and 'separations' are as necessary and important as our 'taken' or true beliefs. Actual 'Wholeness' is drawing the circle large enough to encompass the mistakes as well as the right-takes. The Chinese Taoists had something when they wrote, "In order to become straight, you must be crooked. In order to become perfect, you must be imperfect." (Tao Te Ching, 22)

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