The other day I was reviewing a mistake that got made. As it happens, I was the one who made it.
Here's what I noticed: it's very difficult to forgive yourself for mistakes. For one thing, you're supposed to know better. For another thing, you're supposed to know better. And thirdly, you're supposed to know better.
So it's tough to extend tenderness under such circumstances; one has to face the awful fact that the ego still has its sticky fingers on one's behavior.
By the ego, I mean the part of my mind and your mind that lives scared and thus responds with fear to almost anything that happens -- if we're not watching. In this case, I wasn't watching.
And I don't mean to say the ego is evil; it's not. It's simply a point of view from which we examine our world. It's because the ego's lens tends to be a fearful one that it makes sense to keep an eye on its movements. After all, whatever lives scared lives small.
In fact, if the ego were our only resource, we would be in serious trouble. Luckily, it's not. All of us who have tumbled on to the Self beyond the ego are aware we have a major Friend in our corner; one who rescues us again and again and again from our own self-made tangles, to say nothing of the banana peels that slide under our feet at random.
You remember the great shoelace adventure. You had one. I had one. Everyone had one. We all have to learn basic shoelace: it's a mandatory course. And you recall, no doubt, how you learned: clumsily.
So before a youngster gets the hang of the shoelace, he's going to tie it the wrong way 50 times, 100 times, maybe even 5000 times. And there we are, sitting alongside, saying patiently: "No, that's not quite the way it goes. Watch. Now, try it again."
And in the beginning, while the child is trying to copy movements he does not understand, he does it wrong over and over and over and over. He gets frustrated. He gets mad. He kicks off the shoe and calls it a toad.
But as he proceeds to tie it wrong over and over and over again, making a dazzling number of ingenious mistakes, something in his mind begins quietly to open . Eventually, in one breathless moment, he does it: he grasps the principle of the knot.
Then he's free.
He doesn't need us now, he's off tying bows in shoelaces, string, hairbows, telephone cords, ribbon, wrapping cord -- anything long and thin that can bend.
He doesn't need us because the principle of tying is embedded in his computer. It's installed. Now he can use it; NOW it's up and running and rushing into high action on its own.
So you know when I tell you somebody made a mistake yesterday and it was me, that the principle of Peace is not yet fully installed on my hard disk.
But there's one thing I'm certain of.
It will be.