Learning From the Past: Mistakes are Meant to be Made.

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Take a moment to think back to the past – how incredible it is: the subtlety with which time passes. Take any given memory, any scenario, and follow its consequences as far as you can into the present. Think of any direct consequences as well as indirect, abstract ones. The law of cause and effect is active in our world, and all actions have an infinite amount of effects which we cannot perceive or even begin to imagine. Vibrations are emitted and received by us all, even at the subconscious level. New ideas which we hear and see are constantly merging within our minds, forming pathways to endless possibilities, slowly taking shape, to be manifested at some point, somehow, somewhere. As a person, you can think back on major events in your life as well as small ones, and you can follow their effects to see where they have brought you. Like Bob Marley inquired of us through his powerful music, let us ask ourselves if we love the life we live, let’s really begin to sincerely question our life satisfaction. If we are not where we would like to be and we cannot figure out why, then the answer lies in our past. The answer lies in the habits and behaviors we’ve allowed to be built into us by the past we have lived. If we examine the past and everything that brought us to this point, we can learn from our mistakes and our achievements, and as this becomes a habit we can begin to create change in ways we never imagined we could before – or perhaps we imagined but we dared not believe. Once we have mastered this practice of self-evaluation, we can do the same with major events which have taken place in the world.

Now, although the outcome of this practice is all for the good, we cannot underestimate the power of inquiring into the worst moments of our past, both individually and collectively. We can study many inspiring moments – independence days, liberation days, revolutions, but we can also study and reflect on many unfortunate events which have taken place in our planet, such as catastrophes, war, massacres, inquisitions, holocausts, genocide, natural disasters. We can and must – all of us – learn from the past, not only our own, but the collective past that makes up what is known as human history, of every culture and civilization – how it rose and how it fell. The goal is to examine the past from a present point of view, from your current, more evolved standpoint, after having fully recognized and understood the position of the people of the past, of course. If what we are examining is a past evil, then it must be a perfect example to us of how not to behave in the present and future. We cannot however, under any circumstances, allow past memories to drag us through the feelings we felt during those times in our own lives, during times when we felt insecurity and fear, or shame or guilt, or anger or hate, or unbearable attachment to someone or something. And we certainly cannot carry around resentment for something terrible that was done to our ancestors, whether it happened hundreds or thousands of years ago. We simply cannot get emotionally involved with the past if we wish to sincerely examine it and learn for our own benefit and improvement as well as that of the world and the universe as a whole.

We need to look at our past selves as the ego’s identity at that moment, and we cannot begin to beat ourselves up for what we have done. We have to examine without emotion, frozen cold, as if we were observing someone else’s life – it is always easier to see what others are doing wrong than what we ourselves are doing wrong, quite simply because we are attached to our “life”, meaning our past. We fail to realize that the past is not alive, it is not real. All we have now are memories, stored in our brains – imperfect, fleeting memories. These memories allow us to evolve, to renew ourselves, to never make the same mistake again. We need not look too far into history to see how the various situations of the past, both good and bad, can be applied to the present in some form. Any culture’s history teaches us a lesson we can apply in our own lives, every philosophical and spiritual text is a glimpse into the wisdom of past cultures and civilizations, of devoted and inspired men and women. Like them, if we look carefully and calmly into the past we will probably find that there has been a lot pain. Pain is necessary to toughen us up, and pleasure is necessary so we can appreciate life. Too much of either will end in evil, and this is something we can all find if we look at our past or the past of the human species. The endless desire, the passion and the hunger for more – more land, more wealth, more people to control – is what has caused such calamities as those that still go on today – the conquest of land at the expense and death of innocent women and children, the killing of millions of people because of a disagreement in ideas and ideals, the manipulation of the mind for monetary gain. It all connects us back to now.

Take a look at society and see how the system still embraces evil at its core. In Venezuela the people currently starve and there are simply no basic supplies such as toilet paper. People are leaving and abandoning their children. Protesters have been killed in peaceful marches against armed government forces. People recently stopped rioting in my home country of Honduras, when the protesting created no change at all, except for destruction of public property, businesses and banks. The corrupt government in Nicaragua, Honduras’ neighbor, which has basically been in power for over thirty years is on the brink of being overthrown. Lula, the former president of Brazil has been sentenced to prison for twelve years for money laundering and corruption. Once they had pleasure, fancy cars and clothes, money stacked to the ceiling. Now they sit in jail. Big drug lords and their families are murdered every day. Yet the musicians promote drug dealing and consuming. The pharmaceutical industry promotes the use of antidepressants and pain pills, sleeping pills. While they get rich, we now have more school shootings than ever before, as well as opiate addiction and overdose. Many people get drunk to the point of having no control over themselves and end up killing innocent people when they get behind the wheel. Actions have reactions, consequences. Pleasure leads to pain quite often, and not all pleasure is the same. Neither is all pain equal. Some is inevitable such as the death of a parent, but some we create for ourselves since we refuse to let go of our attachments to things or people. Study the links, the connections, the works that have brought you to your now, the ideas which you have embraced and have led you to this moment, examine the ideas that contributed to the concertizing of those bigger ideas. Examine what you felt or thought about a certain situation or person at any given moment, but do not allow yourself to fall in the feeling again.

Simply examine and see if you were not acting based on your ego, if you were not doing or saying something in order to promote yourself or to brag, or to drag someone else down, or to feel better about yourself, or to belittle someone else for who they are. All of that is ego action, the fake self at work. The ego is the idea that we are alone in a hostile world, and we must compete to survive. It makes us attack, enslave and torture people who don’t believe what we believe. It makes us look down and laugh at those who have less material wealth than us. Only if we remove ourselves from our ego, as well as any bias that might make us agree with any evil committed in the past, or any internal pain that might make us extremely angry or frustrated with the past, can we study the individual and collective past with the Spirit, and recognize exactly how we can apply it to the now.

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Inspired people, the people who have in turn inspired nations, were fueled by the powerful ideas put forth to them by their predecessors, ideas of the past. They mixed them with their own ideas. One example of a notable work of literature which has inspired me personally to pursue my idea of the Rebel Movement is Henry David Thoreau’s classic essay “Civil Disobedience.” This short book has inspired many more people apart from myself, one of the most well-known being Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi, who read “Civil Disobedience” and through it gained a deep confidence and inspiration which compelled him to continue his own movement, his campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in India, decades later after Thoreau’s work was published. India’s independence probably would have come about just the same if “Civil Disobedience” had never been written, but one can never underestimate the power of a noble idea, especially if it is backed by a deep conviction that can be proved. Such was definitely the case with Thoreau. He was a strong-willed individual who chose to sit in jail for tax evasion, on the grounds that it was immoral to pay taxes in support of a government which was involved and funding the Mexican War which was going on at the time. A martyr, he preferred to sacrifice his own freedom than to support an ideal he did not believe in. He was eventually freed when, much to his dismay, a relative who had had just about enough of his nonsense paid the taxes he had refused to pay. What a great example of determination – a past act, a simple yet defiant, a ridiculous and brave act, which can inspire generations forever.

Choose any past event, be it a personal memory or a fact that you know happened. Take any given memory, any scenario, and follow its consequences as far as you can into the present. Think of any direct consequences as well as indirect, abstract ones. The law of cause and effect is active in our world, and all actions have an infinite amount of effects which we cannot perceive or even begin to imagine. If you can’t get too far with the memory or event you have chosen, choose a different one and follow its consequences up until you can’t follow them any longer or until you reach the present moment, whichever comes first. This will depend on the amount of time that has passed since the memory you chose to investigate. Try to connect the dots, so to speak, in order to form the bigger picture of your life. It’s there, just waiting for you to complete it, to find the way. It’s simpler than we often think.
We just need to be ourselves. Think about it. All we know is that we were born on this planet, and for the most part, most of us have no idea why or from where we came to be here. However, the fact is, or seems to be, that we were born on this planet, Planet Earth. We feel a certain way about certain things, and we are bound to act upon those thoughts if we follow through with them from the realm of thought into the realm of action. Many of us, however, confuse thoughts of desire and lust for our true desires, our true goals, those which we were born to achieve. We were all created in a special way, in God’s divine image.
As long as we are truly ourselves, and we follow the highest ideals within us, the thoughts and actions that deep within we know to be correct, then nothing can take us away from our true path of ascension. Learning happens from mistakes, so mistakes are a great help on your life journey, as they provide plenty of insight, if you take a moment to contemplate and discover it. We must learn to learn from the past and yet not to dwell on it emotionally or critically as we do so.

In conclusion, if we make a mistake which at the moment we did not know was a mistake, and we had no ill intention, then there is no real harm done. Yes, we will still have to face consequences of our mistake on the physical plane, but as the true seeker knows, these consequences form part of our learning, and are not to be resented or avoided. If we had no ill will when we committed a mistake, and we learn our lesson and incorporate our new knowledge or wisdom into our lives, then we will not make the same mistake. Our original mistake has therefore turned into a valuable experience to us, as it has provided the fuel needed in order to create change, which arises from true learning, hands-on learning, making mistakes. If you find yourself feeling down at the moment, feeling defeated by life and its stresses, just know that it all passes, and life provides its fair share of pleasure and pain, and all are meant to teach us lessons we must learn. But we must make the conscious choice of constantly analyzing and learning and applying to life. Take a second to breathe, and realize that, if you have learned from your mistake, then you are always right where you need to be, perhaps at a fresh opportunity to try again, and to defeat the devil that has haunted you and kept you chained.
~ REBEL SPIRIT

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