You make mistakes. You disappoint yourself. You succumb to temptation. You lose your cool in frustration. You make decisions based on false stories you tell yourself. In so many other ways, you forget to live "your best life".
You're human. It happens.
Hourly or even more often, if you're really paying attention.
Each moment you discover that you are not living or being the way that truly aligns with your highest purpose, your inner Buddha, your goals, whatever way you want to frame it - you have the opportunity of letting go and beginning again. Without judgment or recrimination. Just let it go.
I first heard this life lesson on the meditation cushion, listening to Sharon Salzberg's meditation course on 10% Happier. Good for me Sharon repeats it often in a single sitting and then over multiple days in the course, because I'm resistant to simple wisdom. I want to be special, different, unique. Basically, I don't want to be human. I want to be right.
Maybe about the 15th time I heard it did I think about actually listening and trying it for myself. Every meditation session offers at least 37 opportunities to let go and begin again. Every time you notice that you have been swept up in some daydream or some replay of that annoying thing that happened, you get the chance to let it go and give your breath your restful attention. You don't need to think about why you daydream or how long you were off in monkey mind town, you just let it go and begin again.
It's a real-life do-over, friends!
This do-over option isn't just for the meditation cushion, It's for all time and every time. This isn't an excuse to never hold yourself or others accountable. This isn't a way to deny or repress feelings. It's more like, I realize I am in a feeling or telling myself a story, and I'm going to note that and return to the breath. I'm going to engage in the present moment, whatever that is.
As Sharon says, you really won't improve or grow through tearing yourself down. Compassion and forgiveness lead to healing and growth. And in the case of mindfulness (and everything else), you have to start with yourself.
You, more than anyone else in the universe, deserve your love and affection. - Buddha
The moment of noticing is the point. We all have our minds wander on the cushion, or get lost in revenge fantasies from time to time. No stopping it by force. We notice, note, and let it go. Sometimes you will notice it right away, in the first few seconds and sometimes you'll be gone for minutes. Either way, same rules apply: Let go and begin again. With compassion and gentleness.
Let's say it all together: Let go and begin again!