Turning Mistakes into Lessons
The basic principle of spiritual life is that our problems become the
very place to discover wisdom and love.
--Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart
Recently, while discussing the topic of making mistakes at a A Course in Miracles, a woman shared that her most dreaded statement is, “Oh no, I did it again.” Mistakes that are not recurring are no big deal, at
least, not it the overall scheme of things. So what if you didn’t balance your checkbook to the penny, or you made a blunder on project at work? Those kinds of errors can easily be corrected and are not worth getting upset over. But the self-sabotaging mistakes we make again
and again are the kind that cause us to groan, “Oh God, not again.”
And yet, those very mistakes are what motivate us to turn inward, surrender, and ask for guidance. Some of your biggest mistakes have been your greatest advancements. Why? Because they create fertile soil for spiritual growth
to occur, they become your most profound life's lessons. Whenever you have gotten to the point of getting on your knees--not figuratively, but literally--you are on the most solid and sacred ground there is. A Course in Miracles reminds us, “Some of your greatest
advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.” In essence, the times in your life when you have felt in-charge, confident and surefooted may be the very times that you most need to surrender. Likewise, mistakes have the
capacity to soften us and remind us that there is a lesson in everything we experience.
Many of us desire a spiritual experience when we're in a lot of pain, but as soon as things appear to improve we say, "Okay, God, I can take it from here." However, inevitably, we’ll make more mistakes and problems will arise,
summoning us to the deeper experience we all yearn for. We can attempt to create a better life through repeated patterns of pain, or to maintain a spiritual practice that builds a partnership with God. The former approach will only cause more anguish, while the latter moves
us toward a life of greatness. A friend once shared with me this powerful acronym:
It’s commonly used in 12-Step Programs where the word “sobriety” is used instead of “spirituality,” but the meaning possesses the same effect. We “slip” whenever we seek something outside ourselves for fulfillment. There
is no food, drink, drug, sex, shopping, work, or relationship that can ever nourish the void we fill inside--that can only happen as we turn inward toward God.
Mistakes are a gift when we receive the lesson sometimes hidden within them. Whenever you’ve made a mistake, it’s been because you have forgotten that you are love. When we find it difficult to love and appreciate
ourselves and our efforts, we tend to run away from our mistakes, rather than learn from them. Not too long ago, I did something that I felt was a mistake, something I felt could have been upsetting to my husband, Tom. My intention was not to hurt him, nonetheless, my actions
could easily have done just that. Yet instead of him getting upset or blaming me, he took a look at himself and at the possible role he may have had in the situation. He sought to understand me rather than accuse me. His compassionate approach created a context in which I
could look at my mistake and understand why I did what I had done. It accelerated our awareness of the situation. Thus, instead of spending hours, days or weeks of feeling badly about what happened, we bonded more deeply and strengthened our commitment to our spiritual
practice. This particular circumstance shined the light on an old pattern that was in need of healing and it became a powerful life lesson.
What mistakes have you made that you haven’t forgiven? How might a mistake be seen as a powerful teaching device? Perhaps it’s how you handled something regarding a loved one, a work situation, or a financial
matter. No matter how long ago you made a mistake, if you are willing to call upon higher guidance and see the lesson within the situation, you will learn to be more compassionate toward yourself and others. What greater lesson could there be?
© Copyright 2006
Laura Grace. All Rights Reserved.
Read Laura's Past Columns:
Oct-Dec 2005- "Be Still"
July-Sept 2005 - "Balancing Your Wheel of Life"
- "Imaginary Borders"
2005 - "Witnessing the Truth About Your Life"
2004 - "Letting Go"
2004 - "Progressing with Passion"
2004 - "Deepening Your Spiritual Practice"
2004 - "Life's Crossroads: Love-vs-Fear"
January-February 2004 - "Faith the Foundation for Every
2003 Column - "Touching the Heart of Others"
2003 Column - "Knowing How to Care for Yourself"
2003 Column - "Dreaming a Happy Life"
2003 Column - "Living the Authentic Life"
2003 Column - "Rising Above the Battleground"
2003 Column - "Healing Through Your
2003 Column - "Are You Going with the Flow?"
2003 Column - "Living the Soulful Life"
2002 Column - "The Power to Change"
2002 Column - "Peace Begins at Home"
Column - "Spiraling to Higher Ground"
September 2002 Column - "Cradled in Nature's
August 2002 Column - "Recovering
Laura Grace is Co-founder of Infinite Wisdom, an organization dedicated to the highest human capacity, and a national author and speaker.
She is also host of the TV show "Relationship Wisdom." As a regular contributor for publications across the U.S. and Canada, Laura writes about human awareness and spiritual growth. Laura is the author of the widely acclaimed books The Intimate Soul and Gifts of the Soul, and the creator and teacher of various programs including the Self-Mastery Program, The Art of Compassionate Forgiveness, Wonderful Women: Reclaiming Our Power, Passion and Purpose, and Cultivating the Intimate Life. Please visit Laura's web site at:
As a spiritual counselor, Laura provides assistance in person and by phone. You may contact her for a free brochure at: