Like yours, my life has not gone to plan. There have been failed marriages, poor career choices, vast amounts of energy poured into avoidance and chasing fantasies. My mind and body have been frequently captivated by anxiety, frustration, and delusion. And yet, right now we can ask “where is the damage?” “Is it here now?”
In an instant we can see that the story of “my life” is not here. Unless we go digging through memories or referring to rehearsed thoughts about ourselves, we have to admit that we can’t find anything resembling damage.
How can this be so? How can our persistant imperfections, and all the ways we’ve been foolish and messed things up, have led to this moment where we can’t find the damage? We’ve made so many mistakes, even some big ones. So often we didn’t really know what we were doing and sometimes we didn’t care. And yet here we are, in this moment, free of debris. It is like the slate is miraculously washed clean and we are instantly saved.
But of course, this is also a characterization, merely the flipside of characterizing ourselves as burdened by our past blunders. We have not really been saved from anything, and there never was a slate to be cleaned. The whole story of “my life” only exists as a repetitive theme in the movement of thoughts. As soon as we look closely at what is actually here now, prior to our thoughts about what is here, the fiction becomes transparent.