The Danish Christian philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, was once quoted as saying that life is lived forward but understood backward. I can attest to that in my own life. Perhaps if one practiced the art of mindfulness more, this would not be a necessary truth. In the Buddhist tradition, if one is truly mindful, one is, or one has, completely trained the mind to be in the fullness of each moment. No easy task to say the least but it is possible, and in the words of Hamlet, “… a consummation devoutly to be wished….”
An illustration of this might be that let us say that one is washing dishes. While washing dishes, the mind is focused on the task at hand. Not thinking about what one has to do next or what one did not do in the past, or what one will wear to work the following day, etc. Just washing the dishes. The temperature of the water. The motion of scrubbing the plate, the clanging sound of one dish hitting another, The rhythm of the breath while washing the dishes, etc. The act of washing dishes may simply be viewed as a form mediation in and of itself.
It seems in this way, if one is in the moment fully, the lessons of the moment can be comprehended then and there and not when one has the luxury of hindsight, or because one’s mind is all over the place. These are just my own personal speculations on the subject.
Regarding the cycles of one’s life, it would seem to me that if one accepts that life experience, the living of one’s life is, like history itself, is not linear but cyclical, what goes around actually does come around, and that if we are conscious of this, then we are different persons as the cycles reappear—hopefully. In this way we all actually do get second chances to act or react to the situations that come our way in different and perhaps more creative ways.
I can only speak for myself obviously, but what is most frustrating to me is not that I make a mistake in a situation, but when I make the same mistake time and time again, each time that life brings the same lesson to me. This is where I get the most triggered. However, it would also appear to me, that the act of patience and forgiveness, with myself as well as others, is always a prime lesson in the cycles of my life.
Peace to you all,