A Foolish Mistake

[Listen to Asha read this story]

A woman at Ananda made a foolish mistake. Her thoughtless remarks at a public gathering placed Swamiji in a bad light. This caused a misunderstanding with others that took some effort on his part to rectify. Swamiji took it calmly, and fortunately no lasting harm was done. Days later, however, she was still depressed about it.

“What are you moping about?” Swamiji asked her.

“I feel so bad about that stupid mistake,” she said.

“What an egoist!” Swamiji replied.

She was shocked. “I feel terrible about what happened! I’m not puffed up with pride about it.”

“Pride is egotism. An egoist,” Swamiji explained, "is someone who concentrates too much on himself – whether in praise or blame.

“Was it so surprising to find that you aren’t perfect? Why—days later—are you still brooding about it? An egoist thinks too personally about himself. Be realistic. Everyone makes mistakes. There is nothing special in that. Take it in your stride, learn from your errors, and go on.

“The essence of the spiritual path is self-forgetfulness—to break free from the confining little bubble of ego-consciousness.”

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