He asked me what i regret, i think, because he considers that my head is on pretty straight, which is definitely not true. For a variety of reasons my head is probably on more crooked than most people's heads are. There are of course, a few things that everybody knows or should know: the Golden Rule, the Eightfold Path, the Buddha within, the Ten Commandments, the sermon on the mount, the four immeasurables, the works of mercy,and, of course, the Prime Directive and the Hippocratic prime directive -- First, do no harm. I have failed, at one time or in one way or another in all of these things; and the failures i remember i truly regret
Getting more specific than that, doing a confessional or a fourth step is not likely to benefit anyone but me. My regrets are mine, they should not necessarily be yours. I regret what i regret and i don't regret what i don't regret no matter what opinion any one else might have of that. To paraphrase a Taoist saying: Why should i regret what others regret; they are following a broad path going nowhere, while i am following a narrow path to somewhere even less.
Regrets may not even be all that valuable. Guilt is a questionable motivator, probably a dangerous one. When i say: "I'm sorry." what i am saying is that i am "one sorry son-of-a-bitch." What people want to know is whether i am going to repeat my "sorry" behavior, not whether i regret it.
When i was thinking about regrets, i thought about my autism. Do i regret being autistic? Do i wish i had found out about it years earlier so i could have tried to counteract its effects on friends and family and career? Then i decided that that is really silly! I had no choice in these matters and therefore they should not be fitting subjects for regret. I might as well regret that the U.S. was an enslaving culture for so many years, or that the Tao Te Ching isn;t longer.
One regret that might be worth passing on is the lack of presence in my own life, in my marriage, in my family, in my friendships. I look back on my first 25 years of marriage from the perspective gained in the second twenty five and see how distant i was from the people i was supposed to care about, from the people i did care about. I might as well have sent my family a monthly check from out of town for all the awareness and participation i lacked. Be. Here. Now., in Love.
No doubt there were choices, important choices, that i should have made in a greater state of presence. Which way the choices went, whether they were good or bad, matters less than that they were not made by a more real and aware person.