Repentance means retrospective awareness, repentance means looking backwards. You have done something. If you were aware then no wrong can happen, but you were not aware at the time you did it. Somebody insulted – you became angry, you hit him on the head. You were not aware what you were doing. Now things have cooled down, the situation has gone, you are no more in anger; you can look backwards more easily. You missed awareness at that time. The best thing was to have awareness at that time, but you missed it, and now there is no point in crying and weeping over the spilt milk. But you can look, you can bring awareness to that which has already happened.
That is what Mahavira calls pratyakraman, looking back; what Patanjali calls pratyahar, looking in. That’s what Jesus calls repentance. That’s what Buddha calls pashchattap. It is not feeling sorry, it is not just feeling bad about it, because that is not going to help. It is becoming aware, it is reliving the experience as it should have been. You have to move into it again.
You missed awareness in that moment; you were overflooded by unconsciousness. Now things have cooled, you’ll take your awareness, the light of awareness, back. You move in that incident again, you look into it again as you should have really done; that is gone, but you can do it retrospectively in your mind. And Buddha says this cleanses the heart of the evil.
This looking back, continuously looking back, will make you more and more aware. There are three stages. You have done something, then you become aware – first stage. Second stage: you are doing something, and you become aware. And third stage: you are going to do something, and you become aware. Only in the third stage will your life be transformed. But the first two are necessary for the third, they are necessary steps.
~ Osho ~