Do you think too much about your past?
Memories belong to the dead
Memories represent the dead. This applies to our mind as well as the body. It will not be wrong to infer that the body dies every second and then it comes to life every other second. This alternating cycle of both the body and mind gives the illusion of continuity of life. Life is never continuous. The presence of Life is, in the fact that death occurs every moment, followed by life the very next moment. What we think of or imagine is already an event in the past. We try to hold it in our present, but the fact remains that it is already dead and gone. Every cell of our body which includes trillions of brain transmitters hold information. The word cell which represents the smallest living aspect of our body, is a storehouse of emotions too. This word “cell’ is somehow parallel to the battery cell that holds electric energy. Our body cell holds memory (of the past). Our mind holds memories, thoughts and ideas of the past. Everything that belongs to a bygone moment is dead indeed.
Thinking about deceased people is depressing
If we hold closely to our personality, our views, our thoughts, what we feel about others and so on, without letting it go, it represents decay. When we hold memories of the past both good and bad, it represents holding on to decayed matter. It is proven beyond doubt that a thought is nothing but the subtlest aspect of matter. So, if we hold on to an idea or thought, it means we are holding on to matter which is decaying fast. Hence people holding on to the memories of deceased people are always dull and denuded of all vitality. They are depressing to be with. It is important to understand this theory about memories, if at all one is to regain vivacity of life. Remembering the good times that we had with our parents in childhood can never make one happy in the here and now. It is going to make you unhappier in the present moment. People usually slip into these non-value adding reminiscences when they want to escape the present moment. If someone is not happy in their current situation, they try to bring back attention on past events that made them feel happier then. This habit is very depressing. It is indeed a negative trait that is going to make you feel even worse. It is important to understand the science behind memories before we can deal with it head-on, so that our present becomes more interesting and engaging.
Time is in the mind
Time is in the mind. Memories are created because of time and if you have consistent memories bothering you, then you are in the warp of Time. Memories are better off purged, so that time does not get to you and disturb you. Your association with memories cannot be negated, yet it is important to work towards their release, from your system as much as possible. Unless you do that, your possibilities for the future becomes utterly curtailed. Holding to the memory means holding the past, which means in a way not allowing time to get rid of your pain, sorrows and other aspects of your personality which become toxic as you enter the future. Your happiness quotient is inversely proportional to the amount of time you spend in the past. The more you are in the past, the sadder you are and vice-versa.
Tips to get rid of memories
Sensual memory problems
One should understand that the body is a mass of memory which extends to the mind and make it a great repository of the past. One should first get hold of the mind. For example if something tasted good in your childhood, you would want to taste that stuff even after you are grown-up. This is sensual memory. One of the major reasons for our displeasure is that we are seeing the world change and we say “In our times it was not like this…” and so on. This creates a great impediment to accept change. This is based on our sensual memory. Hence one should learn to meditate on one’s breath or on the image of Vedic gods. These are powerful ways to get rid of these memories that are associated with the senses.
Episodic Memory problems
One may remember past events and the emotions connected with these events. Love, hatred, likes, dislikes related to such strong memories can create disharmony within our system in our present moment. The mind relives these episodes through present day situational triggers. One should learn the art of forgiving and letting go. One should understand that it is not we who run the world and whatever has to happen will happen. It is better to let go and move on. Meditation and chanting of the holy names of the Lord are good practices that can help us getting relieved of episodic memory problems.
Some useful meditation practices
Memory is useful but unconscious use of memory can create disturbances in our lives. The best way to rid ourselves from unwanted memories is by cultivating practices like being mindful of our breath and Pranayama. If we become mindful of our breath, our thoughts get focused on the present moment because breath is directly connected with the mind and the physical manifestation of our subtle layers of consciousness. Another great technique is to become aware of our body, as we sit or walk. Bringing back our attention on the way we sit, walk or lie down will rivet us to the present moment. Sometimes it is helpful to watch, whether our breathing is heavy or light and we should try to keep focus on the breath hitting our nostrils. Every time our mind goes along the memory lanes, one should slowly bring back the mind on the breath, without fighting with the mind or trying to block it. Trying to wrestle with the mind shall aggravate memories instead of slowing them down.
Memory is useful but memories are harmful
Remembering names of others, remembering what we have done the whole day, remembering mathematics etc are very powerful forms of memory that can enhance our life and make it more interesting. But remembering past events and the emotions associated with them are wasteful indulgences that suck out a lot of our present energy. Hence we need to graduate out of two major forms of memory namely sensual memory and episodic memory that we looked into in the earlier sections. All other forms of memory like short term memory and long term memories may be useful. It is also not a great practice to remember past events even if they were neutral events, even if they do not evoke negative emotions. Many times memory also enhances our capacity to gossip. This gossiping mentality also presents a big question on our integrity and our intentions. One should meditate and be mindful of what one speaks and should avoid discussing about the past. The moment we avoid discussing the past as part of gossip even the memories of non-consequential events of the past shall fade away which is good for one’s spiritual health.