The #SpiritChat conversations over the past two Sundays – Inner Workings of the Mind and Inner Conditioning and Habits – have generated a lot of diverse insights into the mind, its workings, its effect on our inner conditioning, and how ingrained patterns lead to formation of habits. One of the aspects that we haven’t talked about much, is the role of memory, its connection to ego, and its effect on our external and internal awareness.
So, what is memory? One definition is that it is the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information. We are perhaps born with this faculty, this ability, this skill – some may loosely refer to it as the brain – and as we grow, and our physical brain grows, our ability to gather, store and then remember or retrieve information, also grows. For most people, this faculty (of memory), reaches its peak at a certain age, after which, the process of aging can cause a drop-off of this skill. We may start losing our ability to gather information, to store it, or to retrieve it – or it could be any combination of those three abilities. While a discussion about how these three aspects of memory can affect us is beyond the scope of this conversation, suffice it to say, that a good, well-functioning memory is considered to be a significant quality of life skill, by most people.
Another definition of Memory may be in the context of something remembered from the past, a recollection. It is this ability, of us to remember, that is crucial for us to develop our discriminative side – the ability to know, and remember, and recall, that touching a hot pan with our fingers leads to pain. The ability to experience, and remember, and recall, that eating vanilla ice-cream with hot chocolate fudge sprinkled with nuts leads to (some degree) of pleasure! So, the accumulated sensations of pain and pleasure, as stored in our memory, shape and influence our mind by creating ingrained patterns (inner conditioning, habits). When faced with an action choice, the mind may ask memory – is this action likely to produce pain or pleasure? Our choice is likely to be based upon an avoidance of pain…
So, how do we break out of ingrained patterns that no longer serve us well? It is hard to break out of them because the memory and the ego are in collusion. Our accumulated memories of pleasure-producing actions are continuously feeding our ego with fear, encouraging the ego to avoid new actions – for there is no record in our memory of what results those new actions will bring. Once the memory bank has had a sufficient deposit of actions/results which had produced ‘pain’ in the past, the mind starts becoming conditioned – and responds with fear, when faced with the mere possibility of a new action. The ego’s response is based on what our memory informs our mind, even before the intellect (our higher intelligence) has a chance to intervene and give its opinion. The biggest casualty of this cycle of conditioning? Self-Awareness.
How do we break out of this pleasure-pain duality that exerts control over our mind through the memory faculty? Which memory vaults need to be ‘cleaned out’ in our lives, for us to improve our mental health, and hence our spiritual health? What is the risk in taking actions which are not influenced by memory? What are the rewards? How do we break this collusion between our memory and our ego (that produces fear), so that we make choices in self-awareness?
If you have read this far, and have some thoughts to share with us, or would like to ‘hear’ the thoughts of the #SpiritChat community on this topic, please join us for our weekly twitter chat on twitter – Sunday, August 31st at 9amET / 2pm UK / 6:30pm India. If you would rather share your thoughts in the comments, please do so, and one of us will be sure to respond.
Namaste, and Be well.
Kumud (@AjmaniK on twitter)
Ready? Q1. #Memory ~ creates a life full of memories… What are some of your choice ones? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506065061862191104
Q2. #Memory can serve us well. What are some instances when it has NOT served you well? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506066875294691328
Q3. “Remembering is easy. It’s forgetting that’s hard”. Agree or disagree? Why or why not? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506068724051619841
Q4. Any specific tools to train the faculty of #memory ~ to weed out what we don’t want any more? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506070948106485761
Q5. Memory informs us of both pain and pleasure. How may we extract value from painful memories? Should we? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506072782581821441
Q6. How does our having a good (or bad) #memory influence our Ego? Our actions? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506074073596952576
Q7. There is a time to hold on, a time to let go. What role does Ego play in this decision? Does it? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506075174496927744
Q8. How can we use the faculty of memory AND our ego – to build self-awareness? Can we? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506076398742941696
Final Q9. This question is yours. What would you like to ask the community about #Memory? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/506077516894076928
Questions from participants, in response to Q9 ~ Thank you, to all who contributed questions 🙂
Q9 How do memories hold us back from forgiveness? #spiritchat https://twitter.com/denisebuchman/status/506078294782275584
A9; would you erase it if you could?? #SpiritChat https://twitter.com/margiebonwick/status/506078130008625153
A9 Which of your memories imprison you? How does your life change if you reinterpret it? #spiritchat https://twitter.com/EmeliaSam/status/506078334145421312
A9.When will you let go of the memories that are holding you back? #spiritchat
A9 if given a choice to have powers to choose your memories, would you like to acquire those powers? #spiritchat
A9 How can you use your painful memories to help others who are still there? #spiritchat https://twitter.com/SignyTheSage/status/506078948342898688
A9: Do memories help us in repairing our negativity and ego? #spiritchat https://twitter.com/GThakore/status/506080378377875458
Full Transcript for “Memory, Ego and Awareness #SpiritChat Sunday, August 31st.