Memories are a way of checking in with the script playing in your life. Be inspired by happy memories and work at healing difficult memories. Focus on gratitude to harness positive memories and build courage to face traumatic memories.
Oscar Wilde said, “Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” Short term memory is like post it notes before thoughts are put into the diary. Short term memory holds 4 or 5 things and only for 10 to 20 seconds. From there memory either gets written in ink in the long term diary, which is large beyond comprehension, or held in the mysterious vault called the subconscious mind. From there, memory is as much of a mystery as dreams. It’s part of the mystery of who you are.
Philip Roth wrote,
Each of us remembers and forgets in a pattern whose labyrinthing windings are an identification mark no less distinctive than a fingerprint.
Memory’s mysteries remind us that there is always more to come and more to uncover. Déjà vu, recovered memories and extraordinary knowledge connect you with hidden powers. You have limitless capacity; capacity to heal, to grow, to learn, to relearn, to know and to thrive.
Emotional mastery involves a process of mindfully engaging memory, digging for new memory and integrating memory into a meaningful current perspective. Sometimes this is a straightforward process, like the smell of the beach that takes you back to awesome, childhood vacations.
Other times it can be a traumatic process.
There is a scene in the new movie A Dangerous Method, about the relationship between Freud and Jung. A woman, Sabina Spielrein, is receiving therapy in the customary position in front of the therapist Jung. They have this conversation:
Carl Jung: Have you any idea what brought on these attacks you suffer from?
[Sabina starts having spasms]
Sabina Spielrein: Humi…humiliation…any…any kind of humiliation. I can’t bare to see it! It…it makes me feel nauseated. I start pouring with sweat, cold sweat.
[Sabina has another spasm]
Sabina Spielrein: My father lost his temper all the time. He was always…he was always angry.
[she suddenly stops talking]
Carl Jung: When you stopped talking just now, did a thought come into your head?
Sabina Spielrein: I don’t know!
Carl Jung: Or an image, perhaps? Was it an image?
Sabina Spielrein: Yes! Yes!
Carl Jung: What was the image?
Sabina Spielrein: It was…a hand! My…my father’s hand.
Carl Jung: Why do you think you saw that?
Sabina Spielrein: Whenever he…after, whenever he…hit us, afterwards we had to…we had to kiss his hand.
Carl Jung described the personal unconscious as “lost memories, painful ideas that are repressed, subliminal perceptions, . . . and contents that are not yet ripe for consciousness”. It’s all stored somewhere in the brain. It may feel safer locked away, but at the right time you can thrive as a person if you allow lost memories to resurface.
Recovering memories is a two part process; recovering and then re-covering them with new meaning, retrieving them and then reweaving them into who you are now, or in some cases, remembering them and then forgetting them because they no longer have a hold over you.
Beyond positive and negative memories, you also have a memory of who you are at your essence, an essence that the anxieties and traumas of life have partially robbed from your conscious mind. Explore your memories to recover some of the power of your full humanity. Once you recover this essence, you will feel like a new person with a wide array of emotions, thoughts and memories, none of which define you but all of which are part of your evolving humanity. There is always more to come, more to learn and more to REMEMBER. Keep going. There are two small words in the middle of remember; ME and BE. There is more being to be, and more YOU to become.