Transforming Memories

January 3rd, 2013

A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. Lewis Smedes

Become the master of your memories instead of letting memory control you. Ironically, it’s because we forget who we are that memory runs riot in our minds. You KNOW who you are. You may just have forgotten.

So often, what we call memory is actually a way of forgetting, or at least selectively remembering. It’s all about emphasis. You are more likely to remember things that are unresolved and therefore replay them relentlessly. Your memory is like the black box in an airplane. The black box, which is actually orange so that it can be easily found in the event of a crash, records the final moments before a crash so that people can analyze what went wrong. The question, famously asked by a comedian, is

If the “black box” flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn’t the whole airplane made out of that stuff?

Engineering riddles aside, the important point here is that the only time you watch the black box footage is if you crash. In fact you watch it over and over again, analyze every word, and every action. If you don’t crash, you don’t watch it. It’s the same with our memories. We fill our heads with the crashes and play then over and over again. Memories and optimistic beliefs about yourself and about life are literally crashing into each other in your mind. Which ones endure? The ones that get replayed most often.

Jason Bourne, in the Ludlum spy novels, suffers amnesia and has no idea who he is, or how he knows what he knows. In one scene, he is sitting with a woman in a café and explains that within minutes he knows that the waitress is left-handed, the guy at the bar weights 215 pounds, he has memorized the license plates of all the cars parked outside, and he has no idea how he knows these things. He says to her,

How can I know so much and not know who I am?

It’s confusing, for Bourne and for all of us, because we remember strange and haunting details from our past but so easily forget our born identity. How can we know so much, and yet forget who we are so easily?

Its time for a little reality check. Remind yourself that you know who you are. You don’t know everything. That would be boring. There is much still to find out. But you know the essence of who you are.

Tell your memory, I know who I am.

Tell your detractors, and the nagging voice of judgment, I know who I am.

Tell those haunting memories, I release your power over me. I know who I am.

Tell the people who want to drag you back into old dramas, I know who I am and I aint going back.

Tell fear, I release you. I give you back your warped memories and small perspective.

Get out the black box and replay some memories where you exceeded your own expectations. Start playing a different movie in your mind; one where your character takes the lead in making proactive choices and a positive contribution to the world.

The essence of who you are is recorded in your spiritual black box. Your spiritual black box is your still, small voice within, and it’s constantly reminding you who you are, and gently leading you to be the best version of yourself. The voices of fear and judgment are like static, as if the radio is not quite on the station. Your true voice hums along in perfect pitch and tone.

Remind yourself who you are, and your life will follow. Get your memories in perspective, and your future will follow suit. There is a scene in Alice Through the Looking Glass where the queen says to Alice.

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

Even though, as the Queen says, this sort of memory can make you giddy, it is powerful. It is your memory of the future, your imagination, the point where the memory of who you are collides with your highest intentions. You understand with confidence what needs to be done, and why. Your memories, as with your dreams and your imagination, connect you to the often hidden, and mostly untapped, powers of your mind.

Deep down you have a memory of who you are, an essence that the anxieties and traumas of life, the crashes, have partially robbed from your conscious mind. Explore your dreams, memories and surprising thoughts to recover some of the power of your full humanity. Once you recover some of this essence, you will be open to it all and attached to none of it. For there is always more to come. You can either live kicking and screaming with your heels dug deep, or head first dancing and singing. Choose to live head and heart first, and tap some of the limitless power of your mind.

Transform your memories.

May your mind transcend limitations.
May your consciousness expand in every direction.
May you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. Patanjali

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  3. Cindi says:

    I definately agree with this, but some who have had horrific life experiences don’t find it so easy.  The brain can put memories to sleep until it’s ready to deal with them.  When recall happens, sometimes after many years, it is a shock emotionally and mentally. One truly never forgets, but over time hopefully one can forgive just to move on.

  4. Lubna says:

    Thank you for another thoughtful article – I love the bracketing of memory with imagination and dreams  – powerful transformation tools. Best wishes Lubna

  5. Nthatane says:


    These seeds bless me daily as I am on a path to change,loose weight,find peace, be the best parent I can be and be happy single.Thank u
    I just wish i could get audio messages to play in my car,I drive for an 1hr to get to wrk and this can be a good time spent to get me ready,focused for the day ahead.

  6. Thanks, Ian. This is right on track. We can heal ourselves if we heal our memories and choose to listen to “who we really are.” We all know it, but for the most part, we don’t go there.

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