Article - Memory


Article 10 - Memory
by Rajen Vakil

We do not realize that we spend our whole lives in the bondage of memory. Not a single moment goes by when we are free of memory. In all relationships – whether as a husband, wife, son, daughter, or friend, we are always in memory. Is it possible to set aside two minutes every day when we just ARE; and not becoming anything or playing any social role? It is easier said than done; to hold such a state for even a few seconds is very difficult; today, one can only imagine the feeling of freedom we might get if we reach there. Let us see what practices can lead us to this end.

Some of us fast once a week; similarly, can we decide that for a day we will try not to speak from memory with anyone unless it’s very important? Say, if someone asks or tells us how interesting yesterday’s match was, do not immediately go into memory and say that I remember a more interesting one. Of course, the thought will come but we will not express it. Gradually, we will introduce this in all our conversations. Say, a person tells us that his son plays tennis; we will not say that mine plays badminton.  If we observe, a lot of our talk is around ‘I’. I told you so, that is why I did this, or I was right from the beginning, and so on. All this is memory and as we practice it will all drop.

We can then take the practice to our thoughts. Most of our thinking is associative. For example, we see someone’s green car and remember the green shirt we wanted to buy. Our memory is a huge network of connections, mostly random. It is like dialing a wrong number. Green car dialed green shirt. All this happens so mechanically that we never realize how these wrong numbers control our lives. So we now practice the dropping of associations. This is very difficult and is usually done with the help of a guide and persistence is a must.

A day will come when we see an object, or a friend, and no thoughts spring up automatically. My teacher called this bypassing of memory. This is “moksha” or the deepest freedom we can ever experience.