Day 146: Memory

Making memories has been a marketing slogan since the beginning of advertising. Memories often be a trap for a person that goes through any sort of trauma or abuse. Just like good memories, the bad memories cause reactions. We can recall some memories and can’t recall others. As they say, “The mind works in mysterious way.” If we have memories we don’t want to remember, can we erase them completely from our mind?

In Hatha Yoga, the term Smitri is translated to English as memory. This is one of the Vrittis, or the fluctuations of the mind. Yoga, as defined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s it written: Yogas chitta vritti nirhoda. This simply says that Yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of the mind. The only time you can completely stop the thoughts of the mind is when you are no longer living. Our minds will constantly be working but we can train ourselves on how to react to those memories or fluctuations.

Let’s start with the bad. You are having the worst morning in your entire life. Then, you get a speeding ticket on your way to drop your 2nd grader off to school and the child has unbuckled the seat belt. The officer comes to your window and sees your child without their seat beat on before you realize it. Did you remember to put the child in a safety restraint? You can’t remember. You get a ticket for speeding and for your child not being in a seat belt.

Why couldn’t you remember? Perhaps, you make sure that the child is always strapped in so it has become an activity which you have just been mechanically doing. Had the presence been there while insuring your child’s safety, you would have remembered but there were too many things on your mind this particular morning. Now, if you are feeling like you are being shamed, don’t. The fact that the action of using safety restraints has become a mechanical process is a great thing because, as a child safety seat technician, I see too many cases where the child and the parent have no idea how they even work.

Our memory can work for us or against us. When you bring a present mind your mind records and doesn’t react to it. It gets stored deep in brain. When we walk in to the kitchen and forget why we walked in there in the first place, perhaps that was a mechanical response to some impulse. The reason you forget because the reaction is what triggered the action. You are not in control of what thoughts come in the mind, but, as mentioned in the last post, you are always in charge of your actions.