As we grow older it is generally accepted that we will start to lose some memory, (if not all of it), and there will be many reawakened memories of the past which will be more vivid than the recent present.
Why would this be so, and can we break this pattern and bring a vital, vibrant, present livingness to each moment in the last years of our lives?
For example, whenever I go anywhere in the UK there is usually a memory of what I have done there, how I have been, the good times I have had, or some of the worst incidents in my life, the embarrassments, the triumphs, the people I met. It is all there ready to leap into my mind as I pass through towns and country, feeling the place, and having a sense of it.
Where was I in all this? And who was I in those past times? As I reflect on that I can feel that I was one huge body of emotion and beliefs. I was never with myself, so there is much I don’t remember, except for those dramatic moments of emotion that seemed to bring me into some sort of presence. It wasn’t a conscious presence, but more that these traumas or ecstasies isolated me in an intense moment that then lodged themselves in the unconscious, waiting to be brought forth again as a memory when triggered.
Living a life like this, in fits and starts, here one minute and gone the next, can bring us to a perilous old age of depending on these old memories to give us an identity.
As we get older it can therefore become more and more difficult not to ‘go back’ and dwell on past events or give them an importance they no longer warrant.
Ultimately this unwillingness to engage fully with our lives as we live them can lead to dementia.
How useful is this to us, to remember these more dramatic moments?
It depends how we respond to the memory.
If we react with the same emotion and replay it in the present moment, then we torture ourselves all over again, either from re-living the effects of the trauma in our bodies, or feeling a nostalgia for past happy times.
Neither of these is healthy or recommendable. We become attached to the past and carry it around with us and it influences our lives.
We know that two people have different views about the same event even half an hour after it has happened, so we all give the incidents our own interpretation, which makes ‘the truth’ we each believe unreliable. So many arguments, conflicts, wars, and campaigns have been waged in defence of ‘a’ truth. It is time for change …
Rather than the isolated versions of the truth of each one of us, we could start to feel the ‘One Universal Truth’; that we are all Love, and Love is available to us all the time, and we can choose to be present in every living moment. Then the whole of our expression – body, language, thought and action – will be respectful and honest, gentle, and consistent, all coming from that source of Love.
Connected to the Love we are, we can remain present, letting the memories come and go without emotion or reaction, just an observation of their rising and passing. They provide an opportunity to learn, so trying to forget them and turn our backs on them does not serve a loving purpose.
This way, as we reach our older years we can view life opening up before us, each day a new page, an opportunity to move forward into the new, rather than hang back and fester in the old. This opens the way for harmony to grow between us, in our day-to-day relationships, and throughout the whole world.
Joan C., UK