The power of memories in our day to day lives is often overlooked.
Memories can be powerful tools, or they can become anchors holding us hostage to the past. Memories can color the value of life and relationships. If we recognize their power, then we can use them to make our life better.
“Memories can either bind us to the past or link us to the wisdom for living a more enlightened present.” ― Guru Tua
We can spend a great deal of our precious time in places other than the present moment. Don’t let memories hold you hostage. Here’s the process we recommend. First, identify significant memories, those that are attached to strong emotional triggers (via The Repeating Question). Second, chose to break the links with or between any negative or positive memories. Then finally, learn how to turn up the volume on the positive and turn down the volume on the negative.
The Repeating Question
The practice we use for identifying significant memories is with a tool we call, “The Repeating Question.” Ideally, you work with a partner who asks the question and times the session. But, you can do this on your own as well. With a partner, you sit facing each other. Your partner asks the question and you answer. You jot down a few keywords to help you remember your answer. Then, your partner asks the question again. You do this for 5 minutes. One question for 5 minutes seems like a long time, but once you get started it goes quickly. Initially, you’ll provide superficial answers, but if you keep asking the same question long enough, you’ll pull up some interesting data about your memories and the emotions attached to them.
The key here is, to be honest with your answers. Don’t say things you want the other person to hear. It’s best to work with someone you don’t know well.
When you use the repeating question on your own, set a timer, be honest. Repeat the question out loud, don’t just repeat it in your head. You’ll probably need to go longer than 5 minutes to get to anything meaningful.
A suggested list of repeating questions
Here is the list of Repeating Questions we recommend for identifying significant memories:
- Tell me about a memory that always makes you happy.
- Tell me about a memory that always makes you sad.
- What is the oldest memory you have, how does it make you feel?
- Tell me about a memory you associate with hate.
- Tell me about a memory you associate with love.
- What are the memories of childhood that bring you the most joy?
- Tell me about a memory you associate with nature.
- Tell me about a memory you associate with family.
- What memories bring up the emotion of fear?
When you’ve completed the session, review the keywords you’ve jotted down and flesh out the memories in more detail. You’ll end up with a memory inventory of positively and negatively charged memories. Some of the memories you’ve listed may be things you haven’t recalled in some time, at least on a conscious level. Some of the memories may be on more than one list. The power of memories will probably start to make more sense now.
Breaking the link
After you’ve completed a memory inventory you may discover the same memory has both negative and positive emotions attached. The power of memories lies in their ability to color our present reality. The power of memories also lies in their ability to change over time, especially the emotions attached.
For example, you experience a happy event, a marriage ceremony. This initially becomes a happy memory you associate the memories of this event with love. You are betrayed by this person. The memory of the marriage ceremony becomes associated with betrayal a negative memory. This association then goes on to negatively color your value of marriage or ceremonies or both. Breaking the link is a decision. A decision to minimize the negative association with the smallest possible event. This will mitigate its effect on our life, our emotions, our Paradigm.
As with our example above, we aren’t going to erase the memory. We can, however, minimize the effect of the betrayal. We learned we that associate the betrayal with the marriage ceremony and understand that it taints our view of this ritual. So, we chose to mitigate the negative effect and move it to the act of the betrayal alone. This may take some time but it is possible.
We “know” how the act of betrayal taints a the ceremony of the relationship and we chose to remove it from this event. As we attend other marriage ceremonies we can check in with ourselves emotionally. Asking yourself how we feel and checking to see if the past negative association is still tainting the event. If the association still exists, then we can consciously keep making the decision to move it away from this to the responsible party.
Adjusting the Volume
This the last part of the strategy on taking control of the power of memories. It can also be the most effective. You have your inventory of memories and those that are associated with positive emotions. Now make these positive memories a part of your daily affirmations. Turn up the volume on your positive memories by bringing to the forefront of your awareness. Put keywords that bring these positive memories to your awareness. It’s as simple as that. but, it is a very powerful way to use the power of memories to benefit our future.
Using the Power of Memories
The interesting thing is that the more you do this exercise the more other positive memories will come forward. You will begin to gain momentum turning the power of memories to your advantage. This will increase your positive outlook on life. People with positive outlooks tend to attract other positive people and situations.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
Image by Unsplash.