We all know the old saying “You can’t change what has happened in the past”. On an obvious level this carries definite truth, but if we look a little deeper we find that in reality we change the past every time we think about it. To see how this is the case, let us consider a simple example:
Let’s say at work yesterday I made a simple mistake. Today I happen to be feeling generally happy and confident, and so when I remember the mistake I made at work yesterday I find it east to laugh off. When others make fun of me for it, I laugh with them. Life is good, and so my memory of a past mistake and its significance is generally benign and has no power to cause me upset.
Fast forward to tomorrow, I wake up feeling generally out of balance; I sense old fears and agitations in my mind as I go to work. Mid- way through the morning someone mentions the past mistake I made two days ago. Because the general climate of my mind is negative and turbulent, as soon as I remember my mistake mentally I start attacking myself for being so stupid, I feel embarrassed by the mistake. The gravity of my error seems significant enough to knock me further off balance.
In this example we have two different days, two different REMEMBRANCES of the SAME event. Each time we experience the past event in a new way according to our present state of mind. From this we can see that we do indeed have very real power to change the past each time we remember it.
To take our memory as our object of meditation means to be mindful of the power that our mind has to re-invent the past, and to ensure that we are mentally framing past events in a way that is constructive and serving us, rather than a way that is causing us to be trapped in a cycle of misery, pain, discontent and so forth.
Your life is your meditation, and meditating on positive use of memory is an important meditation practice to develop!
Thanks for reading,
Yours in the spirit of the journey,
PS: All are invited to the new two part meditation class, Tuesday evenings February 22nd and March 1st: “Landscapes Of The Mind: Finding Inner Power and Balance In Your Life Through Meditation on Wild Nature And Landscape” .
If you are not in Singapore, the classes will be available for purchase as recordings.
© Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org