Memory is a peculiar thing. Over the years I've likened the human brain to be more like a cheese platter. A smorgasbord of different cheeses each accompanying different flavours, textures, smells and shades. Each piece in itself is a wondrous delight of uniqueness. Put together you have a collection of elements, details, experiences all formulating into stories and memories. As the years pass on, we create more memories while losing others. The brain's ingenuity at recalling detail across multiple memory "cheese" blocks knitting and weaving together different episodes becomes more challenging and fragmented, that the simple task of past recall can suddenly take greater effort. This is what I call the `Swiss cheese' syndrome (ie. Cheese with holes).
When I troll through the platter of past delights, I always come upon past subjects of investigations; countless hours of fascination and study, in the hopes of bringing about some deeper clarity about the memories of who I am, why I am here and where I may have come from. Subjects that at some time I may have pursued and acquired a piece of new knowledge or even a true recollection from some deeper part of the soul. Studies and personal pursuits that may have helped me to reconnect and validate a vision or a sensation of familiarity, that I may have no other constructive form of evidence as to it being real except for the fact that it just felt `right'. Or even having memories that have suddenly surfaced from out of nowhere - memories of places I have visited in other countries, or the longing for a remote place on the other side of the globe that I have never been to and yet strangely I could easily call it Home. Where is this all coming from? And how does the physical cope with all the remnants of past-life memories? My swiss-cheese memory struggles with the boundless array of introspection, that it really can only piece together what the limited physical mind can comprehend and absorb at one given point. Then as time passes and more past memories resurface, we forget about the previous facts we may have arduously languished over, trying to take hold of more things that we learn about ourselves.
One of the places I have always been smitten with has been Nepal. There is a strange distant familiarity I have for Nepal, one that involves feelings and sensations of the land, the people, the smells and the lifestyle. I feel I know this nomadic lifestyle despite never having set foot in Nepal. I feel the depth of faith and worship within the people; their love and appreciation of their animals and their land; the cultivation of their rituals; and their humble acceptance of a simple and basic life. A friend in New Zealand would say that I appear Nepalese to them, and then on the other hand to another friend, I appear as an American-Indian woman. Perhaps both of these are true, and indeed all our past lives are mirrors onto other people, and they just appear as thin veils layered over the subtle physical.
A story my mother used to say to me, was from the moment I was able to sit upright, I would stare out at the world and observe the actions of people without making a sound or even a cry of concern or fear. She would observe me observing life and be so fascinated at my calmness and stillness that she began to develop romantic ideas of the possibility I had previously lived a monastic lifestyle and how wonderful it would be to have a spiritual person in the family. It wasn't until many years later as a young adult that I had confessed that I was indeed passionate about deep meditation, to which she retorted: "Meditation? For goodness sake, you're not going to put yourself in a monastery are you?!" I wondered what had happened to all the romanticism over spirituality and past lives she once had. Had they completely disappeared and lost a sense of significance?
There is beauty in the abundance of old memories that we can utilise and call upon. As to the quantity of resurfaced memories from the soul, how many of these are actually recognised and preserved only the human brain can answer that.
As for my mother, perhaps she was experiencing a case of the infamous Swiss-cheese syndrome; and that the reflections of the soul no longer deemed significant now, had vanished and dropped off. Perhaps they had somehow fallen through the cracks of two different `cheese' plates, lying in wait till they are needed only to resurface again. Or possibly, they along with other memories have escaped through the cheese holes - fading into the ether; never to be seen or heard from again. Only the soul can truly feel the loss. Yet for all the memories that we lose or shed, the soul will continue to dawn its light revealing the truth of who we are and what we were; over and over throughout time; until perhaps one day we begin to conceptualise, remember and retain the messages we are intended to receive.