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In Answer to an Email About Memory

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  • medit8ionsociety
    From the Meditation Concepts section of our web site http://www.meditationsociety.com I Forget What It Is, But There Seems To Be A Problem With Memory When
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2004
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      From the Meditation Concepts section of our web site

      I Forget What It Is, But There Seems To Be A Problem With Memory

      When asked if he could sum up the most important thing his students
      should do to attain enlightenment, a Zen Master of old answered
      "Attention". When asked to elaborate on this, he replied "Attention,
      Attention, Attention".

      From the day we are born, and most likely even when we were in the
      womb, our memories have been keeping track of the events of our lives.
      All people have several types of memories being collected
      simultaneously: our sense perceptions are all being recorded
      separately, as if there was an inner video-camera focusing on our
      sense of sight, another on our taste buds, another on what we hear,
      one on what our body feels and yet another recording the aromas that
      float by our nostrils. Our emotional experiences are also collecting
      on their own VHS tape as are our minds thoughts.

      Since we rarely consciously experience the here and now, we are
      usually unaware of the recordings being made as they happen, but
      rather recall them after the fact or call on them as we try to project
      future actions. Even when we pay attention to the present, we
      habitually have an incomplete experience of all the data being
      received. We all have different inclinations of what we pay attention
      to. For instance, one person may witness their visual input primarily
      while another may be more cognizant of their emotions and another may
      mainly focus on their bodily temperature. So, we tend to ignore some
      of the tapes being made more than others and when we do pay attention
      to our preferred tape, we don't get a "real" view of the content
      anyway because we usually only observe a few of the many things being
      received. For instance, we rarely notice more than a few colors at one
      time even though our "cameras" often are recording thousands
      simultaneously. The same holds true of our other sense receptions --
      there are always multiple aromas, noises, tastes, and tactile
      sensations. Furthermore, our mind is often aware of only a drop in the
      ocean of our thoughts and emotions which at all times have a deep
      quantity and quality of activity on multiple conscious and
      subconscious levels.

      As we try to use our tape collection, we rarely have the ability to
      recapture more than a small percentage of the material available of
      any given scene we have recorded. On rare occasions such as times of
      shock, or under hypnosis, our tapes replay with a clarity that often
      times surpasses our experiences as we went through them. Police
      departments, for example, often hypnotize witnesses to crimes who can
      then recall previously unnoticed details, such as license plat numbers.

      We could do on and on but there isn't really any point -- you get the
      idea and probably won't remember the details anyway.

      So, the only thing left to do is to devise a game plan to deal with
      our faulty memory camcorder problems. Meditation offers a perfect one:
      Witness your life as it takes place -- your mind's eye is capable of
      observation of reality as it occurs. We only have to see what our
      sensual, emotional, and intellectual cameras are recording now, at
      this moment, and their contents will be replayable when needed with a
      fullness, accuracy, and usefullness never before available to us. We
      must simply witness -- not judge, compare, comment or anything else.
      As we see ourselves rehashing the past or fantasizing about the
      future, we must simply say "oh well" inwardly -- without chastising
      ourselves -- and go back to witnessing. This simple action rewards us
      with a depth and clarity of memory that will help us gain control of
      our life and freedom from the consequences of limited, habitual,
      unconscious behavior. All it takes is "Attention, Attention, Attention."
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