L: Sir, why are we unable to come out of memories? It’s only due to the pain of heartbreak or something like that.
AP: But Memories are very nice.
L: Sir, bad memories.
AP: Oh, bad memories are nicer. We are attached. See, there is a direct way of remembering something. How? By remembering it. This is a direct way. In fact, this is an honest way. You say “I am remembering something.” So, you put photographs in your house and all that, right? And you say, “Because I want to remember something or somebody or some event, I have put all these photographs. They will remind me and I will remember.”
And there is also a dishonest way of remembering something or somebody. What is that dishonest way? Daily, for two hours, I try to forget that person. Just like people meditate in the morning two hours, I also devote two hours in the morning and two hours in the night for forgetting some person. What am I doing? I’m trying to forget. This is a very proven and a very dishonest way of remembering.
Our mind knows what to delete. Can you recall every single event that has happened to you since today morning? The mind automatically knows what to delete. And what does the mind delete? That which is not important. Will you remember this? Whatever is not important is immediately deleted by the mind. Right? That is the reason why you are still sane. Otherwise, the mind will become so cluttered with memories that you will lose all your sanity.
You see, you are going through so many experiences every hour. If you have to remember everything, it will be painful. Wouldn’t it be? The mind will be overloaded. So the mind automatically knows what to forget. What to forget? That which is not important. But if you make something important then the mind will never forget it. How do you make somebody important? How do you make something, somebody, some event important? By saying that it is important. When you say that I must forget that person, what have you made that person?
AP: Now, will you ever forget him? Because the mind forgets only that which is not important. But we keep spending our time trying to forget the bad memories. In trying to forget, you have already ensured that you will never forget. Never forget. Similarly, just as you remember good memories, you will also remember bad memories. There are only two kinds of things that you remember. One, all your good memories and second, all your bad memories. Do you remember ordinary things?
When you were in class sixth you had a fracture in your hand, you remember that right? But do you remember what you were doing on 11th October when you were in class 6, an ordinary day, nothing special happened, do you remember that day? You don’t remember it. But had you had an accident on 11th of October, then 11th of October would become permanently stationed here (signaling to head). Right? Or, had you met someone special on 11th October then too you would remember 11th October.
So, good and bad are just two sides of the same coin. When the mind is giving importance, it calls it good or bad. And nothing is worthy of great importance. No event in the past deserves such seriousness. Nothing is to be called so important. Only the present is important. But we want to keep good memories. Whenever you will try to keep good memories, you will find that along with you are also keeping lots of bad memories. If good is important then bad is also important. But our attempt is, “let me retain all the good memories and let me forget all the bad memories.” That is impossible. That cannot happen. That is against the law of the mind. In fact, the more bad memories you have, the good memories will appear all the sweeter.
You see, a lion was coming to eat you and you were going to be surely killed. A stranger comes and saves you. You want to keep only the good part of it and forget the bad part. Is it possible? You want to remember only that you were saved by a stranger, but the moment you remember that you were saved by a stranger, you will also have to remember that you were about to be killed. So, good and bad will always go together. And because the event was so bad, hence the fact that you were saved is so good. Don’t you see that? Yes?
Because the event was so threatening, hence there is a deep relief that you would be saved. Is that not so? But nobody asks, “Sir, how I get rid of my good memories?” You always ask that how do I get rid of bad memories. It’s like asking, “Sir I have a coin, how can I have only one face of the coin?” The other face will always be there. A coin will always have two faces. So it’s not about good memories or bad memories, it’s about a mind that gives importance to memories. And so long as memories remain important, you will never be able to forget them. Memories are not important. What is important is the present.
If right now you are still wandering in memories, can we relate to each other? If some of you are still thinking of some event in the past, will you be able to listen? Yes? Memories are not important. Let them be there. Some of them might be little useful. For example, the password of your email account. That too is a memory. It’s a useful thing, neither good nor bad. Let it be stored. Except for that, only what is real, what is happening, only that matters. Memories don’t matter, get rid of them. And you get rid of them by seeing that they are not important.
Only the present is important, I’m repeating: don’t live up by memories, don’t live out of the past. And there are many people who feel very satisfied in saying, “You know, now I have only memories,” especially old people. And you would have heard songs where the young man is saying, that you are not there but your great memories are here and that he can survive just by being in memories — All this is a sickness; don’t fall prey to it.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to get rid of memories?
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