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It Pays To Turn Away From Memory Lane

To illustrate what memory , or the lack of it, can do, Osho tells us the story of Hua Tzu , a man who was forever happy, feeling light and burden-free. But this state of mind came at a price - loss of memory. He had no problems with anyone because he would forget all their misgivings in a short while. There was no anger, aggression, competition, comparison, jealousy, or envy; no need to be clever, nor to be sly, no regrets or guilt. It bothered the people around him. He would receive a gift in the morning and forget about it by the evening; get a gift in the evening and forget about it by the morning. But Hua Tzu was in bliss. He was only living in the present, no recollection of past problems and no future anxiety. Stationed far above mental turbulence, forever sitting by the pool of joy. As that is our natural state when we are shorn of subconscious collection that includes our memories.

One part of our memory comes from genes we inherit from our biological family. This ancestral property includes physical traits, colour of the eyes and skin, shape of our nose, and even diseases present from birth but lying dormant. Another type of memory that comes with birth is social memory, made of social experiences, including historical events, facts, and stories deemed important by society. Social memory creates numerous perceptions of good and bad, such as the belief that tall and fair-skinned people are good and dark-skinned people are not. Similarly, someone of a different religion might not have wronged you, but you might harbour resentment against them due to social memory.

As long as we are burdened by these memories, we cannot be free to live joyfully. Something similar happened to Hua Tzu. Worried about his forgetfulness , Hua Tzu's family sought the help of physicians and shamans, but nothing worked until a Confucian came along one day. He focused on reforming Hua Tzu's mind and changing his thoughts. And lo, overnight, Hua Tzu was back to being his old self, and he was livid. He chased out his wife and sons and the Confucian. All his old memories were back. He was once again burdened by his past pains and future anxieties. He was no longer happy and free.

Most of our spiritual practices are aimed at helping us break loose from the burdens of the past - old habits, perspectives and prejudices. Forgetting or destroying our memories may not be possible, but we can work on being unaffected by them, not allowing them to colour our present behaviour. This is true sannyas . Meeting every moment with a fresh gaze. Practices such as mantra jap, meditation and pranayama can centre us; writing a journal to pour out all that is on the mind can help release our subconscious collection. What can also help is accepting all situations without complaining, as they are meant to help us evolve, and sailing through them by giving our best, and as the Gita says, offering all our actions to the Divine. With this attitude, we feel light. Only when we are light can we go far.

Authored by: Mona Mehta



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