American Institute of Vedic Studies

SPECIAL $50 HOLIDAY DISCOUNT EXTENDED!! NOW ENDS IN

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

Beyond Mind, Memory and Karma

Memory is the dominant function of the mind and forms the basis of our identity in life. Yet if we can detach from the mind and let go of the memory based ego we can remember our immortal consciousness, our true Self that is not bound by time or space, birth or death. In this article we will examine the Vedic view of memory and how to go beyond its limitations.

 


Memory as the Root of the Mind

Memory is the main function of the mind that characterizes its nature and activity. The mind is rooted in memories that we have built up over time, down to a subconscious level. These memories sustain habitual behavioral patterns that are hard for us to question and which program us automatically for good or ill. They form our conditioning in life that colors all that we see and do.

Most notable is our memory of who we are as a person and the residues of our experience in life. Memory is the basis of the ego and self-identity behind all the other activities of the mind. These memories begin in childhood, formed vaguely, and gradually take shape over the years of our adulthood, getting modified over time but holding a core sense of who we are in life.

All our mental functions are connected to memory, which is central to the learning process and how we function in life. Memory is like the substance of the mind, just as various tissues form the substance of the body. We can remember any of our mental activities, from sensory impressions, emotions, thoughts, imaginations, the reasoning process, or even our distracted and disturbed states of mind. All mental functions have a foundation in memory and leave a memory based residue for the future.

Yet memories are limited in their formation and how we interpret them changes over time. We can forget certain memories altogether or confuse our subjective memories with actual objective events. The mind has a vested interested in certain outcomes that affect what we want to remember which can change over time.

There is much in life that we forget, as our daily experience is so extensive that only a few points are ever worthy of note. There is much that we would like to remember better as the acuity of memory decreases over time and the aging process

There are practical memories like language or mathematical skills as opposed to emotional memories of joy and sorry, flattery or insult, friendship or enmity. These psychological and emotional memories are more problematical, hold more inertia, and are more likely to impair our judgment.

Formative childhood memories, particularly relative to joy or sorrow, however possibly inaccurate, have a great power to shape our psychology. It is not the objectivity of a memory that affects so much as it is our mental or emotional reaction relative to the remembered event.


How to Master Your Memories

Most of us have memories that trouble us, most notably relative to our difficulties, sorrows and losses. Psychologists work to dig up old memories, particularly traumas, and make us re-experience them, hoping this will improve our psychological functioning.

Yet re-experiencing negative memories seldom helps us remove them or counter the unrest they cause within us. It is like digging up an old sore, which only causes it to flare up again. Forgetting traumatic memories is not easy, particularly when we have held on to them for a long time, which means we may have a vested interest in perpetuating them. Psychodrama is addictive to the mind, as we see in our movie dramas. Note Post Traumatic Stress (PST) disorders of various types which are rooted in fearful memories that have become stuck in our subconscious.

Please consider this fact of the mind carefully, you only retain a memory to the extent that you give energy to it. I am not talking here about factual memories here but about emotional memories, particularly those of a negative nature like fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, and so on. There are so many things you have forgotten, including important, happy or meaningful events. We must question why our memory is partial and often tends to hold on to the negative.

You are always free to forget the past. After all, the past is gone, and our memory of it is at best partial, only a shadow of actual occurrences. Just let go of past events, which means you must consider that they are no longer relevant and need no longer influence you. After all you don’t hold on to or try to wear the clothes of your childhood. Why treat your mind any different? It must also grow with time, which means giving up the past.

At any given moment in time many things are happening only a few of which we consciously note, and only a few of these become enduring memories. The older we get the more memories we have but also more recent memories can color or remove memories from the distant past, which fade over time.

Memory from the past can easily block our direct perception in the present. When we see something, our memories about it automatically arise, even when no longer relevant. Our sense of familiarity can prevent us seeing what is actually going in, as life and people are always changing.

You are inherently free of memory in that memory is the past. You can learn from memory but can also learn more by giving up memories. Purifying the mind (chitta-shuddhi in Yoga) means letting go of harmful memories that support negative behavioral patterns. Your mind should be like space, open, free, receptive and aware in the present. It shouldn’t be full of clutter and baggage, like a room in which there is no space to move around. Remember not only to clean your body but also to clear your mind regularly. Get rid of old useless clothes but also old useless memories. Do not dwell on negativity or sorrow from the past, as the mind becomes what we give our attention.

 


Beyond the Mind, Memory and Karma

Memories are rooted in deeper karmic patterns (samskaras) that we may not be aware of. To remove negative memories is to remove negative karmas. But this requires removing the roots of memories and karmas in our fears, desires and attachments. It requires a change of the motivation behind our memories and a linking to our timeless inner Self-awareness

The best way to remove negative memories is to cultivate higher memories, remembering our true eternal nature or Self-remembrance. To cultivate this higher or yogic memory, it is best to remember our deepest aspirations in life, our search for the eternal and the infinite.

Learn to remember your true Self beyond the mind. You will then remember the essence of all existence as being part of you. You will be able to forget all sorrow and dwell in the supreme Ananda.

 

Acharya David Frawley

Latest Articles

Embodied Mind and Transcendent Consciousness

We human beings are embodied creatures defined by our birth in a particular physical body as indicating our real identity and the focus of our lives. Our minds are not only located in the body but ruled by an entire set of bodily needs, imperatives, appearances and actions and their daily functions. Our physical body is our personal image, starting with our face and form and the clothes we put around the body. We see ourselves as a bodily intelligence operating through the brain, senses and motor organs. This is the basis of our survival, development and happiness in life.

Read More »

Kali as the Yuga Shakti: the Power to Create a New World Age

By Yogini Shambhavi   As the great power of time, Kali’s Shakti creates the different Yugas or world ages that humanity passes through during the long cycles of cosmic evolution. Kali is the Goddess of eternity watching over all our temporal changes and facilitating those which promote our inner growth. More specifically, Kali is the Yuga Shakti or the power of time that takes humanity from one world age to another. She works to sustain the spiritual energy of the planet through both the ages of light and darkness.   The awakening to the Divine Mother and the Great Goddess

Read More »

Comparison and the Incomparable Self

Your inner Self (Atman) and true nature cannot be compared to anything. It has no name, form or action, no shape, size or color. It is beyond all elements and qualities of nature. It is beyond body and mind, time and appearance altogether. It dwells within everything yet is not limited to anything. At most we can compare it to space and light. Your inner Self is what it is, which is the Being of all. The Self ever abides in its own fullness, peace and ananda. That Self is what you really are, not what you think you are

Read More »

Shiva Ayurveda – The Yogic Power of Healing and Transformation

Most Ayurvedic practitioners look upon Lord Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as the deity of Ayurveda and ideal doctor. Certainly that is an important tradition worthy of following based on profound Puranic stories and symbolism. Yet in the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, and Shruti or book of mantric vision of the Rishis, the primary doctor and healer is Rudra, the main Vedic name for Shiva. Rudra is lauded in the Rigveda as the supreme doctor  (bhishaktamam tva bhishajam shrinomi). In the famous Rudram chant of the Yajurveda, in which the mantra Namah Shivaya first occurs, Rudra is the

Read More »

Winter Solstice, Galactic Center and New Time of Troubles

I have been writing for some years about 2020 as indicating the beginning of a “New Time of Troubles” for humanity, dangerous from 2020-2028, but continuing long beyond that. This relates astronomically to the Winter Solstice point transiting the Galactic Center in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is difficult to determine exactly owing to large gas clouds around the Galactic Center, and as it is slowly moving its effects may last for decades. 2020-2021 marked the transit of Ketu, the South Node of the Moon or Tail of the Serpent, one of the two eclipse points, over this same region

Read More »

The Ancient Yoga of the Sun

For the Winter Solstice December 21, which marks the rebirth of the Sun and Agni What if the most powerful force for energizing all Yoga practices were as obvious and visible as the Sun? The fact is that it is. The Sun, properly understood not merely as an outer but as an inner energy source, reflects the supreme light of Yoga both in our own hearts and in the world of nature around us.   If we look at traditional and ancient cultures from throughout world, we discover a strong awareness of the Sun as a spiritual force, and as

Read More »

Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is a recipient of the prestigious Padma Bhushan award, the third highest civilian award granted by the government of India, “for distinguished service of a higher order to the nation,” honoring his work and writings as a Vedic teacher, which he received in January 2015.

INTERNATIONALLY BEST SELLING
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds