The Two Memories in You
The other day I was watching a program on quantum physics which said that electrons could be in two places at the same time. When we think of the world according to Newton, this is impossible, but in quantum thinking, they seem to be in many places at once. This seems to fit with the idea I have about memory. At anyone time, you have both a positive memory that is connected to the true self and you have a negative memory that is connected to your ego, functioning simultaneously.
When your true self wants to develop a new part of itself, like having a new virtue such as more friendliness or more creativity or discipline, then the first memory that comes up is a negative one. It is as if your being wants to show you the negative so that you can learn from it, become detached from it, and then unleash a new energy. In the meantime there is a tendency to forget the positive memories and hence feel weak and inept. All development goes from one strength to another. When you attain a certain level in a virtue like courage, then you have it and it goes into the positive memory storage for permanent access. When there is enough courage for your current life situation, then your being will desire another virtue that is more important for the current circumstances. So your life goes from one strength to another.
However, on the way from one strength to another, you run into negative emotions and obstacles and tests that are designed to develop the new energy. To be successful with the new energy you cannot only use your old successful patterns. You need new energy, and that is why you get tested. This forces the memory to attend to the negative energy in you so that you will turn it into a positive. A lot of people cannot stand the stress of the test because of the negative memories that it stimulates negative feelings, so instead of staying in the process, they do a lot of coping behaviors. One of the coping mechanisms is to blame others for the lack of development which is the most common pattern. Another is to limit the identity by saying, for instance, that you are not a patient person. This is a way of trying to get off the hook for developing patience. “I am not an adventurous person.” This statement allows you to not have to develop the adventurous aspect of yourself, and then allows you to go into the cocoon of your past self.
What works really well for me is to set aside a certain period everyday where I work on my new abilities. In the meantime I hold the memories of what I am already doing well such as how I work with other people to facilitate their change process, keep doing the things that work well, and then anticipate and work vigorously to understand and apply the new energy coming in.
In dream life, when you are first developing a new energy, you have a lot of dreams about other people who have that quality, but you may not be in the dream because you don’t have any identity with the virtue yet. As you work and work, then you start appearing in the dream maybe along with others. Eventually you have the virtue.
One of the other things that seems to happen with memory is that in the midst of a really difficult test especially where there is abuse and injustice toward you, there is a tendency to forget your positive qualities altogether which puts you into a depressed and coping state. Most people need outside help to get through injustices so that they can recover the positive memories while they are working through to developing the new ones. The positive memories keep you functional and productive in your waking life, but when the injustice memories take over, you stay fixated in them and can’t access the positive ones.
When you have outside help, it keeps you in your productive state, but then also allows you learn new energy in the injustice without becoming a dysfunctional mess. So the idea is to always maintain a high degree of positive memory in your waking life so that you can be of service to your family and community, but then also keep working on developing new abilities in your meditative/reflective life. You cannot escape growth because it is the nature of human beings to keep growing spiritually forever. You cannot say that I cannot change because life will force you to attend to the change. What you can do is to attend to the wonderful person you already are that has a lot of good qualities, use the qualities to help others, and then work like crazy to develop new parts of yourself.
Anticipate change. Look forward to the new energy coming up. Work for it.
Get help if you have suffered abuse.