Memory and Change

Memory and Change

This weekend, I went to a special film showing of Sita Sings. Unusually, it put me  downtown during the day. The chance came to go to a coffee shop I frequented about 35 years ago. Enjoyed some great chats with the proprietors there on meditation, Ouspensky, and such. They were gay and formerly night club owners, so had great stories. I had another one of those nicknames there due to a preference for triple chocolate donuts. (laughs)

Trouble was, the place was no longer a coffee shop. It had become a luncheon place who’s specialty, believe it or not, was being abusive. (laughs) The waiter told the US customers beside me they were either government hacks or on a day pass from jail. He argued politics with another, then told him to f-off while he ate his soup. It was a sort of jovial and polite rudeness if there is such a thing. Curiously, they complemented me on my choice, though they had no desserts anymore.

It reminded me of the curious nature of memory. How we hold the past as reality until shown otherwise.

A few other examples come to mind. Like when you go back to where you grew up and find everything seems so much smaller. Or you see an old friend you have not seen in 20 years. Even if you’ve seen pictures in the meantime, it’s probably not replaced the memory. High school reunions are another like that. Some people have hardly changed, others you’d never recognize. Or the seniors who talk about how it is in the “old country” long after their homeland has changed.

A personal example. My father died when I was quite young. In my late 30’s, I realized all of my “memories” of him were in black and white as it was all based on photos and family stories. There was no ‘real’ memories.

This is the nature of the mind. It plays it’s story and fills in the gaps with circumstantial data and beliefs so that it can explain everything.

The best way to understand the mechanics of memory is the film model. When we watch a movie, we’re seeing some 24 still pictures a second flashed in sequence on a screen. Moving fast enough, they blur together into smooth motion. The physical world is much the same. Some people report the experience of seeing the world like being in a theatre – consciousness projecting out and creating the illusion of world.

We could say the motion picture illusion works due to the nature of perception, how the eyes see. But more deeply it works because it’s how the world is created. We think we’re the audience but we’re the projector. This is awakening, to the light. (laughs)

A memory is a still picture or a clip of that projection we saved. Most of life runs across the screen of our senses and away, forever forgotten. Especially if it doesn’t fit our story. What did you have for lunch last Thursday? But every so often, we “bookmark” or make a record of key moments. But because memories are made in the mind, we can “remember” anything. Create memories just like we create the world.

What then is a memory? A moment of mental story? Memory is way ahead of Pixar in creating artificial worlds. Further complicating it is that we always see the memory replay from where we are now. When we remember our 8th birthday, we’re not remembering it from the consciousness of when we were 8, we’re remembering it from now. It’s playing with a different lens. People will often reevaluate and change the saved memories over the years. Just compare your family stores with a sibling to see how much differently they saw the circumstance, and how differently they’ve kept the file.

Most remarkable of all, many people quite literally live in their past, rehashing what happened, what might have happened, constantly reviewing and editing.

What is changes all the time. We work to keep our unchanging memories alive, yet change them by our mere review. Such a curious thing to care about.

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  1. Ben

    Hi David,

    You write

    “We could say the motion picture illusion works due to the nature of perception, how the eyes see. But more deeply it works because it’s how the world is created. We think we’re the audience but we’re the projector. This is awakening, to the light.”

    This was a huge distinction for me because I have been stuck in the perception side of it. Now when you say we are the projector, are you saying something like the brain is the receptor of consciousness (like a receiver) and memory that plays the images through our eyes hence we are the whole world we see?


  2. Ben

    I want to qualify a bit further my previous post…

    I know I am being analytical here, but the analogy is very compelling and I am on the verge of it.

    So consciousness is the aliveness, energy, intelligence, etc. The brain receives this energy or light which enlivens the body and brain. The memory is the film so consciousness projects its clear light upon the film. Then we see based on the eyes what it is that is on the film.

    If I am close on this, then this means that what my eyes see may be the only thing that could be classified as an object or objective reality.

    Thank you!

  3. Davidya

    Hi Ben
    People can literally have the experience of the light of consciousness shining through them and projecting the world. I’ve seen a few drawings people have done too.

    Some people talk about being “in the head” and connote that with mind, but what they’re really talking about is the senses. Most of the senses are centered on the head while the mind is not. When we identify with our sense perceptions, we get drawn out into the world as ‘reality’ and thus forget who we are. When we experience our reality within, the grip of the senses begin to soften.

    The brain is kind of like an antenna and processor, an interface between mind and body. It centralizes the sense of self to manage all the individual cells. It has a minor role.

    As Sheldrake has demonstrated, memory is not stored in the brain but rather in “the field”. Brain is again the interface with the data.

    Consciousness, the observer, projects its intention through mind and emotion field effects (different stratas) into the world. The screen is also consciousness. It projects onto itself. The senses experience the projection and feed it back. The senses create the image. Until then, they are just impressions – thought forms with emotional qualities. Senses sense, consciousness projects without those bounds, although some does come through the senses – the sparkle in the eye. (laughs)

    Vedic stuff talks about how the senses correspond with the subtle elements. Kind of like the Greek and Chinese ideas of earth, water, fire, air and space. Subject, object and process of experience all occur in a bubble of awareness, our sensory “reality”.

    Consciousness is the aliveness. It’s movement is energy, prana, chi, life, love. Intelligence is one of it’s qualities. There’s not really room to get into the the origins of intelligence and existence here – I cover some of that elsewhere.

    The brain is not separate here. The fields receive the movement of consciousness and the physical body, including the brain respond to that.

    I suppose I would say the film is the mind. Or rather what arises in the mind as a result of the movement of consciousness. In some ways, this projector doesn’t need a film. But we may be entertained by showing a story. (laughs)

    What your eyes see is a construct of the mind. The world itself is quite different. Physics has known this for some time. As some scientists have said, objective reality is a subjective illusion. (laughs)

  4. Davidya

    Just a note on the bubble of awareness.

    You’ll find lots of talk about reality forming from subject, process of experience, and object. Rishi, devata and chandas. Observer, projection, and screen.

    More advanced stuff talks about the collapse of the process of perception when subject and object are found to be one. Only process remains. The flow.

    And more advanced sees the process in bubbles of awareness. Awareness of an intention manifests the object in a bubble – the origin of spacetime geometry, fields, nodes, and so forth. But this requires awareness of awareness aware of itself, something not seen until even existence is transcended.

  5. Ben

    Thank you Davidya!

    That is very helpful, and I was trying to understand what the bubbles of awareness term meant. Now I get what you mean.

    This actually helps with the allowing or allowing the deepening of this because of my experience of everyone and everything as a hologram. Helps with the trust aspect. That is where I have been struggling.

    So, it seems I was seeing into the nature of what we experience and when I read this I thought Whoa! This the larger view I have been feeling, but not understanding.

    Before these recent awakenings, I bowed out of my involvement with the Religious Science spiritual organization here. If you are not familiar, it has similarities to Unity Church and Christian Science. In essence they believe everything is mind and our experience is created by mind.

    This agrees with your reference to consciousness projecting through mind. The reason I had to take a break was two fold.

    First of all, I felt deeply that there was something prior to mind and that mind wasn’t the source. Maybe the source of experience, but not the true source.

    Secondly, it seemed like all the spiritual marketing around “The Secret” and the many related workshops were focused on trying to control the mind to have an experience of abundance, love, peace, or whatever. To briefly describe the process it is about acknowledging the one mind, setting an intention, asking for whatever, and then receiving. The receiving was never really focused on much in the instruction. It was a formula of sorts.

    The pushing to have a particular experience through thought intention, visualizations, acting as if, giving what you want to receive, and so and so forth. In essence, they seemed like strategies and techniques to control mind and the divine. That didn’t feel right intuitively after a time although it really helped at first.

    To integrate what you say here, it is more of a receiving, and we have no control.

    I can say to contradict myself in a maddening way, that I have set intentions, and received what I intended. However, the focus was on setting the intention clearly, being open to all the ways it could manifest (without qualification), and then totally allowing it come when and how it will. That has worked well. Until, I felt a pull for something deeper, so I chucked it all.

    The awakenings seem to point beyond mind and trusting or allowing that to happen and not trying to control it by asking for something specific other than the awakening itself. No qualifiers, no control, no asking for a particular experience just opening to the divine no matter what.

    Any guidance?

    Thank you for this ALOT!

  6. Davidya

    Hi Ben
    When you have a deeper experience, the knowledge will come with it if you accept it. It can be a stretch and can take a little time to “hear”. Sometimes we need to hear it from outside to accept what’s inside. But once the trust is deep enough, the knowledge will be with the experience. It’s a far more profound form of perception. Much more than you can get from anything here.

    Just don’t get caught in it as “the truth”. It’s a higher truth but not the highest as the bubble explanation points to. Each discovered truth has to be let go of for it to expand.

    Yes, I’m familiar. Good friends go to the local RS church. I agree that our experience is created by mind and everything we experience is mind, but if you don’t transcend that, you are still in it and caught by it.

    Material like the Secret can be very empowering, shifting someone out of victim thinking. This helps make the ego stronger which is good at the right time. It is part of the process. Problem is this idea of control. If you try to control it, it doesn’t work. That experience can lead people into allowing, the next step.

    Clearly, you had outgrown that need and were seeking the next message. Stepping out of control. (laughs)

    I go to church more socially, to spend time with people who are more heart centered. Sometimes, I agree with the teaching, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes, people are willing to talk nondualism, sometimes not. 😉

    Seeing how intention works is a valuable lesson. We learn how the world works. But then we have to learn the lesson of allowing. Later we come to the place where we intend from source and it’s not about control.

    You are still intending, but the question begins to become – who is the you?

    PS – thanks for the link here.

  7. Pingback: Curtains of Mind « In 2 Deep

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