Memory Retention

QA148 QUESTION: For a long time I’ve suffered with this loss of retention of memory. It goes back almost to public school and it’s been harmful to me in many ways. I was wondering if there’s anything I could do about it?

ANSWER: Yes, I would, of course, say that there is something you can do about it, because one can do something about everything that is wrong in man’s life. But I would say the only really efficient way to do something about it would be that, in the first place, you view this as a symptom.

As with physical illness, removing a symptom is not good enough, even if it can be done. One must go to the root; one must understand what it is a symptom of. Now, I can give you some hints, but it is very possible that these hints will not ring a bell at the moment, because you may not be aware of the hidden layers that are responsible for this symptom.

Broadly speaking, I would say that lack of memory, loss of memory, is in a way similar to a difficulty to concentrate, and both often indicate a fear of something in yourself that you do not want to know. If there’s a very unconscious, very great intent on forgetting something in yourself, it is not always possible for the psyche apparatus to choose what should be retained.

There is the general climate of “I want to forget,” and therefore this harmful process affects also areas where you do not want to forget. Now, what you want to forget is not necessarily a crime or something really bad. It may be something disturbing that the child has not been able to cope with properly – a hurt that was inflicted upon you that you did not interpret with adult understanding and that continues to fester within yourself.

There may be, consequent to this, certain areas where you deceive yourself about yourself, where you have chosen certain shortcuts that prove to be unrealistic – a lot of material is not sorted out – and where you are not really in peace with yourself. To come to this peace requires a very serious endeavor that requires help, for no one is really able to go on this Path of inner self-confrontation without adequate help.

This is the ultimate way, without which the full unfoldment of one’s potential is not possible. But even the knowledge and the acceptance that what disturbs you here is but a symptom, may already prove helpful.

If you approach yourself from that point of view, you may then raise the question and ask yourself, “What is it I am anxious about in my life, in myself, in my innermost being? Do I really want to let out whatever exists in me? Do I want to remember everything? Do I want to see clearly and dispassionately everything?” Detect your own reactions.

To what extent can you fully and wholeheartedly say, “Yes, this is what I want. This is what I truly want, and I request guidance, inspiration and help to do so. And I allow the creative principle to go to work and get me to the point where this full self-knowledge and understanding and coming to terms with myself, to peace with myself, can come about.” Watch this!

On the other hand, watch the reaction when you utter these words into yourself, as it were. To what extent do you feel a slight impatience and No, and a superficiality in the approach – a tendency to gloss over it? To what extent is that attitude in you? And when you calmly observe it, then you can say – but do not push it away! – “Oh, yes, here it is; here it is precisely where I do not want to fully meet myself.”

When you see that, then you will better understand this symptom of bad memory retention, which is but one symptom. There are others, perhaps less noticeable or more subtle, but nevertheless just as real.

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