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Learning How To Remember

What do you remember? More specifically, how do you choose, daily, what is most present, persistent and generative in your active memory? What do you think about the most, revisit the most, ruminate upon the most, and thus live out the most?

When you wake in the morning, what do you remember and immediately reintegrate about your life? You’ve rested, recharged, and now you’re deciding to use that power the same way you do every day. Do you engage the worries and concerns right where you left off yesterday? Why? Don’t you remember saying you weren’t that person anymore — that you’re done with that story?

This is a variation of the idea of improving your skills at academic learning. It is very much about how we employ metacognition in our every moment.

What you learn and commit to memory forms a foundation on which to build more complicated thinking and analysis.

— David Handel, MD

This is quite a profound statement, given a different context. In our earliest years, we sponge up and absorb from our environment much of what inevitably becomes our identity, and how we will make sense of the world well into adulthood.

Examined with more granularity, we all experience singular, notable events that impress upon us vivid “learnings” that stick with us in fundamental ways, and we tend to revisit them on countless occasions — likely for years after the fact.

These are our living memories. These are our stories. These are the established parameters. Until we can discern the nature and source of the psychological monsters that plague us — and to surrender, let go, or otherwise transmute them to our favor — these regularly enforced memories will rule the day.

Layer upon layer of conditioning builds up through the years. One pervasive memory, staying for too long in the forefront of our minds, can skew and bias the rest of our days. It’ll inform our choices, our instincts, and intuitions. It’ll limit the scope of our experience in life because it inherently defines boundaries that, with time, become ruts, trenches, and moats.

I’ve written many times about remembering who you truly are — in the place before; in the spaces between. It’s been a central tenet of my singular intention to be a leavening, elevating influence. There is a metaphysical aspect to it, naturally; all the wonders of the universe, and our place within it, are not for the mind to capably know, but we will poetically speculate about them; we could remind ourselves more often of the vastness, beauty, and complexity of all this; we could remember that gratitude, appreciation, kindness, and compassion provide us with — and attract us toward — alternative memories with which to populate our conscious awareness.

There is no one apart from you that will remember today, or this lifetime, the way that you do. No matter how close or how far they are from you, this day is utterly your own to conceive, perceive, experience, utilize and memorize. Isn’t that remarkable? Billions of unique events, every moment of every day. Billions of perspectives, judgments and emotional charges. Billions of chances in your life to alter course, to adjust parameters, and to rewrite what comes next.

Learning how to remember is one of our great superpowers. With it, we can alter the very shape of reality, do away with the constraints of time and linearity, and step into the best version of ourselves, again — now.

Solvitur ambulando