How To Handle Your Memories
This article was first published in the Hindustan Times on Aug 22, 2015. All rights reserved with Hindustan Times.
Life is all about creating memories. Without memories there would be no civilisations, no culture and no future. The pleasures of memories are priceless – happy days, happy scenes, and free hearts. Memories are like the diary entries of our souls, where we write about all pleasures, pains, trials and triumphs, tracking the travels and experiences of our lives.
I lived in Sikkim and these foothills of the Himalayas have left me with a captivation for nature. I have had a wonderful life and look back with gratitude and love. These memories make me smile no matter what is currently happening in my life right now.
Memories can warm the cockles of our hearts, but can also tear us apart. They are essentially pivotal moments of our lives, so they are likely to be tragedies too, as tragedies are just as likely to have an impact on our lives as enjoyable moments.
However, here’s an important point to be noted – Memories Are The Past. They are only to be used as a reference to significantly contribute to our present. The past is a good place to visit but certainly not a good place to stay. Even if the past memories hurt, they make us what we are today. There are no failures, only lessons. The past can only be accepted never edited.
Letting go of painful memories gives us a chance to use the present to create great future memories. Our beings, our spirits are pure existences living in the now, uncontaminated by the past or the future. The present is all we have, the only thing that exists, the only thing we can change. It is the only opportunity we have to learn from our past. Devoting time to past memories is like driving while looking in the rear view mirror. The mourning, the regretting, the resentment dooms us to a life of imprisonment in the past, making memories our worst enemies.
Osho says that “it is necessary to die to the past”. He does not mean destroying memories; rather, what he means is to create a discontinuity from the past – a detachment from the past. To look at the past with gratitude for the lessons learnt, is the only way to make sure that past tragic memories do not interfere with our present. The actual traumatic memories hurt us only once; from there onwards all the hurt and emotional disturbance is caused by us focussing on the traumatic memory time and again. Once a memory happens, it will forever remain, but can hurt us only if we keep digging it up. The trick is to remove the negative charge from those memories, thus taking away all its power. You think your demons have caged you? Wrong. You have caged your demons in your memories. So set them free pronto.
French philosopher Jean Paul Satre very wisely said, “Freedom is what you do with what’s done to you”. We cannot let a few bad memories stop us from letting us have the great life we all so deserve. Enjoy memories, keeping in mind that memories are like salt – the right amount brings out the flavour in food, and too much ruins it. There are moments when I wished I could turn back the clock and take away all the pain, sadness and bad decisions, but I realised that I am who I am today because of those memories.
I have emerged stronger and more resolute. Now, I cherish the happy memories, having learnt valuable lessons from the hurtful ones. The immense joy of living in the now ensures that I have a present to account for. Letting go has finally enabled me to understand that each experience is a life lesson, helping me advance to where I need to be in this life.
Note: Kamalrukh Khan is a Mumbai-based Clinical Hypnotherapist and Wellness Coach. She’s intuitive, strong and positive and loves travelling. She believes travelling to a new country is the best education she can give her kids. Painting and flying a plane or chopper top her bucket-list.