The older we get, the larger our memory banks become. Our memories, like everything else in life, are a medley of the good and bad, the positive and negative. Memory is more than just a receptacle of past experiences. We can review the contents of our memory bank and either energise ourselves and live a full life, or put ourselves down and feel blue.
Memories are also made up of our attitudes and behaviour. That is why it is important to watch what we feed into our memory banks. If we continue to focus on the negative, we will look back to situations that have not been helpful for our growth. If we strengthen positive memories, we will remember all that challenges us to maturity.
Memories need not only be those of bountiful nature. Blue skies, birds, trees, flowers in full bloom, quiet lakes and waves thundering against the seashore – all these memories seem to put us in a happy mood. Memories can also be of crowded streets, overflowing bridges, hectic flip-flops and the anonymity of daily commuting. These memories might leave us cold and indifferent to others and to life.
The memories that ought to stay longest with us are those that resonate with experiences of love, giving and compassion. We have keen memories of our life-supporting systems and people we have interacted with and continue to interact with who have been instrumental in our growth.
Our daily interactions with people might expose us to those who have destructive traits. There are those who are violent, others insist that only their view is right. They might ridicule us or be aggressive towards us. It is these memories that we should try to overcome. If we do not give them too much importance, they will not overpower us. On the contrary they could contribute to our growth.
Spiritually mature people are usually brimming with good memories. For them every challenge or difficulty has been a chance to learn. They have stored in their memory banks useful lessons from a variety of experiences. If a rose can bloom in the midst of so many thorns, why can’t we too prosper wherever we bloom?
No one can be expected to be euphoric in all situations in life. We probably cannot escape the ups and downs of life. But, our memory banks can help us to remain balanced with a quiet contentment, which is only possible for discerning minds.
Our experience of God is coloured by memories. He takes away the pain of the past and the uncertainty of the present and future. Like a true artist He paints in black and white, shade and shadow, darkness and light. That is why memories can be interesting, inspiring and enabling.
The memory slate cannot be wiped absolutely clean. However, every negative memory can also bring us to a point where we begin to see ourselves in a new light. All experiences, negative and positive, can lead us to live life more abundantly.
If we let memories of good experiences, of faith, love, hope, empathy, compassion and beneficial relationships predominate, our ship will not end up on the rocks. Our memory banks could help us to steer ourselves towards safe waters, and maybe help anchor us in tranquility. Let’s ask ourselves: What are we feeding into our memory banks and what are we making of our lives?