It is said that one’s memories from early life remain sharp, clear and vivid. Partly because the first time one does something is so significant in ones growing up. For example ones first proper date, first proper job interview, first car, first time abroad, oh and yes – the first kiss. What is vivid is not only the experience itself but the physical surroundings. That’s how it has been for me. And then there are significant events, life changing events, which have their physical location emblazoned in my mind. This house, in the front room with me standing by the fire-place, letting my parents know I intended to be a monk was such an event. Seeing the windows and remembering I’d helped put them in, earning money from my parents doing up the house to pay my way as a novice at Shasta. That whole six months preparing to leave one life behind and enter another are vivid in my mind’s eye. (Thanks to my good sangha friends for taking the snap.)
Again, everything about my first visit to Throssel is vivid, less the physical place and more the monks and what was going on in my mind grappling with conscious self-reflection/meditation, for the first time! Subsequent visits throw up sharper image memories. (And thanks to another good sangha friend for sending this photograph. Taken 1981/2 when I’d already be at Shasta.)
Thinking about it there seems no reason why ones connection to people, places and things along with ones interior need be any less vivid the 20th or 200th time. Then there are those facing death, knowing they have perhaps just a few months to live, do memories and their associated physical locations again become vivid? Many report, in such circumstances, a renewed and welcomed encounter with everything. Not always or all of the time yet the last time would have a certain clarity and meaning wouldn’t it. But what is this all about. Surely we discourage thinking about the past and indeed that is true in the sense of living in or dwelling in the past and missing the shining hour right now. And that’s the point really here, to remember to open oneself to the depth and richness of life. Not with the intention to gather great and memorable experiences like beads on a rosary to tell in the future. More the intention to live full and ripe. Right now.
7 thoughts on “Memories Locations”
Thanks Rev Mugo for the reminder…live life to the full. Right now. For there can be no other place to live it, even it would seem, the memories that form the past are all thought in the present moment.
In gassho and still reading…
you mean ‘no other time’ Tim ?
Yes, time also. Somehow it seems to me that in the sense of ‘Right now” time and place are the same…
ok thanks Tim. Then I also understand how memories seem to be for you…
Somehow it seems to me that time and place merge the more I’m engaged in the present moment. And yet the engagement is so full that I can’t, or don’t need to, “locate” the time, place, or who’s engaged.
It reminds me of a quote I received (thank you, Rev. Master) that goes:
“The place in which we truly sit
Is within our own body/mind.
Since body/mind embraces the Universe,
Nowhere can this be found.”
Sometimes sayings like this can seem lyrical, poetic, or philosophical. However, when one is surprised, in awe, in relaxed contemplation, or break into heartfelt laughter, this can be instantly literal.
In gassho, Jim
there is nothing to merge en no one to engage