Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ripples of the Mind

Ripples in autumn, Tucker Pond, Warner, NH, October 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/108 sec @ f3.2, ISO 105, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Those who know me are well aware of my notorious memory (or simply lack thereof). For as long as I can remember (ha!), and seemingly increasingly so in recent years, I just do not recall basic things that have happened to me in the recent past. My family is both frustrated and somewhat humored by this.

I find it at times rather embarrassing (e.g., people who’s names I really should know), but I have come to accept it. Is it the start of a deeper neurological disease? I don’t think so — but who knows? I think of it like the surface of a pond -- the memory of a pebble ripples outward until it is all but gone.

I’ve actually tried to turn this into an advantage. When people tell me old repeat stories, I often hear them as freshly as if it were the first time. When my family describes an old adventure, I take heart not in my recollection of it, but in a manner of experiencing it anew. The more detailed the recollection, the more fun to relive it all over again. Another pebble is tossed into my life, and each time, the mind ripples anew.

Cloud ripples, Amherst, NH, June 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/150 sec @ f4.5, ISO 50, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

And I suspect there is one more factor at work here. I do have a strong desire to live in the present moment, and not dwell upon the past or anticipate the future. So my poor memory serves me well in this objective. And then I came upon this quote, which I think relates quite well to what is going on in my head, however unwittingly:
The mind is your past. Die to your past and you will suddenly become fully conscious. The past is nothing but dead debris. Get rid of it and you will learn how to witness.

When you die to your past, to your thoughts and your memories, then you will be fully in the present. When you truly exist in the present, you are simply witnessing. The past can only exist as long as there are thoughts. When the thoughts are eliminated, the past disappears and you abide in your own Self.

The Self does nothing but witness. The Self is not a person - it is Pure Awareness. It is completely detached from all phenomena. It is the state of becoming the one subject, the core of your existence.

-- Mata Amritanandamayi

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