Wanted to share a few musings on the nature of memory that have arisen lately from my practise. In this context I am not talking about being able to remember the shopping list and how to do multiplication, although the latter I have never mastered, I suppose that would be called functional memory. What I mean is our memories of our selves, our experiences and of others. It struck me the other day that events as soon as they happen become memories. This was one of those revelatory zen insights that suddenly seem amazingly obvious when you discuss them. But I then realised that I could not tell the difference between the age of a memory in my mind if I looked at objectively. The fallible and fleeting quality of my recall of past events was fairly uniform. Yeah, sometimes in the very early childhood events are genuinely hard to recall, but overall I became aware that I had been creating a framework of organisation over my memories ie, I believed that if it was further in time away, it was more hazy, and if it was yesterday, it was clearer. Now I am not so sure about this. I am also amazed by how much I cannot remember, people, experiences, years that are gone until triggered by something. Pretty scary….
The real question is, what does this mean for me? What am I going to do about it? Well I can and do say “seize the day”, but grasping one reality too strongly can be a way of running from another reality. I suppose my “revelation” simply reinforces the transience of life, which is a concept that fills me with both fear and wicked glee. Am I mad? I knew zazen was for me when read the following in the Rules for Meditation at my local soto zen group: “Of what use is it to merely enjoy this fleeting world? This body is as transient as the dew on the grass, life passes as swiftly as a flash of lighting, quickly the body passes away, in a moment life is gone.” (Don’t know where this comes from, but I’m sure one of you will.) Yet I enjoy living…..
Does anyone have view on my wittering, I would love to hear what you think…