“My memory is so weak” – is your memory the problem?

We often curse our memory – “I don’t remember”, “My memory is so weak”, “Don’t tell me, because I won’t remember”, “Please remind me later”, etc. My psychology book has something to say about this matter. Patients (and healthy people) who subjectively complain about their impaired memory or increased forgetfulness often have normal memory by examination. The problem lies in reduced attention-functions that disrupts the learning process.

So from this, what is our main problem? Our mind keeps wandering, and as my psychology lecturer says “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind”. A study has shown that mindwandering is associated with lower levels of happiness. Studies of depressed individuals shows an overactivity in those brain regions that have a function in daydreaming. This correlates with depressive thinking. Daydreaming is defined as when you are thinking of something that you are not currently doing. That may for example be when you are listening to a lecture, but you are thinking about the lunch you are going to have later, when you are talking with a friend, while your thoughts are occupied with the rumours you have heard about this person, or when you are a reading for your exam, while thinking about how many pages are left for the chapter to be finished.

Our thoughts are always in chaos. We are somewhere, but our mind is somewhere else. Sikhi emphasizes the importance of being conscious from moment to moment, and stop concentrating on your thoughts that derive you away from the now. Thinking about the future, is of no gain, because no one knows what the future will bring, no one even knows how many breaths you have left. That is why sikhi says that you should be aware of this moment, this breath, as your last moment or breath. Use your moment and breath wisely. Thinking about the past, is also of no gain. Getting stuck with thoughts of past, with the pain you have experienced, the memories you have had, the regrets you have, will bring you in an illusion. Instead of regretting, feeling pain or thinking about memories of your past, you should use the now to change it. Are you regretting of something, feeling pain or stuck in memories? Well, fine, do something about the situation NOW, to get out of that thinking pattern. If you can’t do anything to change it, sikhi says you should accept it. “I am feeling this pain right now, but this is Gods Will. I am not seeing the big picture, this experience will have something good in it, which I can’t see, only God can see it”.

Our memory is not weak. Our attention is weak, and the reason is that our mind is constantly wandering. We are thinking about dozens of other things than we are actually doing RIGHT now. Psychology says that mind wandering correlates with lower levels of happiness, which is in accordance with one of the messages our gurus gave to us; to live in the now, think of this breath as the last breath and believe in Gods Will.

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