It is interesting how memory and experience work. Yesterday morning I was sitting in a classroom for the first time in a long while. I am taking some lessons in Italian language. One of the first things that I remarked was how reticent people were at first to make contact with one another, even though we were all embarking upon an experience of learning together. There seemed to be several layers of feeling operating: embarrassment at speaking to new people whom one does not know jostled with a sense that we are all in this together and there is no reason why we should not become friends. Nonetheless, I felt quite relaxed and positive in the first session and it struck me how different this was from how I would have felt when much younger when such situations would have struck terror in me. Having thus complimented myself in the first session, I was surprised to notice that in the second session I had a lump in my throat. I was not aware of any specific trigger for this - the class was going quite well - but I immediately connected it with a similar sensation in a particular school situation when I was seven years old. The old wound was being stimulated by current conditions.

I have a theory that we never totally "get over" anything. Old experience is put aside, as if onto a shelf in the back of the shop. Or, one could say that it is put into a new perspective. As one gets further away from it in time it recedes, just as distant objects seem smaller, but if one is thrown back into the same or sufficiently similar conditions, it all comes back. Of course, I now have a lot of experience to put alongside, that I did not have when I was seven years old, so the feeling, though uncomfortable, was not so threatening or over-whelming, but it was just as real.

This, of course, all has some relevance to therapy. What is a reasonable goal? One often hears people say that they have or have not "dealt with" a particular issue as though there were some way to finally depotentiate an issue. I am generally doubtful about this type of assertion. We can explore things. We can put them in new context. We can change the angle of perception. We can add new experience and material. We can do all these things and they all give life new meaning and direction, but we should not expect to actually erase experience. On the other hand, there is no point in clinging to it either. The extremes of suppressing or catastrophising are both best avoided. Writing this this morning I can, with an effort, conjure up the sensation of yesterday, but it is weaker, presumably because I am not in the classroom right now. My attitude to it is mostly that of detached interest. Will it return more strongly? Possibly, but such things are like changes in the weather - a storm rarely lasts all day and one cannot have sunshine all the time without desiccation.

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maybe your beginners mind returns!  :-) Hope you are soon at ease as a student and that you are making great new friends. much love namo amida bu

Ah, beginner's mind - the throat one had before lumps - it's still there I suppose, even after lumps accumulate.

Do hope you enjoy your new adventure!

What you write is interesting... an old colleague of mine, an experienced therapist, said once that he had the experience more and more as he got older of just 'rearranging the existing furniture' rather than anything more permanent. I resisted this strongly at the time as hated the idea of not being able to 'cure' or at least chuck out some old mangy chairs! But I am beginning to see the wisdom of this too, and in some ways it's a relief/liberating...

Namo Amida Bu, love from here x

Yes, I find it a relief. Being too ambitious just sets up disappointment. We have feelings about feelings and if our expectations of controlling them are high we are bound to suffer a lot of secondary formation that can be more excruciating than the original.

Our bodies speak emotion. Strong memories remain in our bodies. If we emote the original scene thoroughly, we do in fact 

"get over it." This means the original memory no longer a) goes into the unconscious where it can magnetize like circumstances or b)stops any action, motion, or experience in the present. I've lived through being raped by my brother, beaten severely by my mother often, raped by a stranger, tied to a chair and tortured with burning, bruising, slapping and the way the healing has taken place was through allowing, or even dredging, the emotion of these events to surface in a contained way. Once the emotions have surfaced, and that took me no longer being afraid of the emotions, enough, they left. The memories are just that—memories. I went on the raise a son into a warm and loving man who is a great and loyal husband, an amazing father and is loved by many. I have a double Master's Degree, have been in private practice to help others with dreams and body release for over two decades. I have written two books, one prefaced by David (thank you again!) and I've been teaching meditation for over two decades. My personal relationships are a bit wonky but no more, I'd say, than what we all struggle through in our times. If I had not learned how to empty my memories of their power, none of the blessings in my life would be possible. I was told by a psychiatrist in the early 1990's "We don't know how you did this. You should be in and out of hospital and under doctors care for the rest of your life." The new paths of healing especially those focused on healing trauma have begun to realize it's in our body and it can be released. A great book for this, published in the last few years and best seller still is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. I recommend it for anyone interested in where most the healing profession have come to. But let me end with reassuring you all that memories hold emotion. When those emotions remain unexplored they command much power in your life. And all emotion is, like everything else, impermanent. Gradually it will wear away. Or with a direct approach, it leaves more rapidly. 

Yes, history is always there, looking to wake up and heal. Body keeps the history and every contact with it is an opportunity to heal a little bit more. And it all works by itself. I wonder who created such a system.

Well, today my experience was different, of course, because the conditions were different. It was no longer the first day and relations are forming between students. Another student chose to come and sit beside me so the condition of isolation in a group was not functioning, so my emotion was correspondingly different.



Charlene Diane Jones said:

Our bodies speak emotion. Strong memories remain in our bodies. If we emote the original scene thoroughly, we do in fact 

"get over it." This means the original memory no longer a) goes into the unconscious where it can magnetize like circumstances or b)stops any action, motion, or experience in the present. I've lived through being raped by my brother, beaten severely by my mother often, raped by a stranger, tied to a chair and tortured with burning, bruising, slapping and the way the healing has taken place was through allowing, or even dredging, the emotion of these events to surface in a contained way. Once the emotions have surfaced, and that took me no longer being afraid of the emotions, enough, they left. The memories are just that—memories. I went on the raise a son into a warm and loving man who is a great and loyal husband, an amazing father and is loved by many. I have a double Master's Degree, have been in private practice to help others with dreams and body release for over two decades. I have written two books, one prefaced by David (thank you again!) and I've been teaching meditation for over two decades. My personal relationships are a bit wonky but no more, I'd say, than what we all struggle through in our times. If I had not learned how to empty my memories of their power, none of the blessings in my life would be possible. I was told by a psychiatrist in the early 1990's "We don't know how you did this. You should be in and out of hospital and under doctors care for the rest of your life." The new paths of healing especially those focused on healing trauma have begun to realize it's in our body and it can be released. A great book for this, published in the last few years and best seller still is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. I recommend it for anyone interested in where most the healing profession have come to. But let me end with reassuring you all that memories hold emotion. When those emotions remain unexplored they command much power in your life. And all emotion is, like everything else, impermanent. Gradually it will wear away. Or with a direct approach, it leaves more rapidly. 

Thank you for this discussion, very useful. I have been confronted recently by old memories that seemed to emerge from the physical cell level. I was in a  bicycle accident in November in which I broke my shoulder, and I was in severe pain and extremely dependent on others for all types of care in the following weeks. It was surprising to see and feel old memories which came up again - painful situations from the past, old grief etc. It was as if through my physical vulnerability old registers in my body were re-opened. As I was a bad sleeper for many weeks following the accident, I would get up during the night or in the early morning hours, and just sit with this, in presence of the Buddha, and meditate, in the dark and the silence that the night brings, which was extremely soothing and healing. As if my healing process is not only a physical one but also a deep emotional one. As I am getting better now, I notice that on the days of more pain, the memories re-surface again, in a cloud of sadness, coming and going like the tides of the sea. 

Karin thank you for this and for your reply to David's important thread here. I want to offer to you yes. Yes to the rising of old unhealed emotional and sometimes physical pains through the pain of the present. I am sorry you had a bike accident. And I am encouraged to see you turning this experience into wisdom. Clearing the past equates clearing karma. Many wishes for a total speedy clearing! 

hi.  It was great to meet you and to attend your workshop in Milan. And your post here is also very inspiring. It happens to me to come across similar experiences. In a way, it seems possible to state that "nothing is created, nothing is destroyed" in mental/psychic processes.

I'm increasingly close to a view that seems to me both "relativistic" and "quantic". On one side sensations, feelings, thoughts have different places in the space-time depending on the position of the observer, whose trajectory is not linear but scattered all over the space-time. On the other side what can be here perceived as a physical mass can also be perceived there as a wave.

As it is well known the two scientific approaches are not compatible. And the above is only a sketch of nothing else than a metaphor. Maybe too pretentious. It's just the result of meditation experiences in which anatta emerges and what has been lived and felt in the life course appears, in the present moment, as if it were rather "diffused" objects, having a kind of "coherence" mostly due to the corporeal attraction force that personal identity is attached to.

thank you again for your teachings

 

It was lovely to meet you in Milan, Massimo - thank you. And thanks also to other members for all the valuable comments on this thread.

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