Memory is a wonderful thing! It teaches us how to talk, how to walk, to eat and how to love. Without memory we would have to relearn each day how to walk, how to speak, and how to build a field of love for those closest to us. Without memory we could not hold onto our hurts and grievances of the past because each day is fresh, new and different than the day before.
However, without memory, we could not fulfill the destiny of our work on earth, or hold down a job, or even function in activities of daily life. Without memory, we forget the faces of our loved ones and create pain in those whose lives we have been so much a part of including those to whom we have given life…our children. Without memory we abandon them and others, leaving this world while still in body. We abandon ourselves as well as those still within our life.
There is another aspect of memory however that is upheld in the world of Yoga. That is the memory sometimes called supernormal. This is the memory of that which has never been forgotten. That is the memory that propels our great search for “truth” that seems beyond ourselves. It is the memory that is awakened by wise men of all cultures who speak words that heal our heart of the pains of the past and remind us of something, someplace beyond this world as we know it.
This is the memory that manifests as an elusive feeling, an experience buried in our psyche, that fuels our endless search for that which we think is outside ourselves. It is the memory of the rapture or bliss we once knew when we were one with the Source of all Creation. It is the memory of total and blissful peace and the rapture of that blessed connection where all is well…and all is. It is the memory of discovery of that which we have sought for so long in the world around us to discover we have never lost it like the glasses on our nose that we think are lost as we search far and wide for them. This is the memory that has been there all along waiting for us to discover it. It is the memory of that which we have never forgotten.
This is the supernormal memory of the unified field of consciousness of knowing, where unexcelled joy comes in the remembrance that we have never been disconnected from our Source. Yes, we search and hunger for this remembrance in all the workshops and classes we take, only to have them lead back to the source within ourselves. Oh… how long it takes for some while others are born with varying degrees of this remembrance, like the great saints, sages, prophets and wise men. They come into this world to awaken the memory that is already within and to remind those who have totally forgotten.
Just as we are all in different stages of forgetfulness we are also in different stages of remembrance. Like the petals of the lotus that open and unfold with the rising of the sun, as that light penetrates the darkness of our own being, the petals of our heart begin to open to that light.
Memory in Sanskrit is known as smriti, from the root verb sma which means to remember. It is the 5th non-painful mind wave that is the chamber where all memories go. They exist on varying layers from the preconscious to subconscious realms of mind. The impressions that come into the mind through the five senses are known as manas, the conscious mind. Man is the Sanskrit root verb that means to think. Its function is to take in knowledge and experiences of the world through the senses. This forms impressions that are deposited in varying layers of the subconscious mind according to the intensity of that impression. As the Yogis say, “Every conscious experience becomes a subconscious impression.”
Some impressions are like a feather floating on water. They are on the surface of the mind. While others go a little deeper, like a leaf or a piece of bark that lingers toward the surface until slowly absorbing more water until sinking, they sink slowly into the deeper layers of our psyche. Some impressions are like a line drawn in sand that is washed away when the tide comes in. Other impressions are described in Yoga scriptures as so intense that when experienced, they are embedded so deeply, like grooves chiseled in stone. These deeper and more entrenched impressions are known as vasanas. These deeply engraved grooves become a residue of feelings, where one or more experiences are not separate memories, but become a conglomerate that produces a sensation of feeling.
According to science, these grooves are known today as gyros. The more we repeat our stories, the grooves are impressed into deeper tissues of our brain. They are like an old-time record or disk where one groove is worn more deeply than others. It repetitively repeats over and over again. If we have had an altercation with someone and continue to repeat our version of the story, the groove can go so deep that it would be difficult to come to a place of forgiveness. The mind cannot rest until it does.
We are fortunate to have Yoga and other methodologies so available to us today to help us bring these impressions, deep or shallow up to the surface of the conscious mind where they can no longer pull us back into the old furrows. Through these techniques, it is possible to fill in the gyros and lift above experiences that have imprisoned our mind in the grooves of the past.
According to the Yoga scriptures of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, it is the vasanas that can be lodged so deeply in the tissues of our psyche that they can be held in memory for more than one lifetime. They are the reason our soul continues to return to this planet life after life and cannot move on to explore other inter-dimensional realities.
The practices of Yoga, asana, pranayama and concentration/meditation are designed to reach into our cellular structure where memories are stored in varying layers of our psyche. These practices are meant to bring the impressions (samskaras and vasanas) to the surface of mind where they can be seen, healed and transformed. As these mental obstructions are cleared, there is a release of long-held impressions that keep us from remembering. For it is in the subtler aspects of our soul where we store the greatest memory of all…that we are not nor ever have been, separated from our Divine Source.
“Every conscious experience becomes
a subconscious impression”
July 29, 2019
One beautiful spring day, I received a call from one of my granddaughters I had not seen for nearly 14 years. She was reaching out to me, her last living grandmother. She wanted to see me and get to know me more than from my website, Facebook, or my book, Yoga: Myth and Sacred Geometry.
It was a poignant conversation as Sadie caught me up on nearly 20 years of her life that led to our plan to meet. She wanted to see my other grandchildren, her cousins she remembered as a child. But when…and where? She lived near Eureka, in Northern California. And I lived in East Texas.
I called my daughter Andrea who lives near Sacramento and we arranged a date of July 20, which seemed a long way off, but with everyone’s busy schedule during the long hot summer, it was the only time that worked. When something is supposed to happen, it’s interesting how all the forces of nature seem to array to make it happen. Then the spirit of our coming together somehow caught the imagination of my five children and twelve grandchildren, and even MoMo (Kimora) my three-year-old great grandchild. Not all the older grandkids could make it, but they would be there in spirit
Finally, the day came after many texts, calls, and much planning. Our California family converged with children and grandchildren from the four directions. My daughter Erin, grandmother of MoMo, drove all night from Seattle with her half-brother from New Zealand, just to be with the family on this allotted day. Even the summer weather was cooler than normal.
Sadie was the polestar for us all to gather around, as we had not done for many years. Somehow, my two sons and three daughters just knew we were all to be together, busy or not. They answered the clarion call, and travelled from the Northwest, the California coast, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
The night before the event, I could not sleep. I went into a deep meditative place to consciously hold each family in protection and prayer that they would arrive safely with as much eagerness to be together as I felt. My heart was so full of love and thanksgiving that we could at last, after many years, be together. I also held the vision that the day would be a magical kindling of new friendships and re-kindling of old familial relations.
There were 35 people that represented four generations from the elders, my husband Max, sister-in-law Vickie and my sister Susie. Our father had been an immigrant child from Lebanon and our mother was the descendent of parents from Norway. As a result, there were parents and children with dark and blond hair, blue, green, hazel, and dark brown eyes; cousins who looked nothing alike and children who looked more like their grandparents than their parent.
Erin, my daughter adopted at 18 months, now 52-years-old is a powerful mixture of an Irish, Scottish mother, and a Jamaican father. We were among the first families in the nation to adopt a racially mixed child, and even though she looked Jamaican, we named her Erin as a reminder of her Irish heritage. We rescued her from a foster home where she was not touched or held for the early months of her life. As an adult, for twenty years she owned a day-care center where she gave to children the love and caring she did not receive from the foster home in the early months of her life. Several years ago, Erin found her family of origin in New Zealand. Her biological half-brother Damian, born of a Jamaican father and a Maury mother, travelled with her to the gathering. Damian sat in one place throughout the entire day holding the space for the reunion, like a wise Maury elder. With great wisdom and compassion, he held the spiritual mantel over us all that day.
Erin’s son, Junior had grown into a tall and handsome young man who is a sports trainer for kids. He is healing them on many levels, by giving confidence and stability to their lives. Junior had won a full college scholarship through football and was now graduating into a new phase of his life. Some were entering into professions of teaching health, fitness and gymnastics, while others are in the culinary profession, or are contractors, and managers of organic farms, as well as hi-tech firms.
We toasted to the generations who went before and the new generations stepping into their place in the world, and the littlest ones, three-year-old MoMo and six-year-old fairy spirit, Isa. What a diverse group from all kinds of jobs and professional expertise!
My daughter Mira, who represented the health and healing professions of Yoga and Ayurveda was tethered to apron strings as she served aromatic lentils and brown rice to those daring to enter into the tasty labyrinth of healing through foods. There was so much that could go astray with a family of so many professions, religions, and political persuasions, but that day, all divisions and separative belief systems were transcended into an amazing field of love, and a joy of just Being together.
Aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, first and second cousins, meeting for the first time, and not-so-first times, mingled and meshed in the home of my daughter Andrea and her husband Elio Angel. They were the angels that gave the gathering space by opening their home as well as their hearts to all those who entered the portals of their life.
When it was time to take the family picture, it seemed impossible to try to put the immediate families together so it was ordained that anyone could stand or sit anywhere they wanted. This was a wild array of a family, finding itself in the reflection of one another. The sun had long set before we said our goodbyes. I held each one in my arms with the hope that the field of love created that day would be taken with them into all corners of their lives and into the world.