I like thunderstorms. I like the rain beating down so strongly that it washes all the dog dirt off the city pavements. The next morning you walk into that purified air, walk along those clean streets, and it feels like a fresh start. It’s a reminder to forget what happened yesterday, and to not waste today worrying about tomorrow. Today is new and today is now; and NOW is all you have for certain in your life. Yes – storms are good.
I like goldfish too, with their five minute memory spans. If you have no memories then you carry no baggage. Every minute brings an exciting first time experience. Why can’t we learn to be like that.
Memory is the only thing that keeps the past alive. We cling onto our memories for dear life. Strangely though, we tend to remember the bad experiences more intensely than the good ones. We thrash them over and over in our minds, adding fragments of other memories until suddenly we find that we have inadvertently created a brand new fear of something. We then take that fear and we project it into the future and once you start doing that then you start to avoid the opportunities and experiences that life throws at you. You eventually create so many fears that you somehow narrow your life’s path to the dullest and safest options.
I can understand that memory does serve an important survival function. It saves lives, but when we allow it to control our whole life then we have allowed it to become the master of our destiny. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that it stops me putting my hand on a hot fire. However, it’s not good that it makes me so scared that I don’t want to leave my house. You may not die from your parachute jump, but you certainly will die with regrets. Regrets for all the chances of joy that you turned away because you listened to your fears.
Where do memories come from? They do seem to be a very strange phenomenon. Many of the ones I have gathered don’t even seem to belong to me – I seem to have inherited them. My parents, friends and family, school, church and government; they all played their part in feeding me their memories And I have seamlessly merged these onto my own. I don’t know where mine start and theirs end.
Enid Blyton has made me wary of Gypsies. How on earth did that happen? Jews are greedy! What part of a school history lesson did I pluck that one out of. I know in my heart that these are nasty fictitious stereotypes. You can’t pidgeon hole a whole group of people like that, it’s ridiculous. I’m Scottish, I’m not a kilt wearing, mean penny pincher. Why did I reject that stereotype for myself yet blindly except all those that my memories spoon-fed me. I haven’t even met any Gypsies. I have no right to judge them, good or bad. How crazy is that. Of course there is a bit of poetic license applied here but replace Gypsy/Jew with probably any social, ethnic or national group and I’m sure that there will be some mud that sticks. Mud that I’m not proud of and most of the time I’m probably unaware I’m even doing it.
I’ve decided – I need to man up. I need to stop window shopping for a designer belief system. I need to let the rain wash away all those memories, all those false beliefs and absurd fears, that they produced. It’s time to create my own truths and to live or die by them. My truths – not secondhand ones inherited from an insanely violent society.
A wise man once said,
“We are secondhand people…We are the result of all kinds of influences and there is nothing new in us, nothing that we have discovered for ourselves; nothing original, pristine, clear.”
One man discovering his own truth may or may not change the world, but it will change me for the better and that is all anyone can ask of themselves and when enough individuals change, then society changes with them.
Excerpt From: Jiddu Krishnamurti. “Freedom from the known”