I am learning Dutch and the word herinneringen is one I came across at the weekend, I wanted to say: “memories are a funny thing”. (I didn’t get much beyond the first word, herinneringen!).
What is the memory of this summer just gone, was it a good one? What defines that?
Memories are part and parcel of the complex nature of being, some form deep emotional roots in our being, others are so transient they evaporate into the ether. We cannot be who we are without our backlog of memory files that are being created each moment; some files gets edited and re-edited as we retrieve them, talk about them, and embellish them. The weight of those files, is either the baggage we carry on our backs, or the notepad that weighs nothing.
Herinneringen is an interesting concept when we talk about mindfulness. Minfulness is often interpreted as moment to moment awareness, but it is of course bound up with memory. How we experience successions of now moments is based on the history of how we experience our lives and how we recollect those experiences, what emotions and embellishments we attach to them.
The cultivation of mindfulness helps create memory files that are less judgmental, less prone to mental elaboration. We learn to experience our day to day without getting caught up in the proliferating narrative and the meta narrative that ensues. Heed the remembering self through experiencing moment to moment life without the negative bias that can be the rod of the remembering self.