MEMORY is really a massive internal library of the past set up by the ego. This is actually where the past lives, locked up in the millions of folders amassed by the ego since we were born. At the time of our birth, we had no folders at all to speak of, but very quickly, the ego began its lifelong task.
The first folder created is usually the ‘Mother’ folder, which the ego continually adds too as the mother feeds and comforts the baby. In times of upset or stress or hunger, the baby’s ego refers to this folder for strategies that have worked in the past to ensure that it is safe and well fed and that its basic needs are met.
Sometimes that folder suffices on its own for quite awhile, so the baby is only content and feels safe in its mother’s company or arms. Eventually though, the baby’s ego will create more folders, usually the ‘Father’ folder comes next, then the ‘Siblings’ folders – followed by the close relatives, ‘Aunts’, ‘Uncles’ etc.
By the time the baby is walking and talking, it’s ego has already compiled a formidable library of folders that it will refer too many times each day to ensure its safety and wellbeing and that importantly, it is the center of attention and getting the best deal out of life – as far as the ego is concerned.
As we grow, the ego continues to create more and more folders for everything that happens in our life. When it feels there are sufficient numbers of folders – covering both the good and bad events in our life so far – the ego will then start to rummage about in its library, opening folders and reliving the thoughts of times past! This can begin at a very early age, depending on how quickly the library grows.
‘Oh, I really enjoyed that. I will give it more thought. I would like that to happen to me again, hmm, if I give it a tweak here and maybe put another person from the past here and….that other folder is a good one too… if I add a bit of that to this one it will be even more enjoyable to think about.’
All of this is thought of course, which is the only way the ego can experience anything. Take that beautiful sunset again for instance – in the now moment, in all its glory, it just is – no thought attached, but the ego doesn’t live in the now moment, only in the past, so the only way the ego can experience the sunset is to grab its image, put it into the appropriate folder, compare it, then put a judgment on it.
This may only take a fraction of a second, but that is enough to put the sunset into memory – into the past where the ego can then look at it. ‘Gee, that is a great sunset…although that one last week…or that one ten years ago was maybe a bit better….more colors… but yes, I reckon its comparable to the best I’ve seen.’
We have established that the past lives in the library of folders stored in memory, but what about the future? Where does that live? It also lives in those folders. The future is only the past – as the ego thinks about the experiences it has had in the past and puts them – thought wise – into the experiences it wants to have or doesn’t want to have again, which of course, relies on the memory of the past.
Neither the past nor future exists, except in thought. To be lost in thought is to be lost in time. To be lost in time is to be lost in ego. The ego can only exist in the past – or the past, projected forward as the future.
To be in thought is to be in time. To be in thought is to remove oneself from actually living in the now moment – To be either lost in the past or projecting onto the future, both of which we do so much of – is to be always removing ourselves from the ongoing reality of what is happening now.
Harking back to that sunset; when looking at it in the now moment, without thought, there is no gap, no separation between the sunset and the one viewing it. In other words, the sunset is you – and you are the sunset. There is a quiet ‘oneness’ relationship about it that becomes a beautiful and timeless experience.
The ego cannot live in the present moment, simply because it is only thought, past, future. The ego can only live in the folders stored in memory. Without that library of the past, the ego would not exist as it does now.
The ego has a true purpose though. Memory is essential for survival in this world. You need to remember your name, where you live, how to get down town, how to do your job. You need memory to learn things, to add and subtract, to eat well and care for your body’s maintenance, so your life here can last as long as possible.
That is what the ego was created for. A librarian and a reference library of past events are essential to help us through each day, enabling us to complete the mundane chores of daily life.
The problem for us all is that the crazy librarian has gone berserk and overproduced piles of unnecessary folders that are of no real use to us, then has gotten itself lost in them – taking over our lives with idle thoughts.
When the job is done at the end of your life, the ego is of no further use or purpose and ceases to exist. That is inevitable, but that is what the ego is most terrified of…
Dan’s Quote: “The more time one spends in time – which is thought….
_____________The faster time goes by.”- Joel Kramer