There is a great fear in society that as we grow older our memory fades. We forget many things: people’s names, where we left something, what we were about to say, the list goes on.
We regard forgetting as a flaw when, in fact, the opposite is the case. We can’t make sense of this statement unless we explore the way memory works.
Basically, as we move through the world we pause our attention on various things and create images of them. These created images are then stored in our memory, which is in our etheric body, and we can usually access these images when needed. The etheric is that life-force that imbues our physical body with life to keep it from decaying.
We find this etheric life-force in the plant world as a pattern of repetition. Each plant follows a repetitive pattern as it carries out its cycles of growth. This is an organic process utilising the whole of the plant’s etheric life-force. When each plant’s life-force is depleted the plant forms seeds then dies.
In the human being we find two types of etheric; one similar to the plant world, and one that is liberated from the natural etheric process and becomes freely available to be used at our discretion.
There are several ways we can energize this liberated etheric. One way is when we participate in education, learning new things. We can’t say a plant learns new things unless something interferes with its repetitive process. As we use this force for education, we energise our etheric body giving us access to greater life-forces throughout our life. The other way is when we free up this liberated etheric by forgetting things. This appears to be counterproductive but in fact, it is not contradictory at all.
During our life, as we learn things, we commit them to memory by storing them in our etheric body and in this way we use up the resources of the etheric. As we continue to remember things we set up a pattern of repetition which we call our habits and while this can be helpful it can also bind us to worn out ideas. Some memories are etched in our minds, we continually revisit them, especially when worries torment us, or we lay awake at night unable to forget something, and this prevents the re-energising of our etheric. In this way, remembering hampers us. If we are able to forget, we free this force, which is then available to keep us vibrant and healthy. Not being able to forget makes our etheric body hard and lifeless, wooden, which can undermine our health.
Now we can see how beneficial forgetting can be, because when we forget an image we formed out of our experiences, we set it free, while at the same time freeing up some of our etheric energy. We can understand how this freed image initiates lively forces when we think about the effect of forgiving insults and injuries done to us by others.
What about the things we would prefer to remember?
When we work in the right way with this uniquely human, free, etheric force we have access to everything in our memory, even things of which we were never really conscious. The liberated etheric force also gives us access to universal wisdom. This explains why we recognise the wisdom of old age. We see this in people who have enlivened their soul and spirit, who have been able to connect with their ‘I’, and in this way receive new understandings and inspirations.
This reveals how wellbeing arises from forgetting and gives rise to our moral and ethical progress, which in turn, contributes to the progress of all humankind. We also see how wisdom is not about the accumulation of information but about forgetting information. Those who manage to do this know that everything they have forgotten does not disappear because they can freely access knowledge through a vibrant ‘I’ connection on a need-to-know basis. We can also call this brain-free thinking, thinking freed from the immobile physical body to become mobile in the etheric body.
Painting: Forgetting by David Castleberry