In The Gaze Of Past
Memories are the most important part of one’s life, and as a human being , we are the consequences of what happened in the past to be more precise, our past made who we are today, and all the stuff…in the past, is what we call a memory. Good, sweet or sour…they lie behind as an inevitable truth…from which there is no escape. Memories are formed in all parts of our brain. Every sound we hear, everything we touch, every emotion we feel and everything which we see, is first added to a short-term memory and then brain stores them as long-term memories for future processes. And in the future, how we react to a certain stimulus, is based on the how we reacted to it last time(not necessarily few minutes ago but can range from few months to even years back). We react according to our memories. Some songs, textures, fragrances trigger our long-lost memories this is because we never actually lose them, until and unless we have some severe brain damage or any sort of degenerative problems like Alzheimer’s disease, or other traumas which may lead to amnesia. But the question here is why is that we don’t remember all of it? And why some memories so vivid and others vague?
According to psychology the memories which we changed us and our lives are most likely to be the ones we never forget, our brain focuses on them and makes us remember how things were back then and how we reacted and all that then lead to what we are today . Almost all of us can’t remember events from since we were in mother’s womb(infantile amnesia ) till 3 to 5 years old, and that’s normal, but as we grow, our memories get stronger because our brain grows and perceives more information and functions fast to store it, as how we will react to surroundings, depends on all this information. We might not remember how our 1st birthday was celebrated, but by we are 4 years old, we to notice how much love we get and how much attention we are being given, and with time we then become strong enough to interpret all the information we gain from our surroundings properly. Everything that happens with us always stays with us, even if time passes yet everything, good or bad, stays with us, and is reflected in our behavior, because of its memories we hold. Time passes by, minutes turn to hours which turn to days and the years, but in our brain, time is held at a single place and is stored as our memories.
As I mentioned, time stays as memories, so does our past stays as memories, but more amazingly, our past stays as *what we are today*. Wired, I know, but a bitter reality, that there is no escape from the past, as what you are today, you are because of who you were in the past, to be more accurate, what you are today, it’s because how you reacted to your past events. All the knowledge and information about your actions is stored in your brain as a memory, for instance, if you have a memory to tossing a stone in the pond as a child, you are more likely to do so in present as well, with no certain reason. Or if you kick a can every time, you see one laying on the street, this is because it’s your memory of hitting it the last time you saw it, and thus , a habit now. You kick it and you say “damn, it went flying this time”. So, our memories become our habits. And all that we consistently did in our past, become our habit, and so past always stays with us.
Here I would like to focus more on past than present or future , many of us get indulged in past so much that we lose our present, and then of course our future as well. But is our past really worth losing something as precious as our present? No, but also yes, as our past made our present self. Not all of us have a pleasant past, there are events there, in the library of brain, in a section of past that still are stamped with “don’t open” or “beware of the damage it will cause you”. And I believe it’s not a wise act to give these tags. When we were young, we feared monsters under the beds, but when we mustered up the courage to see under it we found no monsters there. We slept peacefully then. Likewise, these memories only haunt us because we are too fragile to go to that section of our library. We are afraid to confront them and of course to accept them. And then we are too afraid to even think about them. We feel like its self-destructive even to be at that corner, and we are better off without them. But what happens next is time passes by, and we feel suffocated by those thoughts. We feel drowning in the oceans of nothingness, and as the clock ticks , we feel like one step closer to the very darkness we are running from. The memories we want to burn, burn us instead. But why so ? This is because we don’t take a step towards them, we always try to run from them so we may not face such stifling thoughts, but at the end, we always find ourselves strangled in them. And by that time, we are too frail to even move, because we spend all our energies in running away from the past. They were the very thoughts we considered suicidal, and we were running away from, which capture us and trap us in their prison of pain and sufferings.
Is there any escape from all these? Yes, there is, but for that one has to be brave enough to confront himself, to forgive himself, to accept ones the flaws and to forgive blemishes of one’s character. And untangling yourself from your past is as easy as forgiving yourself for your mistakes. Not very easy, of course, but not impossible as well. One thing beautiful about our past is that it always strengthens us. Either we approach it first or it clutches us first, the only escape is fighting our monsters and getting out victorious. Our past strengthens us, but only when we finally summon up the courage to face it. Normally It’s not the whole thing in the past, it’s just some terrible memories which can do nothing to us in present as long as we allow them to. More vulnerable we are to these memories more indefensible our brain becomes. Dr kindled, pioneer in understanding human brain once said:
‘you are your memories’
You are what you hold as memories as you memories carry your actions and your behaviors. We can change our present selves if we try to act differently from our past, i.e. if we were rigid, we be kind, if we were pessimist we be optimist, if we had a positive outlook on life, then improve it. Because when we try to learn from our past and improve ourselves, that’s where actual growth starts. It’s true that we can’t change the past, but we can always confront our demons in the dark and be free from our grudges and grievances. But to stay lost in the fear of being never being able to be found is the actual self-destruction. We cannot cut the past from us, but letting it destroy the present is not a wise act.