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Thinking and Remembering

An important exercise we can do is to think without the use of memory. Our thinking is clouded by memory. That is why we really never think but just remember. Most of our thinking is just fixed opinions and attitudes.

For example, something we have read somewhere, an article that appealed to us, or some form of advertisement.

Deep down within us is the wish that everything should be explained to us so that we do not have to think for ourselves; only recall instructions, freeing us from the effort to find our own solutions. Whenever I am giving talks, I have always felt an urge to refer to notes previously written. At times I wilfully put this aside, try and cut off my memory, and allow the words to flow spontaneously. In these short periods I have always felt uplifted, new meanings seem to descend from a higher level and the whole audience is transported to a different level of understanding. Memory is like old food from the refrigerator, whereas spontaneity is eating freshly picked fruit.

Can we learn to think in a new way where impulses open new pathways and passages in the brain? Our thinking centre is full of borrowed opinions and ideas. We have nothing that we have thought for ourselves. We follow slogans, prejudices, catch phrases, even the last thing we read.

A technique we can use is to take one idea and open up as many shades of meaning possible. Say, I have a punctured tyre and am late for a meeting. Take this as one idea and mentate on it. I could say this is a lesson in patience, or irritation, something that was lying hidden in me is surfacing and now I can work with it. The meeting was important so I am teaching my nerves to hold tension in a relaxed manner. Patanjali calls this ‘dharana’ or the power to hold. This simple exercise would open up new roads in our brains, blood would start flowing through unused pathways, and our thinking and understanding would be lifted to a totally new dimension.

In our thinking we follow our inner hatreds, jealousies and obstinacies, along with our education and upbringing. If we worked to think in a new way, the world would change.