Excerpt About Remembering

Without the Capacity for Remembering there Would be No Suffering

The moment we have a mind, understanding becomes imperative, since without understanding suffering would simply continue. When you have a mind, it becomes natural to have ideas about things and about yourself. You take yourself to be a certain someone or a certain thing. You have memory, from which you create images of who you are, and because of this you develop fears and desires. Without memory, there would be no fears and no desires. So the mind makes possible many human attributes that other creatures on earth do not share. We have memory, we have conceptualization and thinking processes; along with these come emotional development, a sense of identity, a world view, a perspective on reality. These relate directly to the mind, which registers all our thoughts and experiences as memories. These memories then determine what we expect, how we look at reality, what we think we are and what we think we need. And you probably know from self-observation, this is the cause of our suffering. If you didn’t remember past bad times, you wouldn’t be frightened now; and if you didn’t recall the good times, you would have no desires and longings. Without the capacity for remembering, there would be no suffering. You’d be like a contented tree or animal.

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