B2. Your Two Memories.
You have two memories, as you have or are composed of two selves: the physical, or temporary self, and the spiritual, or eternal self. You have an earthly memory, a perishable belonging of your temporary, physical self, and a spiritual memory, a belonging of your eternal and indestructible self.
Your earthly memory is as much a part of your physical body as any other organ of that body. Its use is the retention in mind of events on the physical stratum of existence. It is formed only to deal with material substance, even as your eye or your sense of touch can only be used for material substance. Your spirit has experiences in its spiritual realm of existence. It goes to other places, meets persons, exchanges thought, participates in enjoyments; but when it returns to the body, there is of that body no organ capable of receiving or preserving the spiritual picture, or impression, of such experiences.
The physical organ of memory is subject to decay, like the other physical organs, as is sometimes seen in cases of people with very old physical bodies. In other words, the worn‑out body will have the worn‑out physical organ of memory.
The earthly memory need not decay, no more than the earthly body need decay. But if you have faith only in material things, and what you call material laws, your body and all its functions, memory included, must go the way of all material things—to decay. Such decay and loss of memory has happened to bright intellects, whose sundering of spirit from their body has been of comparatively recent date—men whose thoughts, at times, penetrated far into the higher world of spirit; who brought from thence live food for many minds; who have made a deep impress on our age, but who still, unfortunately, lived too far within the domain of material things and influences to escape the inevitable result to the earthly body and earthly mind of such influences, that result being the decay of the body, the physical instrument for the spirit’s use on the physical stratum of life.
It must be kept in mind, as much as possible, that your body and your spirit are two distinct and separate things or factors, as the carpenter and his saw are separate things; that your spirit has used, and through ignorance, or lack of power, worn out many bodies, as the carpenter may have used and worn out many saws; and that with ever‑increasing knowledge and power your spirit may, instead of wearing your body out, as heretofore, renew it ever with finer and finer material.
Your memory is an actual photographic plate, constantly taking pictures of all scenes and events palpable to the other senses, by a process of which our artificial photography is a coarse and feeble imitation.
Of this we have a suggestion in the power of a certain kind of clairvoyance, to see through contact with a piece of rock, or coal, the pictures of the scenery and events happening about it, and imprinted on it through far distant geological periods. On all material substances, wood, or stone, or metal, are being constantly photographed the images of all material things surrounding them. The physical organ of memory is a plate still more sensitive, for which the physical eye is the outward lens. The physical organ of memory also takes and preserves the pictures of your own thoughts and those of others, as they give them to you.
If you do not crowd the plate, or hurry the process, through a hurried condition of mind, through trying to see or remember too much at once, you will get and retain of what you do see, or of what is going on about you, the clearer pictures.
You have an earthly memory, for use on the earth stratum of life, and a spiritual memory, for use on the spiritual side of your life, even as you have the spiritual correspondence, or duplicate of all your other senses, such as hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching. None of the spiritual senses, save in exceptional instances, are brought into play in the earthly, or physical life.
When lives are more perfected, or ripened, on this planet, as they will be, all these senses will come into play. Then your true life begins. For all of your physical existence and all belonging to it is, as compared with the exercise of your spiritual and finer senses, but as a coarse shell or envelope.
You are here in the physical, as compared with the spiritual, as is the grub, when compared with the butterfly; the full‑grown oak, as compared with the acorn. But all comparisons must fall far short, in the endeavor to suggest the possibilities and powers coming to your real or spiritual life.
The “earthly memory,” as here used, is but a relative term. It implies a memory filled entirely with material cares and considerations. But your memory, through aspiration and persistent desire for a more perfect life, will gradually refine from the coarser to the finer, from the earthly to the spiritual; in other words, you will hold in your memory only those things which can give you lasting power and pleasure; and, as you continue to do this, your memory will in time take hold of and retain the impression of your other, now unknown, life, your spiritual life, of which you may at first retain glimpses, during your waking moments, or physical daily existence, which glimpses may grow at last to clear and perfect recollection.
These are the possibilities, remember, of every human spirit; possibilities certainly to be realized by every spirit at some period of existence.
If you allow your mind to be continually troubled about some matter of small import, if you keep all day in memory the idea or thought that your friend may not come, as you expect, that your milliner may forget some detail in the trimming of your hat, that the mail may not bring you an expected letter, that money due you may not be paid; or if you hold in memory a picture of yourself as destitute or penniless, or all but penniless, next month, you are then filling your mental photographic plate entirely with pictures of the material, the perishable. So keeping memory in the material, you are making it material, and consequently subject to decay. Worse; you are keeping from memory better thought, which would give you aid and power to overcome the very things you fear.
If you overburden your memory with names and dates and events and details, you may carry a load of no use at all; and in carrying this load, you destroy capacity to receive new impressions and new ideas. The photographer wants a perfectly clear and clean plate on which to take his picture. Even so, to receive new ideas must your mental photographic plate be clear, and free of old pictures. For this reason is it, that people whose minds are full of memorized ideas and opinions, who are walking encyclopedias of facts, so called, are rarely people of original idea. They are collectors, rather than originators, and collectors, in many cases, of mental rubbish; of opinion and fact, so called, which will be found erroneous fifty years hence, even as so much of the opinion current fifty years ago seems ridiculous today.
Your successful man is often the man who, in early life, received little education. His memory was not crammed and burdened with words or opinions, which he was taught implicitly to receive as genuine. His mind was left the more free and clear to receive fresh impressions. For this reason, he saw the plan, the scheme, the device, the new road to success which the book‑filled brain could not; for this reason, in so many cases, do uncultured, illiterate men take the lead in so many undertakings, while the man of education drudges in illiteracy’s office, on small wages. When your child is able to repeat a whole dictionary “by heart,” and can repeat from memory sentence on sentence, and chapter on chapter from its school‑books, it is simply overloading and abusing a physical organ or function. Its real mental power is crippled. Its mental photographic plate is blurred, and crowded with old pictures, and its capacity for “getting on in the world” is lessened, instead of increased. The world calls the proper pronunciation of a word, the proper wording of a sentence, “culture.” But this is not mental power; and to keep a memory loaded with rules, declensions, conjugations, and words, is like expending all the labor on the polishing of the knife blade, with no regard to the sharpness of its edge. Polish is a help, but not the power which puts you ahead in the world. A great deal is committed to memory at school which people can really give no clear reason for being learned, other than the fear of the child’s being ridiculed for ignorance in after years were certain matter not learned; and of all the mass of matter memorized at school or college, two‑thirds of it is fortunately forgotten within a twelve‑month after being so memorized.
If you thought it a necessity to remember exactly how many tacks there were in your parlor carpet, and their exact distance from each other, and the number of pins in your work‑box, you would have your mental photographic plate occupied with a set of useless pictures. We burden ourselves in life with hundreds of little cares, equally useless. Care and precision are valuable qualities, but if a man puts them all on his coat buttons, or a woman on the brightness of her tin pans, there is not much force left for things which may bring far more important results; and that is one reason why your man careless as to many little things, succeeds, while a very precise man may fail, or fill a smaller place in the world. Nelson, on shipboard, cared little whether the brass work was polished to the extreme of brightness, and, as to many details, was called a slovenly commander, but he kept mind and memory very clear for the most effective method for laying his ships alongside of those of the enemy, and fighting them afterward.
Martinets have not, as a rule, won battles; not for lack of bravery, but because their memories were overcharged with the necessity for having buttons and gun‑barrels in an exact line on parade, and long habit and training forced them to keep in mind these and other details, to the exclusion of the best method of obtaining the results that gun‑barrels were made for.
We do not here, by any means, slight carefulness, exactness, or precision, but we do suggest the great importance of the thing you put your care on, or what you burden your memory with, or, in other words, print on your mental photographic plate. It is an organ, a function, like any other. It can be overloaded and abused, even in a good cause; and when, madam, you call to your husband, as he leaves the house to go to business in the morning, not to forget going to market, and then deliver your message to the milliner, and stop in at the store and buy the thread to match a certain shade of silk, a sample of which you have given him, you are putting extra loads on the poor man’s memory, possibly already overburdened, and you will remember that the effort to remember a paper of pins, or the imprint of that paper of pins on memory’s organ, makes as large a picture as the performance of some business detail necessary to secure that million.
You lose the spirit and substance of a speaker’s thought when you “take notes.” You do not need to retain in mind the precise words he uses. When you take notes, your mind is then necessarily diverted from the speaker. You break off, temporarily, a certain blending ’twixt his mind and yours, which makes between you a channel of mental communication and of thought absorption. You lose, also, the force and substance of what he is saying while you are writing what he has said. You are also impeding, to an extent, the speaker’s flow of thought, be his discourse written or verbal, for in any case, every interested hearer is a help to the speaker, in sending him a current of sympathetic, appreciative, and responsive thought; and when you cut this off, you cut off a certain help and stimulation that you may have previously been sending him.
If you trust, in these cases, entirely to memory, it will more and more write down, and retain for you all of the substance, pith, and meaning of any speaker’s thought, so far as you are capable of comprehending that speaker, all of which you can afterward recall to yourself, by your own method of expression.
A mental reporter, without taking notes, will sometimes give the substance of a speech in one‑tenth the number of words required to deliver it in; and for practical purposes in journalism, such reporting is the most highly valued. Such a reporter trusts and cultivates what, for lack of other words, we must call his “spiritual memory”; that is, the memory which retains ideas, instead of words, for words are but vehicles to carry ideas in, and, in many cases, very imperfect vehicles.
Your spiritual memory retains the results, or wisdom gathered throughout all your past physical lives, or re‑embodiments. The more numerous these lives, the older your spirit, the greater is your wisdom. In other words, the clearer then is your insight, your intuition, which means the teachings of your own spirit, which is the only teacher and source of knowledge for you in the universe.
The spiritual memory, after many re‑embodiments, and with increasing power, affects, in a certain way, the physical memory; that is, the memory of the body you are now using.
You go to a strange, possibly a foreign city you never before, in this physical life, visited. You are possessed by a strange sensation of having been there before. You may feel strangely at home among new people, scenes, and customs. That comes of the working of your spiritual memory. You have been there before in some previous physical existence. You were of these people. You lived among them, and then belonged to them.
If you are strongly drawn to, and greatly interested in some particular era of history, and have, during all your present life, read and re‑read everything concerning it with the greatest relish, and every bit and scrap of new information concerning such historical era is still seized upon by you, and, in a mental sense, almost greedily devoured, it is because your spiritual memory, imperfect and clogged as it is, by the confusion and false beliefs written on your physical memory, as to your real self and the now hidden powers in that self, seizes on these historical pictures, as presented to you in story or print, and feels, rather than recognizes, your former participation in those events. This is why the history of one nation, or an era of such nation’s history, may be of more interest to you than any other. You lived in that era, and acted in it. It was a period of marked impression and event in your real life. The forces, perhaps, long gathering in quiet within you, and through, possibly, a succession of quiet, and relatively uneventful, physical lives, burst forth in that era into a certain energy and fruition, and your spiritual, or real self, now so far dominates your physical self as to force it to recognize its life and effort, and possibly, even its individuality, during that era. Your present physical life is but one of a series of physical lives. Your real self passes from one to another of these lives, with greater or less intervals of time between such physical lives, something as your body passes from one suit of clothes to another, as the last suit is worn out. As you increase in force and wisdom, the time between each re‑embodiment becomes less and less, because your spirit, your highest self knows, or is forced through a peculiar intuition, to return to the earth stratum of life, that it may as soon as possible get the power which it can only get there; and that power once matured, it has never again to return under the slow, and generally painful conditions of a physical rebirth. That power once matured, it can return to earth at will. In other words, it can make a physical body to use here for an hour, a day, a year, or as long as it pleases, and having for the time done with it, let that body return to its original elements.
It is then, when you, through your power, command the physical or material form of element, and can gather and compose it at will into any form you please, and also when no form of material has any power over you, that you really commence to live.
The “spiritual memory” is what you bring into the world, or rather what your spirit brings to the earth stratum of life with each new incarnation. It brings the substance or wisdom gathered from its last physical life, as well as all other previous lives, but not the recollection of the events, details, and experiences by which such wisdom was gathered. Your spirit did retain the recollection of its last physical life up or near to the period of your present reincarnation. But, with a new body, there came also its new physical organ or photographic plate of memory for taking physical impressions, and on this could only be imprinted the scenes, events, and surroundings of this, your present physical existence.
Your memory of each of your physical lives is only temporarily obscured, not blotted out. As your real, your spiritual self, grows in power, as your more powerful spiritual senses develop, of which your physical senses are a coarse and very inferior counterpart, so will your spiritual memory increase in power; and this memory can, at some period of your real existence, bring to you, as you desire, recollections of the physical life of all your past existences.
What your spiritual memory now brings you is vague and incomplete as compared to what it will bring in a greater condition of ripeness. Yet many an intention, many an idea that now you may think as whimsical and visionary, comes of the force and prompting of the spiritual memory.
But you will find in time that you will not care or need as an addition to your happiness to recall near as much of your past, especially its darker experiences, as now you think you would, had you the power. Because your life will be an eternal now of happiness, and ever‑increasing happiness, as your powers increase, as you learn more and more how to live, as you realize more and more the endless variety of life’s pleasures, as not only you see but feel a pleasure, beauty, sublimity, grandeur, in every form of nature.
Every physical thing, every house, tree, or rock, every meeting of people in halls or churches, in families or restaurants, in the march or conflict of armies; every event, small or great in your life, has its counterpart, or, as it may be termed, reflection in element unseen to the physical eye. Every event in all your past lives is actually a part of you in unseen element. In your spirit is wrapped the power of calling back in a series of pictures, as one event is linked to another, all these parts of yourself, extending to a most remote past.
The imprint of the events happening through countless ages of your many physical existences, so transferred from the physical to the spiritual memory, begets the spiritual memory of experience, and out of experience is born wisdom. An old spirit, a spirit of many experiences and lives, feels quicker, through its inward teaching, or intuition, what is true, and what is false, than cruder and younger spirits. You feel a certain statement, an assertion, which may seem visionary, or ridiculous, to those around you, to be true, or have some truth in it. That comes of the action of what, for want of clearer words, we must call the spiritual memory. You cannot give for this any clear “reason” to many other minds. Has not time often proved that your feeling, in this respect, was correct, though through the influence, pressure, and working of the more material mind about you, may, at times, have doubted the truth of this feeling?
You are not an individual, a man, a woman, in the ordinary sense. You are a ceaseless current of event, surrounding experience; a series of pictures of all you have done, or have been extending, far, far back into the dim, the awful past of eternity, which no eye has pierced, or can ever pierce; and this current, commencing in an atom, a speck of being of life, has gone on accumulating more and more experience, growing in thought broader and deeper; a power moving and operating in space, gathering fresh force and insight with each new experience, until you are what now you are. And so, ever gathering force (you are to), you must grow on and on, a wonder, even to yourself, as you begin to realize that you are, indeed, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” And more: the more you grow, the more are you to see, and the clearer must you see your past,—a past extending to periods beyond this earth’s organization into its present condition; a past full of mysteries, even to the clearest sight of the higher world of spirit. For, since there could in spaceless universe have been no beginning, so you, in the fullest sense, can have had no beginning.
I admire your Intelligence! You are Amazing at what you do! I admire your Determination!!
The Luxury Travel Expert (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved July 1, 2021, from https://theluxurytravelexpert.com/2018/05/21/best-resorts-maldives-for-couples/
Mulford, P. (1886-1887). Your two memories. Your forces and how to use them (pp.273-284). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09