Often people talk about distressing events in catastrophic terms. “I don’t know how anyone will ever get over that!” Or, “It ruined my life; I’ll never get over it.” Or, “It was so awful, I’m not surprised he/she can’t get over it.” We talk as though there are “its” in life that track us and yap at our heels like indefatigable terriers after a fox.
Once the moment of something is over, though, the only “it” is a memory. And what is a memory? It is a thought carried forward through time. And how does a thought get carried forward through time? We keep re-thinking it. Otherwise, it would be stored away like a winter sweater in the tropics, tucked away where we could find it, but irrelevant to the present. So we’re not looking for it. Forgotten, but not gone. Part of our life we leave in storage. If someone asks, “Didn’t you have a heavy cable-knit sweater?”, we can remember that we did. But we don’t drag it out and put it on and spend a lot of time sweating in it.
It has always struck me as odd that we all find it perfectly reasonable and understandable that we forget where we put things, we forget people’s names, we forget the details of last year’s birthday, we forget promises we made, we forget to do routine chores, we forget to return phone calls, we forget appointments, we forget our last addresses, we forget groceries we meant to buy. Thoughts slip into storage and we fail to retrieve them all the time. Yet we find it unreasonable and beyond comprehension that something to which we attach negative significance could slip into storage and not be retrieved.
How would our brains sort that out? How would the brain select what is forgettable from what is unforgettable? Thoughts are just fleeting energy traces. They all look the same to the brain. It is our own mind, our own creative power, that assigns significance and directs the continual re-creation of certain thoughts. The brain is part of our physical world; our minds are spiritual, the energy that infuses our physical body and empowers us to direct our life, to exercise free will over how we will hold and use our thinking.
We can remember anything. But we don’t have to remember any particular thing. We are in control of which thoughts we bring to mind and which thoughts we leave alone or allow to pass. That is why the Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought refer to spiritual truths, not formed ideas. In the formless spiritual realm, there are no choices between this and that. Things are. It isn’t like we can pick and choose when the Principles apply and when they don’t. They are life itself in motion, infinitely. We are the energy of Mind creating Thought and experiencing our creations via Consciousness. All the time. It’s our thinking that generates our personal realities, and what we don’t bring to mind is not part of our reality in any given moment.
So we can always get over anything. We can simply allow it to stay folded up among all the other items in storage, unrecalled, once we have learned what we can from it.
I thought of this when I was working with a family not long ago. One of the children was “traumatized,” and could not stop talking about all the abuse she sustained from her alcoholic parents and how she just couldn’t live happily because of it. Her sibling was not interested in discussing that. “It was 10 years ago,” she said. “I’m glad it’s over. I can’t see much point dragging it into my life now.” They were only a year apart; they had exactly the same memories of childhood. But they were using their gifts of Mind, Thought and Consciousness and their free will very differently in relation to them. One was stuck in time; the other was living in the now.