Divine duty to Remember
Thoughts on the usages and direction of Memory
Guest article by A. S.
Introduction by Occult Mysteries
We are grateful to a kind contributor who has sent us the following unusual and thoughtful article on the usages of memory.
The definition that is often common both in literature as well as in the personal sphere of the usages of memory, or sentimental remembrance, is the one of indulging or basking in it. This attitude brings to mind a childhood image of man, a sort of sentimental and complex Peter Pan that results more in nostalgia for the past as a better place to be rather than the reality of the present or the future.
The subterfuge of worldly and material memories and the temptations of nostalgia both prevent the connection with that supreme and divine part of our human nature which is the Higher Self, our higher intellect, which is orientated to remember other dimensions of 'being' necessary to comprehend the Ineffable Truth. It is to the divine origin of this Truth that our memory should be directed.
Mark Twain is popularly thought to have said: "If you tell the truth, you do not have to remember anything." By which he meant that lying demands more of our capacity to remember than telling the truth. But memory is not what most people think it is. As we have two minds—the Higher and the lower—we must have two sorts of memory, or two places where our memories reside. It is through the use of our intuitive facility of reasoning that we remember who we really are and our divine origins. It is our Divine duty to Remember; to know ourselves through the memory of our divine origin retained by the Higher Self. That is the only memory we should constantly seek to access.
One profound but rather unknown Italian writer, Gesualdo Bufalino (1920‒1996), said: "Memories kill us. Without memories we would be immortal!" By 'memories', the author was referring to the mundane recollections of the lower self which, like the noisy chatter of a flock of starlings, prevents the Divine music of the Higher Self from reaching our waking consciousness. The question is do we really want to barter our immortality in exchange for the comfort of the sweet delight that our lower intellect offers us? Too often and for too many people, the temptation to indulge in sentimental and fleeting mundane memories is irresistible.
Some might interpret these previous paragraphs as a merciless attack on the noble art of reading and on the multinational industry of culture and literature that proliferates thanks to the trade in mundane memories and remembrances. This is not so if one actually learns how to discern and to really read between the lines of some honest and really inspired writers; the pleasure of reading at a deeper level will actually be elevated to a transcendental plane.
I urge you to reflect on A la recherché du temps perdu (Remembrance of things past) by Marcel Proust and extrapolate that paragraph of this vast literary work which is his famous "madeleine moment" to extract its full meaning.
The author's description of the "pleasures that invades his senses in an instant and reaching his soul" just by soaking a morsel of cake in a cup of tea, is one of the most transcendental and deep moments in literature if you accept its simplicity as a key to real knowledge.
Besides having anticipated almost 100 years of neuroscience that now recognises the importance the senses—in Proust's case that of taste—have in activating the memory of the hypothalamus, this simple ritualistic act of pleasure, enlightened the author with a revelation that reached the most intimate recesses of his soul and transported him to the rank of existence where he leaves behind the domain of the universal and enters into his personal domain, into the Higher Self.
These sorts of memories are thunders of Truth, like Heraclitus' fragments, another wise thinker worth rediscovering.
And so dear friends, whilst praying and meditating is always the best way to fulfil our "Divine Duty to Remember", let's allow ourselves in the next days or weeks a moment in solitude. (It is beautiful to be on our own, or actually sometimes visited by those subtle and ethereal presences that can often accompany loneliness). Each can find a corner of our home, a bar, or a place where we can relax and let's treat ourselves with a 'cup of tea and a scone'. Even if nothing happens to us, I am sure the next time we repeat this ritual we will Remember why we did it, precisely to find that Truth, that Revelation that as Proust said "lies not in the cup of tea, but in myself and whose essence was not in me, it was myself."
Here is the excerpt from Remembrance of things past by Marcel Proust that I would recommend you contemplate:
"Many years had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theatre and the drama of my going to bed there, had any existence for me, when one day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called 'petites madeleines,' which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place.
"An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory—this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I was conscious that it was connected with the taste of tea and cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could not, indeed, be of the same nature as theirs. Whence did it come? What did it signify? How could I seize upon and define it?"
The author considers the implications of the questions Proust asked himself in her follow-up to this article—The Madeleine moment.
NOTE: If you have found this article interesting you may find further food for thought in part six of our occult studies course which discusses intellect, instinct, intuition and memory
Article © A. S. Commentary © Copyright occult-mysteries.org. All worldwide rights reserved.
Published 21 January 2017. Updated 1 February 2017.