Updated: Oct 24, 2022
“Why would you cling to a memory if you did not desire its effects? Remembering is as selective as perception, being its past tense. It is perception of the past as if it were occurring now and still were there to see. Memory, like perception, is a skill made up by you to take the place of what God gave in your creation. And like all the things you made, it can be used to serve another purpose and to be the means for something else. It can be used to heal and not to hurt if you so wish it to be… It is a recognition that you have no needs which mean that something must be done.” (A Course in Miracles, OrEd.Tx.28.2-3)
Wow! There is a lot there so I want to break it apart into pieces and share how I’ve been putting this to work in my own life. It’s been a challenge at times. It’s been upsetting at times. AND it’s been incredibly freeing.
First, we hold onto memories because we want to even when they are painful. Maybe we feel justified in our upset (I know what should have happened and it didn’t happen that way). Maybe we feel the other person deserves our anger. Maybe we are used to feeling upset and it’s comfortable. Whatever the reason, recognize that there is some purpose for holding on to something that we deem painful - otherwise we wouldn’t hold onto it.
For the last several months, it has felt like my mind was on a “spin cycle” around a particular situation and it hurt a lot. I cried a lot about it. I kept thinking that I wanted the pain to go away and yet it didn’t. Truth was I didn’t want to excuse the other person for how they acted. They didn’t treat me how I wanted them to treat me and felt they should have treated me, so I felt justified in that pain and focused on that.
Staying hurt also acted as a wall of protection as I wasn’t allowing myself to fully connect with the people who were around me thinking I didn’t want to be hurt again. In other words, I was using a past perception to keep me from engaging in the present. I was acting as if the past “were occurring now and still were there to see” rather than just interacting with the people who were in front of me.
Yet, A Course in Miracles says that “it (memory) can be used to heal and not to hurt if you so wish it to be… It is a recognition that you have no needs which mean that something must be done.” When I first read this with friends, we were utterly confused. Then I realized that if I believe I have a need, then I believe something has to be done about it. So this is saying a healing memory shows me that I have no needs - that nothing needs to be done. Why would that be? Because “I am not a body, I am free. I am still as God created me.” God created me like Itself. I am an extension of God. I have all the attributes of God within my True Self. I am perfect. I am without lack. I am sinless. I am not a body that can be harmed. I am in all things whole and complete.
Thus, when I look back at memories of what I think happened, do I see someone hurting me (which is impossible) or do I see the providence of God in my life? Do I judge others in the situation or do I see God’s innocence in all beings as I am innocent and we are all One? I recently did a meditation where I saw a light of innocence land upon a person who I held the grievance against. I had done this before, but continued to also see guilt there. However, this time, I saw the person as a young adult, then as a teenager, then as a child. As I saw them regress in age, I was able to more clearly see their innocence. So, when I returned to seeing them as an adult in my mind, I was able to bring that light forward, recognizing that nothing had changed in who they were though their body looked different.
It was very healing for me and something I now turn to often to support me in releasing my stories of memory that come from fear, anger and judgment. We are all children of God. We are all living as we feel led. Sometimes we forget that we are Love and maybe act inconsistent with that, but everything is held by God in perfection. We may see a dream of horror, but it is still a dream. We release the thought that it can hurt us and we open our hearts to Love. What are you choosing to remember today?