Today we were driving through some of my old neighbourhoods I used to frequent when I lived in Vancouver. At one point I had a small epiphany. My memories of the area are old. They really aren’t to be trusted.
I was reading a book on Buddhism a while ago as I’ve mentioned here before. One concept that struck me as odd was the part on always living in the now, and not really trusting our memories. They lie.
Today I really noticed that. I saw buildings that had aged over the 16-17 years since I’ve lived nearby. They looked different. Like they had aged like a human does, yet I recognized them like I would a person I haven’t seen in 20 years. Familiar yet different. The buildings had moved on since our last encounter, yet my brain had not. My brain was stuck in the past.
That was until the moment I saw them again. Now I have a new impression of them that is far more accurate. The closer I get to seeing the buildings now, the greater the possibility of seeing reality, and less likely that my memory will deceive me.
This all makes sense when it comes to buildings, but what else do we hang on to that is simply an in-accurate memory? A memory that we think is reality? I remember people and places that I’ve met and been to. How much of it really happened? Luckily for me, I think most of what I recall is a fairly accurate interpretation of events.But as I age, the more I need to realize that my recollection of events will become more and more skewed.
One of my challenges, if I choose to accept it, is to live more in the now, and less on the events of my past.
I think I have more reading to do…
- I’m just not smart enough for Buddhism (pakos.me)
- Memory as a source (ancestry.co.uk)
- Test Your Memory (fitsugar.com)
- John Tropea: Memory is like a journal: selective, incomplete, and subject to interpretation (johntropea.tumblr.com)
- Napping Improves Your Memory (fitsugar.com)