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Thursday, April 21, 2011

The power of a memory

7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...
(Proverbs 23:7)

There are all kinds of things that "vie" for attention in our mind.  The "loudest" voice is often the one heard the best.  Just as much as there are things that demand our attention in our thought life, our emotions are constantly being "played" by the events of our days.  Depending on what it is that is running through our thoughts at the moment, the emotions can be manageable or completely out of control.  Therefore, learning to "manage" our minds goes a significantly long way in learning to live with an emotional "balance" in our lives.

Our mind really has two "sides" to it: the conscious and the unconscious.  The conscious side of our mind is pretty evident to us - when we are actively thinking on something, it is easy to see that our actions follow that thought pattern.  The unconscious side of our mind is not as easy to see, so we often don't equate our present action with what we are unconsciously thinking (or have entertained in the past).  It is often the "unconscious thought" that gets us into the greatest emotional upheaval in our lives.  

What am I saying here?  It is simply that there is unrecognized power in our memories.  Whatever we "store away" in the recesses of our minds has the potential to either ignite our actions in either a positive or negative way.  Periodically, I need to clean out my file cabinet, the top of my desk, and the other "clutter" areas of my home.  Whenever I do this, I find that I was keeping all kinds of stuff that I really did not need to keep.  After all, how many paid utility bills is a person required to keep?  When the next advertised specials come out from the Penney's store, why is the old ad still lingering at the bottom of the pile?  You get the point!

Just as we must "un-clutter" our physical space, we must focus on the "de-cluttering" of our minds, as well.  There are things that we hold onto in our thoughts that should have been discarded long ago.  There are some things that we should have "tossed" long ago in our lives.  

The first thing would be what I will call "falsehoods" - those things that we embraced as reality that really aren't.  These could be things we have been taught that really have no basis of proof like the idea that sunscreen "keeps" you from getting a sunburn.  This is not entirely true - it just "lessens" the burn.  You still need to limit your time in the sun to avoid the burn.  There are a lot of "false" beliefs that we have formed about ourselves and others that really have no foundation in reality.  Yet, we hold onto them like they were true and these wrong thought-patterns influence how we see ourselves and others.

The next thing we probably need to focus on discarding is "memory of wrongs".  In simple terms, we call this forgiveness.  There are past hurts that we hold onto for one reason or another - these come back to haunt us as the weirdest times.  The emotional baggage of unforgiveness is tremendously weighty, so it is one of the most significant things we need to focus on when we seek to "de-clutter" our minds.

The list could go on, but you are probably getting the idea that not everything we have put into our minds is worth hanging onto.  Sometimes we just need a little time and space to begin that decluttering process.  The investment of time in evaluating what we have "tucked away" into the recesses of our unconscious mind is really worth the investment.  It is not until we discover what it is that we unconsciously accept as truth that we can counteract it with the reality of truth!