How Memory Distorts Reality and Makes Us Bored to Death

What is memory? — calling up of past experiences. Continuously, memory is happening. Whenever you see something, immediately memory comes in and distorts it. You have seen me before. You see me again, immediately memory comes in. If you had seen me five years before, then the picture of five years, the past picture, will come into your eyes and fill your eyes. And you will see me through that picture.

That’s why, if you have not seen your friend for many days, the moment you see you immediately say, “You are looking very thin,” or “You are looking very unhealthy,” or “You have gathered fat.” Immediately! Why? Because you are comparing; the memory has come in. The man himself is not aware that he has gathered fat or he has become thin, but you become aware because immediately you can compare. The past, the last picture comes in, and immediately you can compare.

And this memory is continuously there, being projected on everything you see. This past memory has to be dropped. It should not be a constant interference in your knowing because it doesn’t allow you to know the new. You always know in the pattern of the old. It doesn’t allow you to feel the new, it makes everything old and rotten. Because of this memory, everybody is bored; the whole humanity is bored. Look at anybody’s face, he is bored, bored to death. There is nothing new, no ecstasy.

Why are children so ecstatic? And for such simple things, you cannot imagine how this ecstasy is happening. Just for few colored stones on the beach and they start dancing. What is happening to them? Why can’t you dance? Because you know those are just stones; your memory is there. For those children there is no memory, those stones are a new phenomenon — as if they have reached to the moon.

I was reading when the first man reached the moon all over the world there was excitement. And everybody was looking on their TV’s, but within fifteen minutes, everybody was bored, finished. What to do now? The man is walking on the moon. After just fifteen minutes and this dream has taken millions of years to reach there… And nobody is now interested what is happening.

Everything becomes old. Immediately it becomes memory, it becomes old. If you can drop your memories! Dropping doesn’t mean that you cease to remember, dropping only means this constant interference. When you need, you can pull it back to the focus. When you don’t need it, just let it be there silently, not coming continuously.

Past, if continuously present, will not allow present to be. And if you miss present, you miss all.

Source: “Yoga: The Science of the Soul”, by Osho