Remembering the Future

Remembering the Future

Everyday, someone writes to me in desperation, I can almost see the tears and hopelessness in their written words.

What is the cure for a mind-set of hopelessness?

I believe mental states are actually groups of memories working together in a pattern.

To illustrate my point, when my son was very young I taught him to whistle one day. We were under a big tree out in the yard that day. Years later, after we had moved from that place, he visited that place and walked by that tree, he spontaneously remembered that he learned to whistle under that tree.

We store our memories in groups. The smells, the feelings, the people involved are all stored together, and when one of these things come to our mind, that one memory acts as a key to unlock a flood of other seemingly forgotten memories that become active at the same.

These so called forgotten memories bring with them all the feelings and thoughts that were stored with them.

My favorite book is “Man’s Search For Meaning” by holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. It is his account of how he survived in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The technique he used was what I’m calling “remembering the future”, he didn’t call it that.

Dr. Frankl, would be standing in rags, hungry and cold and he would imagine himself standing in front of a crowd giving a lecture about his death camp experiences, in a large warm hall, wearing a suit of clothes, in the future. He would imagine in the future having an ordinary conversation with his wife, who he didn’t know at the time was already dead. This “remembering” a future hopeful event, automatically gave his mind the key it needed to unlock other hopeful memories, feelings and learnings.

You see, there is the reality of life as you see it now. It has you defeated, you may hear everything I’m teaching about this diet but because you don’t believe YOU CAN also do this, the first sign that the diet is not working is seen by you as proof of your inner beliefs.
The keys you are using are unlocking the wrong cluster of memories.

Inside your mind, however, are different memories, different learnings, different feelings, a different set of keys, that have been put into storage and are not active. To re-activate them, you simply have to find a way to “see your whistling tree” or imagine your future lecture where you give a talk to other defeated people about how you overcame whatever problem you are facing.

This sends a powerful message to your brain to re-activate the memories and learnings that you’ve long forgotten.

Hope re-activates memories that were stored with that feeling of hope, just like the sight of your Grandma’s old house might re-activate memories of cookies baking, and old dog, and games you played with your cousins, and along with those memories the carefree feelings of youth and fun.

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