Memory is caused by revelation. Events alone, clearly, are not enough to generate memories. There has to be a thought, a revelation, an insight that turns on the searchlights, causes a looking into the arena that holds memories of life. Consciousness suddenly calls for something that is missing. Then, previous events are revealed, that seem to meet the challenge, and even have led to the very revelation. It is always backwards, and exciting. Memories knock you off your chair. And in a rush, why not ask, of what does the revelation consist? This we must answer. And also, what is the cause or source of the staying power of the old event? Where was it? As if in a classroom, ask these emotionally loaded questions, dryly. While it was not being called upon, where was the memory? Just what allows the past to hang around? This might be addressed in this forum, also. Or further, defying all analysis, is it that both parts of the sequence are useless without each other; while yet supplying each other with meaning? Meaning supplied, just by the relationship? Class! The very importance of the memory is that it speaks of previous life. We are correct in our hunch, today, that memory is activated by revelation. There must be a separate cause, that brings these events into view! Events that were waiting, that nicely support the mood of inquiry, relate to the very issue, and certainly give an air of truth and meaning to the whole procedure. Obviously, toning this down now, class–and I am speaking as if this were a general question, but of course it is personal, memories are most personal, and don’t have a general category–you know that–these events from the past never can become causes of anything. Obviously, memories have no power, until they are brought into the arena of the present hour. It is always that the fervently held past is stirred up, by the riotous needful present, and we simply carry an expanding desire within us. Were the world not capable of supplying new and unexpected occasions, we would not just slip semi-happily into memories, we would sink into an oblivious haze, into senility. For there is no nostalgia–and we are not dying. It cannot be that we have less and less of a reason, to call forth the history of ourselves. Calmly I say this. We are arriving, with an ever larger . . .precious cargo!
Next week, class, we will begin to use examples. I want you each to bring in some memories–well, that sounds rather . . . unmanageable. Let’s do it this way: I will supply the examples! This first example of a memory which we will dissect and examine, and pour over and wonder about, and tease to death, though it will never die, will be the memory I have of sledding in Ellison Park, when I was, oh I don’t know eight or nine years old. This thrilling memory is evoked even by the name Ellison Park, to which I am immediately, while still standing here before you, transported. Amazingly, there is still trauma attached to it–that’s the hinge, to the winter scenery, through which I flew down the terribly long hill on my sled until . . .with tears and snowflakes in my eyes, I had to fling myself off, roll sideways off the sled, or go plunging into, or skidding across what was suddenly right in front of me, a river. Probably frozen, but . . . a river! I never did get an explanation for this, apparently poor planning for a sledding course. And the sled itself was never seen again! I stood up on the near bank, as if alive for the first time in my life (that was the feeling), and I gazed into the snowbound woods. I rolled off the sled, which was going out of control, in order to stay in this life. This is the message, which of course needs to be explored further. It was in order to stay in this life. I had a tenuous grip on life. Not really time to even fear, though no one can help but assume it was fear that caused me to act then–it was really to save myself for this life. And not go across the river where a far worse, disconnected life was. With tremendous heroism, it was one of the first adventures in which I secured this now elastic bond of tenacious cause and effect, that we always think has a secret propelling us forward. When in fact the content of our memories just holds us here, spellbound.