response to "tumult"

Got my first Guestbook note yesterday! Thank you cool stranger. It came with a question so I'll post it here along with my reply:

"Fucking awesome your latest post called Tumult mate. Really helpful insight about the past and how it affects the present. Would you agree on the statement that our ability to remember past events is a tool to learn and not repeat the same mistakes? But the trade off is that is we have to carry the weight of our actions. Being preoccupied, and cringe from our past actions are the proper consequences of being able to revisit the past in our minds. This cannot be avoided. I think it's a good tradeoff. What do you think?"

What you said about our ability to remember past events being a tool to learn and not repeat the same mistakes definitely makes sense to me within certain contexts. I can think of some other uses for it as well so it seems to serve multiple functions.

Personally I'd say the tradeoff of preoccupation and weight that we can experience is optional and has to do with a few factors. One is that we tend to place more attention and importance on our thoughts/memories/projections than on life as it's unfolding before us, which I believe is largely a result of conditioning. We can train ourselves to have more and more present moment awareness and to diminish the pull and impact of thoughts.

We also tend to mentally assign significant personal meaning to events that set off strong emotional responses, immediately assessing what we think it says about ourselves or others, how people reacted, how we might be perceived, etc etc. When a memory feels unpleasant/cringey it usually means that we've interpreted the event in a negative light, which is a subjective judgement based on our own values, conditioning and a bunch of other mostly incidental factors.

We don't necessarily have to believe these conclusions. It comes back to egoic identification. If we view these processes and our sense of self differently then the interpretations change. We could come to see these kinds of memories as neutral or even positive which would alter their effects on us. Our interpretations of past events can also be consciously changed, as in therapy. We can pull up memories which are impacting us in ways we don't want and alter the assigned meaning and interpretations of the events. The memory is still there but the context is changed, along with our experience of it.

So basically, it seems to me that the consequences you mentioned are common but can be avoided with shifts in perception/perspective. The images could still be accessed and seen without the same influence on our mental and emotional states. In general though, I'd say what you mentioned is in line with the average experience. I guess whether it's a good tradeoff or not depends on how distracting or distressing we find our remembering.

Anyways, that's what came to mind for me. Thanks for the note, I enjoyed exploring it. If you read this and have any follow-up thoughts you'd like to share then you're very welcome to do so.

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