“Remember to remember,” writes novelist Henry Miller. The primary resource for your life stories is YOU, that is, your own recollections of events that took place in your earlier life. However, memory is imperfect. Did you ever notice how different relatives will give distinct versions of what happened at a family event? That’s because our memory is selective.
One way to sharpen your memory is through meditation. If you aren’t in a formal meditation class or don’t know how, here is a guideline:
- Find a quiet place, a time, and a setting in which you can clear your mind and think back on your life. What was it like? What really transpired?
- Focus on one part of your life at a time. Tell yourself, “Today I’m going to think about my school days,” or “my first job” or “my mother’s relationship with me” or “my job at…”
- Visualize, visualize, visualize! The psychiatric profession advises this also in the practice of relaxation therapy. Form a picture in your mind of the way things were. Take a visual trip in your mind through the hallways of your old elementary school. Visualize that trip down the Guadalupe River on that last summer vacation with your dad. Run a movie in your mind, the movie of your life, one scene at a time.
- Form the mental pictures in your mind and watch the movie, rewind if necessary but try not to fast forward through the sad parts.
- Transfer that visual movie into prose. Re-create your life through memory and visualization.