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Jann Burner

Reprogramming the elder mind

September 1, 2007 | Comment icon 0 comments


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The key is being able to access memory in detail. As we age our bodies may fail us, our personal economics may falter, our short term memory may become "quirky", but usually, as we age, our long term memory becomes increasingly clear. My mother, in her late 70s, couldn't recall my personal phone number but she could recall in detail, what she had for dinner on a certain Friday night in June of 1939. The brain/mind matrix is a muscle which should be exercised. Like a good dog it should be taken out daily for a long walk. But how does one do this? The solution is very simple and it is available to absolutely every person, regardless of physical health or financial status.

The concept is to develop a mnemonic device within the person's imagination. One must re-learn how to drive the vehicle we call the human brain and we must learn to navigate within the infinitude of mind. No longer are we constrained by position or birth or economic status. We must do no less than establish our own grid of global positioning satellites, a metaphorical array which will allow us to find our position anywhere within the sphere of personal memory. For make no mistake, the later years are the prime ground for reviewing all that has transpired over the course of our life. The goal is to really see what has happened. What was it all about and what are the lessons that should have been learned. The goal is to recall and enjoy the experiences and learn from the mistakes. Usually, during the course of life’s experiences we are too busy within the moment to really appreciate the richness of the individual events. In the end what we are doing by recalling the myriad memories within our life, is growing a Soul and all of life’s fecund material comprise the nutrients necessary for this task.

Here is a basic exercise which will assist you in recalling significant periods within your life. Sit down with paper and pencil, get very quiet within your mind and slowly began to recall the "forks" in the path which constitutes your life's journey. The point is not to note mistakes or errors in judgement,. You are not trying to place blame and play the "Could of", "Should of" game, but to merely note where the intersections are. Think of the forks in the path of your life like gas stops on a long auto journey. The energy surrounding these forks are like refueling stations. Once you have a list of twenty or fifty or a hundred forks, it will be much easier to step out and away into the shower of experiential memory.

Now what is mnemonic device? Simply put a mnemonic device is a picture you create within your mind to which you assign a memory. For example, you have a problem remembering names. You meet a person named Katz, so, in your mind you think of a cat and whenever you meet this person again his name comes to mind because you have assigned the picture of a cat to him. Now to recall an entire life, something a little more extravagant will be necessary.

Imagine a large palace with grounds and garden paths. Imagine this in extreme detail for within your mind it will remain forever constant and will never change. This palace or mansion which you will create will be truly large and will contain many rooms.

You will assign a category of memory to each section. The garden, the entry way, the library, living room and on and on and within each of these locations will be specific items or artifacts. In the gardens will be specific flowers, bushes, hedges and trees. Within the rooms within the house will be pieces of furniture, collectibles, artifacts and paintings and each of these items will be extremely detailed and very specific. These are not "generalized" items. These items are not generic. These are so real you can reach out and touch them. Pick them up in your hands and examine them. Think of this as a truly advanced Web Site, perhaps a Web Zone.

Now the purpose of this Memory Palace is to serve as a vast mnemonic museum. Each section of the garden, each room within the house and each separate artifact within a specific room will serve to trigger specific memories within your mind. The garden area may symbolize your childhood. The ground floor in the house may symbolize your working years and the upstairs may stand for your personal time away from work. Within these specific zones are memories which you currently have, but with life's myriad distractions, you are not liable to have access to them. It is like having a computer with a very large hard drive, but no way to categorize and organize all the data. This Memory Palace will be a form of "Windows" for your Mind.

This is not a new concept. It is, in fact, very ancient. Once upon a time in the ancient days, long before writing, (before the first scientist) when man lived in the moment and thrived upon the still warm memories of real Gods and Goddesses, the story tellers of old had a problem. Their stories became interwoven and entangled and elongated over time until a good tale was as complicated as modern brain surgery and yet there were no written words to memorize, no script to refer back to. No storyboard. How to keep it all straight?

The early story teller would create an architectural wonder within his mind. He would build a palace and grounds within his imagination. And this palace and its attendant gardens would be very specific, very detailed and very predictable. Each flower and arrangement of trees and bushes and each entrance and hallway and sleeping room and dining room and banquet room and storage room would be very specific, furnished with very specific pieces in a very precise order. In his mind this would be a place he could return to time and again and feel secure that it would always be the same. Flowers never wilted and paint never faded in the mind of the story teller. This would be a universe of mnemonic devices, encoded with all the cues necessary for the telling of his long tale. This was the original Memory Palace.

This was Natures first Random Access Memory, complete with an icon shell with which to connect the myriad lines of bio-computer code. Simply point with the imagination and click with willful intent. No mouse necessary. Thus armed, the ancient story teller could hold his audience spellbound for hours on end telling a perfectly wonderful and magical story and then, a month later, in another town, tell it again, exactly the same.

We are all story tellers and often the story we tell is for our own edification. But tell it we must, if only to our self for, in the final analysis we are God's Memory Palace. We are an interactive holographic construct of dynamic memory being visualized by a higher form of consciousness.

We choose a forgetting when we choose to incarnate in this Earth Frame. We forget who we really are and where we originate from. We choose, often, a second forgetting, when we forget that there is even such a thing as "Spirit". But now we have reached the age where it is appropriate to awaken once again. To literally wake up within this dream we call our "Life". Until we "wake up" we are stumbling around like sleep walkers, bumping into one another, incurring pain and creating drama. But once we begin to remember, then we start falling into synchronicity and then flow. As we begin to wake up we discover that it is a pathway and a trail. We are not lost, we have not been abandoned. We are not lost at sea on a tiny raft awaiting rescue or death. We are cruisers. We have a point of origination and we have a final destination and we are on a Path. We are not a chance assemblage of molecules. We are holographic God sparks.

Now, one might say, this is very interesting, but who has the time to even consider such options. I would offer that a significant portion of our society has not only the time, but the need for just such an option. And this group is called, the elderly, the retired or even that part of the population confined to prisons, nursing homes and other institutions.

The percentage of our population which fits into this category is large and growing ever larger. In our culture great emphasis is put upon acting out, doing, working, moving, manifesting mental activity in an exterior manner. So when someone is retired, fired, put in prison or in some other way banished from our "Just Do it!" culture, they are literally abandoned to their own devices as surely as if they had been put on a deserted island with minimal food and perhaps TV.

The thing we, as a culture overlook, and we as individuals often overlook as well, is the purpose behind why we are here, in the first place. That essential purpose is so that we may gain "EXPERIENCE". Now experience in its essential nature is neither good nor bad. It just is…"experience". And the thing that holds experience together within the mind is…"Memory". Each of us, no matter how high or low our earthly sojourn, has lived a life filled to the absolute brim with experience. Makes absolutely no difference how our experience is valued or devalued by our culture or our time, it is utterly ours and it is VAST and it is personal, and it is all part of God’s memory palace.

It could be said that if you have lived 60 years you haven't merely had 60 years worth of experience, you have at least 60 years squared because aside from your day to day, minute to minute reality, you have "feelings" and "thoughts" and "reflections" about those experiences, prior to their happening, as they happen and in retrospect, after the experience has passed. One could go even further and say that each moment of earthly experience is like a mini-Big Bang! An ever reaching explosion of possibility and probability radiating out from a single focused Nano second of personal experience. But unfortunately, though our cybernetic hard drive has truly vast storage potential, we do not have an easily accessible data retrieval program. The Memory Palace is an ancient tool which will serve as a new form of software for the human heart…and the human mind.

In Part Two I will share some ideas and practices which may ease the transition into your personal Memory Palace…[!gad]The key is being able to access memory in detail. As we age our bodies may fail us, our personal economics may falter, our short term memory may become "quirky", but usually, as we age, our long term memory becomes increasingly clear. My mother, in her late 70s, couldn't recall my personal phone number but she could recall in detail, what she had for dinner on a certain Friday night in June of 1939. The brain/mind matrix is a muscle which should be exercised. Like a good dog it should be taken out daily for a long walk. But how does one do this? The solution is very simple and it is available to absolutely every person, regardless of physical health or financial status.

The concept is to develop a mnemonic device within the person's imagination. One must re-learn how to drive the vehicle we call the human brain and we must learn to navigate within the infinitude of mind. No longer are we constrained by position or birth or economic status. We must do no less than establish our own grid of global positioning satellites, a metaphorical array which will allow us to find our position anywhere within the sphere of personal memory. For make no mistake, the later years are the prime ground for reviewing all that has transpired over the course of our life. The goal is to really see what has happened. What was it all about and what are the lessons that should have been learned. The goal is to recall and enjoy the experiences and learn from the mistakes. Usually, during the course of life’s experiences we are too busy within the moment to really appreciate the richness of the individual events. In the end what we are doing by recalling the myriad memories within our life, is growing a Soul and all of life’s fecund material comprise the nutrients necessary for this task.

Here is a basic exercise which will assist you in recalling significant periods within your life. Sit down with paper and pencil, get very quiet within your mind and slowly began to recall the "forks" in the path which constitutes your life's journey. The point is not to note mistakes or errors in judgement,. You are not trying to place blame and play the "Could of", "Should of" game, but to merely note where the intersections are. Think of the forks in the path of your life like gas stops on a long auto journey. The energy surrounding these forks are like refueling stations. Once you have a list of twenty or fifty or a hundred forks, it will be much easier to step out and away into the shower of experiential memory.

Now what is mnemonic device? Simply put a mnemonic device is a picture you create within your mind to which you assign a memory. For example, you have a problem remembering names. You meet a person named Katz, so, in your mind you think of a cat and whenever you meet this person again his name comes to mind because you have assigned the picture of a cat to him. Now to recall an entire life, something a little more extravagant will be necessary.

Imagine a large palace with grounds and garden paths. Imagine this in extreme detail for within your mind it will remain forever constant and will never change. This palace or mansion which you will create will be truly large and will contain many rooms.

You will assign a category of memory to each section. The garden, the entry way, the library, living room and on and on and within each of these locations will be specific items or artifacts. In the gardens will be specific flowers, bushes, hedges and trees. Within the rooms within the house will be pieces of furniture, collectibles, artifacts and paintings and each of these items will be extremely detailed and very specific. These are not "generalized" items. These items are not generic. These are so real you can reach out and touch them. Pick them up in your hands and examine them. Think of this as a truly advanced Web Site, perhaps a Web Zone.

Now the purpose of this Memory Palace is to serve as a vast mnemonic museum. Each section of the garden, each room within the house and each separate artifact within a specific room will serve to trigger specific memories within your mind. The garden area may symbolize your childhood. The ground floor in the house may symbolize your working years and the upstairs may stand for your personal time away from work. Within these specific zones are memories which you currently have, but with life's myriad distractions, you are not liable to have access to them. It is like having a computer with a very large hard drive, but no way to categorize and organize all the data. This Memory Palace will be a form of "Windows" for your Mind.

This is not a new concept. It is, in fact, very ancient. Once upon a time in the ancient days, long before writing, (before the first scientist) when man lived in the moment and thrived upon the still warm memories of real Gods and Goddesses, the story tellers of old had a problem. Their stories became interwoven and entangled and elongated over time until a good tale was as complicated as modern brain surgery and yet there were no written words to memorize, no script to refer back to. No storyboard. How to keep it all straight?

The early story teller would create an architectural wonder within his mind. He would build a palace and grounds within his imagination. And this palace and its attendant gardens would be very specific, very detailed and very predictable. Each flower and arrangement of trees and bushes and each entrance and hallway and sleeping room and dining room and banquet room and storage room would be very specific, furnished with very specific pieces in a very precise order. In his mind this would be a place he could return to time and again and feel secure that it would always be the same. Flowers never wilted and paint never faded in the mind of the story teller. This would be a universe of mnemonic devices, encoded with all the cues necessary for the telling of his long tale. This was the original Memory Palace.

This was Natures first Random Access Memory, complete with an icon shell with which to connect the myriad lines of bio-computer code. Simply point with the imagination and click with willful intent. No mouse necessary. Thus armed, the ancient story teller could hold his audience spellbound for hours on end telling a perfectly wonderful and magical story and then, a month later, in another town, tell it again, exactly the same.

We are all story tellers and often the story we tell is for our own edification. But tell it we must, if only to our self for, in the final analysis we are God's Memory Palace. We are an interactive holographic construct of dynamic memory being visualized by a higher form of consciousness.

We choose a forgetting when we choose to incarnate in this Earth Frame. We forget who we really are and where we originate from. We choose, often, a second forgetting, when we forget that there is even such a thing as "Spirit". But now we have reached the age where it is appropriate to awaken once again. To literally wake up within this dream we call our "Life". Until we "wake up" we are stumbling around like sleep walkers, bumping into one another, incurring pain and creating drama. But once we begin to remember, then we start falling into synchronicity and then flow. As we begin to wake up we discover that it is a pathway and a trail. We are not lost, we have not been abandoned. We are not lost at sea on a tiny raft awaiting rescue or death. We are cruisers. We have a point of origination and we have a final destination and we are on a Path. We are not a chance assemblage of molecules. We are holographic God sparks.

Now, one might say, this is very interesting, but who has the time to even consider such options. I would offer that a significant portion of our society has not only the time, but the need for just such an option. And this group is called, the elderly, the retired or even that part of the population confined to prisons, nursing homes and other institutions.

The percentage of our population which fits into this category is large and growing ever larger. In our culture great emphasis is put upon acting out, doing, working, moving, manifesting mental activity in an exterior manner. So when someone is retired, fired, put in prison or in some other way banished from our "Just Do it!" culture, they are literally abandoned to their own devices as surely as if they had been put on a deserted island with minimal food and perhaps TV.

The thing we, as a culture overlook, and we as individuals often overlook as well, is the purpose behind why we are here, in the first place. That essential purpose is so that we may gain "EXPERIENCE". Now experience in its essential nature is neither good nor bad. It just is…"experience". And the thing that holds experience together within the mind is…"Memory". Each of us, no matter how high or low our earthly sojourn, has lived a life filled to the absolute brim with experience. Makes absolutely no difference how our experience is valued or devalued by our culture or our time, it is utterly ours and it is VAST and it is personal, and it is all part of God’s memory palace.

It could be said that if you have lived 60 years you haven't merely had 60 years worth of experience, you have at least 60 years squared because aside from your day to day, minute to minute reality, you have "feelings" and "thoughts" and "reflections" about those experiences, prior to their happening, as they happen and in retrospect, after the experience has passed. One could go even further and say that each moment of earthly experience is like a mini-Big Bang! An ever reaching explosion of possibility and probability radiating out from a single focused Nano second of personal experience. But unfortunately, though our cybernetic hard drive has truly vast storage potential, we do not have an easily accessible data retrieval program. The Memory Palace is an ancient tool which will serve as a new form of software for the human heart…and the human mind.

In Part Two I will share some ideas and practices which may ease the transition into your personal Memory Palace…



If you enjoy Jann Burner's columns, check out his new book on Amazon - "The Claire Letters" - a spiritual love story between a San Francisco taxi driver and an elderly retired teacher from Texas. Very inspirational.

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