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The Art of Developing Memory Part II by Paramhansa Yogananda

Praecepta Volume 2 Praeceptum #49

The Psychological Method

Use memory only to recall noble experiences, which will come to you at your beck and call as angels of your protection and inspiration. To use memory to recall evil experiences is to fill the temple of your thought with torturing mental demons. What evil you did in the past, don’t bring it back to your present consciousness and sow it afresh there. What is past belongs to your dead ignorant Self and thus does not belong to you. Only good doings and their effects of the past and present are your richest treasures, which you love to retain.

Thus see no evil, hear no evil, smell, taste, or touch, think, see, and will no evil, so that you may not remember it and desecrate the Temple of Heaven within you. If you now experience only good, then you will find yourself surrounded by angelic thoughts, and when the mansion of your Soul contains no evil, then the essence of all goodness, God, will visit you within.

Experiencing all good things now, thinking, feeling, and willing good now, you will begin to recall all the forgotten goodness hidden in your subconscious and superconscious minds. By recalling all goodness, you will recall the greatest of all goodness, God, who had been within you so long screened off behind your mortal forgetfulness.

Perform every action, insignificant or important, with quick alert attention. Remember, attention is the needle that cuts the grooves in the record of memory cells. That is why you remember your deep joys and deep sorrows. Hence, any excitement of feeling helps memory. A man without attention is one without the instrument that wakes memory. Absent-mindedness blunts the needle of attention.

Every day try to memorize some poem and to reproduce it in writing after a week or fortnight, in your leisure moments. Poems from “Songs of the Soul” or any other devotional poems are most suitable. If you repeatedly read the very touching poems of others (after your heart) and saturate them with deep attention and feeling, you will easily be able to repeat them. If you can’t remember, write some poetry and you will easily reproduce your own poems, whereas you may not be able to remember poetry written by somebody else.

Try every night to remember in detail all that happened during the past week. Do the same at the end of each month and year; try to remember in detail all the principal events of the month or year in connection with yourself, your city, your country, and the world. By calmness you can understand the thoughts of the world. Remember the good things that are happening.

Be regular in all your activities – sleep, work, eating, service to others, and so on.

During the periods of somnolence preceding sleep and the hypnogogic state following it at dawn, command your subconscious mind to be attentive to all life’s activities, and to retain all valuable experiences. These two important periods are the best for impressing affirmations upon the mind. Every experience has a mental record in your mind produced by the needle of attention or deep feeling. But remember, your brain has many shelves filled with all kinds of mixed mental records. Some are good. Some are very bad.

With closed eyes, concentrate your vision and will in between the eyebrows, and feel the Divine Memory of all Past flowing into you. Pulverize all mental records of accidents, fears, past physical and mental troubles of operations, bereavements, quarrels, depressed experiences, past sinful habits, and thoughts of unkindness of others, or administered hurt by others.

The Physical Method

Give massage to the medulla, just below the skull on the back of the head, for five minutes, before sleeping and on waking at dawn.

Insert your fingers of both hands through your hair, rotate the scalp, and move it backward and forward and to the left and the right. Gently strike all over the skull and forehead with the knuckles of the fingers of both hands for two minutes, concentrating upon each hit made by them. With eyes closed, imagine each blow to awaken the sleeping brain cells and stimulate the convolutions of the cerebrum.

Whenever you feel your memory dull, massage your head thoroughly with your fingers, then comb your hair. Rub a small piece of ice on top of the head, on the temples, eyes, ear openings, traguses of both ears, over the openings of the mouth, nostrils, genitals, rectal muscles, navel, and back of the head. Also rub ice on hands and feet. Do this if you have a normal constitution, otherwise just use cold water instead of ice and clothe yourself warmly after doing the above exercise.

Citrus fruit juices with ground almonds and honey in the morning are good for the brain and memory.

Forsake eating all forms of pig meat – bacon, ham, sausage, pork, also veal or beef, which contain uric acid and other ureic poisons. I mention all the different forms of pig meat because formerly when I told people not to eat ham, they ate bacon. When I told them not to eat either, they ate sausage. When I told them to stop this too, they ate pork and now I tell them not to eat warm, “perspiring puppies.”

When I first came to America and went to a sea beach, I saw the hot-dog stands with hot-dog sign boards. I trembled as a mental panorama of chow dogs, delicate Pekinese, fierce bulldogs, the faithful St. Bernards, the yowling mongrels, and the thin race hounds, and all sorts of dogs, passed through the meat chopper into boiling pans and by machinery became converted into hot dogs. Imagine my relief, when I found that Americans did not eat perspiring puppies, steamed canines, and broiled bulldogs.

Avoid the regular use of all mild stimulants like coffee, tea, tobacco, which contain caffeine, thein, and nicotine. Strictly avoid using strong stimulants like liquor. All strong stimulants intoxicate, drug, and deteriorate the intelligence of the brain and memory cells from recording noble ideas and sense-impressions in general. Constantly anesthetized memory cells lose their retentive power, and become inert and lazy. Intoxication obliterates the functions of the conscious mind by harmful chemicals, hence injures the brain, the memory organ. Affected brain produces impaired memory.

Isaac Newton was a celibate with a tremendous memory. The vital essence is full of microscopic brains. Moderation in married life and transmuting the vital force into muscular and brain energy positively develop the strength of the brain. With the increased strength of the brain, the power of the memory increases.

Above all whether married or unmarried, never allow your Soul’s reason to be overruled by your creative animal impulse. Remember that the greater the preservation of vital essence in the body, by sex discipline and by normal use in married life, the greater will be the power of your memory, intelligence, and Spiritual perception.