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Questions and Answers: Improving Memory by Paramhansa Yogananda

Q & A topic 2 Inner Culture, October 1939

Improve the Memory

Question: Please tell me how to improve my memory.–T.D.

Answer: The subconscious mind is the memory mind. It keeps experiences locked up, ready to be used again upon instant notice. Experiences from the conscious mind enter the subway of consciousness, remain locked up there, only to come out again through another opening into the conscious mind. The subconscious mind is always awake, working the involuntary organs during sleep and memorizing conscious experiences during the state of wakefulness.

All the experiences that you have are reproduced by your mental subconscious faculty so that you may be able to profit by some of them and discard the rest. Memory has different grades in different people, according to brain capacity. In order to develop your memory, you need education, concentration, meditation, and experience. Through memory the identity of individual existence is maintained.

Memory Imitates

In order to perform important duties, recall valuable experiences for daily use, and in order to write, think, and feel, one must be able to work in the precious material recalled to the conscious mind by the power of memory.

Memory imitates. It does not discriminate. It takes in anything you present to it. In your consciousness there are all kinds of records, both good and bad. You must destroy all records that revive memories of unhappiness and evil deeds. By remembering a thing you live it over again. Cultivate forgetfulness sometimes.

One way to develop your memory is to pay strict attention to the thing that you want to remember. Deep attention is a strong force that develops memory. You must link one idea with another. Connect certain things with certain other things. Everything has some point of contact with or similarity to everything else in the universe.

Attention is the needle that cuts the grooves in the record of memory cells. This is why you remember your deep joys and your deep sorrows.

During the period preceding sleep at night and the state following sleep at dawn, command your subconscious mind to be attentive to all life’s activities and to retain all valuable experiences. The greater the preservation of vital essence in the body, by sex discipline, the greater will be the power of your memory, intelligence, and spiritual perception.

The art of visualization is very important in developing memory. A good method of practice is to look steadily at a certain object, or at some scenery, or in a store window, then turn away quickly and see how many of the details you can enumerate. The deeper your impressions, the more details you will be able to remember. This is splendid practice for developing memory of important details.

If you limit your memory, you limit your life. Memory is comprehensive and elastic, and can record many things if you develop it. If you love all good things and remember all good things, you will at last remember God, the Essence of all good things. Then you will see and remember that you are one with God.