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Questions and Answers: Developing Memory by Paramhansa Yogananda

Q & A Topic 1 Inner Culture, April 1939

Question: How can I develop my memory?–M.R.

Answer: The subconscious mind is the memory mind. It keeps experiences locked up, ready to be used again. The subconscious mind is buried beneath the conscious mind, working during sleep. It is constantly memorizing conscious experiences during the state of wakefulness. It is always awake.

The conscious mind is only manifest during wakefulness. The subconscious mind can be trained so that it will correctly memorize and recall at will all conscious experiences. Memory is the recalling power by which we are saved from being children each day and prevented from having to repeat our experiences. Through memory the identity of individual existence is maintained.

In order to perform important duties, recall valuable experiences for daily use. 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 is that faculty of the conscious mind which, through the help of the subconscious mind, can reproduce any past conscious human experience.

Memory Exercises

Every night and morning rub your scalp firmly with the tips of your fingers. Gently strike all over the skull and forehead with the knuckles of the fingers of both hands for two minutes. Watch your diet. Avoid eating much meat or using stimulants. All strong stimulants intoxicate, drug, and deteriorate the intelligence of the brain and memory cells in recording noble ideas and sense-impressions in general. Constantly anesthetized memory cells lose their retentive power and become inert and lazy. Above all, 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.

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. A person without attention is one without the instrument that wakens memory. Absent-mindedness blunts the needle of attention. Every night try 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. Just before going to sleep and upon awakening, 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 on the mind.

With eyes closed, concentrate your vision and will power in between the eyebrows and feel the divine memory of all the past flowing into you.