HOW MEMORY WORKS

If we could only understand how our memory works, we could access deep memories, even those before birth.  The study of Zookinesis and Tai-chi explains the mechanics of memory and teaches us how to access these deep memories.  Natural memory, or what is called, “sacred memory” is the biological way memories are stored.  It is the memory of feeling states, which includes how your body feels, skills you have acquired, and how your interaction with the world around you, changes your internal state. 

This type of memory is not related to time but to maintaining an optimal internal state of health, and an optimal connection to your natural environment.  You do not lay down memories in a time-line.  Rather, this type of memory is cyclic, sometimes moving away from optimal condition and sometimes returning to it. 

At a certain point in life, you learn about time and your life begins to revolve around time.  You are taught to lay down memories using time as a reference.  Time, rather than health, is the reference point of a memory.  You dissociate yourself from inner feeling and the feeling of health so that you can become part of the “time culture” we have invented.  Your behavior no longer binds you to health but to time. 

Furthermore the type of time we use as the basis of our culture is separated from the vagaries of nature.  Rather than judging time by the flowering of a certain type of plant or the appearance of a certain insect, we use clock time to eliminate any variations.  This allows the world around us to appear mechanistic and our lives to become mechanistic. 

Taoist teaching teaches us to experience every moment of our lives with our whole selves.  Even when a thought comes to us, we not only experience that thought as words, but as internal feelings.  Thoughts become complexes of feelings and associations with a short label of words.  The words are not the thoughts.  The feelings and experiences are the thoughts. 

In this way every aspect of life stirs the body, stirs the emotions, and stirs our connection to nature.  Life is more vivid, intense and beautiful.  It is much easier to access the earliest memories because those complexes of feelings are still present.

When we learn a Tai-chi form, for example, we are concentrating on the feeling of our body’s alignment at each moment.  The teacher adjusts our body so that we can feel proper alignment in that pose and feel how energy flows so much more freely when we are aligned. 

We concentrate on how each muscle must become alive and have an eagerness to move.  At first, the eagerness of the muscle is to remain tight.  We learn how to convince the muscle to relax.  When the muscle feels the joy of relaxation and its increased competence, it becomes eager to relax and move.  We remember the process of developing eagerness in that muscle and apply the same process to other muscles.  In this way, memory can be transferred from one muscle to the other. 

Each muscle “remembers” how it can interact with other muscles to create the proper flow of movement for the Tai-chi form or Zookinesis exercise.  The memories of each muscle interact with the memories of the others, as if they were people sitting around talking about “the old times”. 

Those memories of interaction then interact with your creativity so that the muscles can play with their relationships with each other.  Using the memory of how they learned to cooperate with each other as a basis, the muscles are also affected by your memory of an eagle flying, or perhaps, a tiger pouncing.  The muscles blend their memories of cooperation with the other muscles with the memory of the eagle flying and create a composite.  This is how animal forms are developed.  Each is based on proper body mechanics for a human yet influenced by the movements of an animal.

This is an example of how we re-ignite the internal dynamics of memory that were the norm before we learned about clock time.  We learn to operate with both modes of memory and not sacrifice “sacred memory” for “clock memory”.  Sacred memory allows you to live in eternity within each second of clock time.  You have access to the memory of your whole body and spirit, and their connection to all of nature.  Yet you can still show up to an appointment “on time”.

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