The Memory Garden

We all have moments when we can’t remember something. A name, a place . . . it’s right there on the tip of our tongue, but momentarily escapes us. The harder we try to bring it to the surface, the more it seems to recede.

A technique I’ve used for years to help me remember involves a pond. I imagine myself standing at the edge of my pond and looking into the water. I know the water holds all of my memories. I ask to remember, trust the Memory Pond will dredge it up, and let go of trying to recall. As long as I completely let go of trying to remember, the forgotten piece comes to me, seemingly out of the blue, moments, hours, or sometimes even days later.

During a recent meditation, I found myself in a beautiful garden. I was surrounded by flowers, plants, and trees. There were places to sit and paths to stroll on. Not really sure why I was there, but accepting it was just another vivid meditation, I blissfully walked through the garden, letting my fingers brush lightly on the plants, flowers, and bushes. Then it struck me. Similar to my Memory Pond, this would make a great Memory Garden.

I like the metaphors the plants provide. Smaller vegetation for minor thoughts and memories and larger plants for more substantial ones. Flowers for happier memories, and thorns for painful ones. Trees to hold family patterns and long-lasting memories. Seeds that represent ideas, which grow over time, and die when they no longer have life force or purpose. Changes in seasons akin to shifts in how and what we remember as time passes. Weeds to remind us we still have work to do to remove invasive thoughts that don’t serve us. The symbology goes on and on.

I’ve used these techniques without much thought about the science behind them. Perhaps it is the relationship between the imagery and what it means to me. Regardless of why, I know it works when I trust it, and it does not when I doubt it.

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