Memory and Belief:
How often have you reflected on the connection between memory and belief? Probably, not very often; memory and belief appear to be two very different unrelated topics. There is however a deep connection between the two; a connection that can prove to be very crucial in helping us to remember or forget things.
Memory and belief are two parts of the same thing. Memory is the visible part of a belief that is hidden underneath it. We can look at it with an example of a ball. The surface of the ball that is visible on the outside is memory and the inner space that gives a ball its shape and identity is belief.
A ball cannot exist if it is only made up of the outer. The inner emptiness is what gives its true identity. In the same way, our memories are nothing without the supporting belief system. It is our belief systems that give shape, size and structure to our memory. What we remember is simply a result of what we already believe. This might sound a bit difficult to grasp initially but eventually we can see the connection.
Let us take an example. Let us say we decide to take a vacation and travel to some far away unknown place. Let us decide to keep a diary to describe the experiences of this trip. If we all were to come back and read from our individual diaries, obviously we will find totally different interpretation of seemingly same experiences. This might not surprise us much, but it should.
When we have all gone on the same trip, visiting similar places, eating similar food and staying in similar places, what is it that is separating our narrations? What is the differentiating factor of our experiences? The differentiating factor is Belief. We have all had similar memories of the experience, but our underlying belief system has made us to interpret the events differently.
Another very important thing we can notice is that each one of us will be able to recollect certain aspects of the trip better than the other. One of us might remember the food better than the accommodations; the other might remember people and faces better. What we remember is again simply a result of our underlying belief systems.
If just a few days of a trip are subjected to the influence of our beliefs, then how much influence does belief have on the process of learning and preparing for an examination? At the end of a few months or a few years of preparation our mind is only filled with the memory of those things that we have chosen to remember. Rest is simply forgotten.
The implication of this understanding is very deep. If you can pay close attention to your belief systems, you will get a better understanding of how you remember things. By changing a few belief systems you can drastically improve your ability to remember things. A small shift in our core belief systems can bring about a sea change in our memory and in our ability to record, store and recollect information.