Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Asher K, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 9:54 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/8/22 6:49 PM

Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 3 Join Date: 3/8/22 Recent Posts
After waking up about a year ago my short term memory abruptly declined, and I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed anything similar after enlightenment. I find I have to write things down if I want to remember to do something. At the most extreme, my partner and I might talk about something in the morning and by the evening I don't have any memory of that part of the conversation, even when I'm reminded. Or if I start watching a new season of a show there's large parts of the previous season that I wont remember even after watching a recap. I've never had an especially great memory, but there is definitely something different about my memory now compared to a year ago.

One interesting aspect is that I run my own business and my memory seems as strong as ever when it comes to that. When I'm at work I naturally remember the things I need to remember without much effort. 

There are times when I'm genuinely worried about my memory, but then there are other times when I wonder if it's just how I relate to experiences now- after waking up. It's no longer necessary for me to buy-in to the concept of time when it's not helpful and by extension the same applies to memories. Maybe on some level I just can't be bothered to remember all these things that didn't even happen, whereas when I'm working there is a need for continuity and indulging in the illusion of time so my mind still does that. Like the unshakeable truth that comes with enlightenment has made the relative necessity of remembering things just more than my mind is willing to do.

Honestly I'm straight up on the fence about whether I've got some neurological issue or this is just an interesting side effect of waking up. I went to a doctor last week and he didn't seem especially concerned. I had a concussion a few years ago and he thought maybe it was related to that, but I don't necessarily buy that since it was so long ago and there were no noticeable effects until a year ago- but I think that can be how concussions work. Also I'm in my thirties so I doubt it's dementia.

So... I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience after waking up or maybe just thoughts on the function of memory on an enlightened mind.

I haven't been on this website in at least ten years, but Daniel's book and this community were once very important to me so I thought it might be worth reaching out. Thanks!
George S, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 5:30 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 5:28 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 2467 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
There's lots of evidence that the power of a memory is strongly influenced by its emotional valence, e.g.

The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573739/

With awakening there is less clinging to pleasant experiences and resistance to unpleasant experiences. If anything I feel my emotions more strongly, but they pass through more quickly and don't get "stuck" (repressed/clung to) as much, hence there seems to be less need to form strong memories of recent experience and keep returning to them in memory. However with awakening there also seems to be a tendency for deeply repressed older emotional issues to be released (e.g. childhood traumas), with an accompany re-processing of the memories. So for a while it seems that some older memories can become more powerful, at least until the emotional charge is released and there is less need to keep re-visiting them.
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Chris M, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 6:49 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 6:49 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

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Asher K --

I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience after waking up or maybe just thoughts on the function of memory on an enlightened mind.

I have a similar experience (perceived memory issues) but it seems they're more related to motivation and what appears as truly critical to "me" than anything else. The little things don't seem to register as much now. I'm more focused on immediacy and not as focused on keeping the last several minutes in mind - laying down those short-term memories just isn't happening as much.

This way of living was new when it first happened and that made the differences stand out starkly. Over time, as with any other realization, this has faded and everything seems normal once again.
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Asher K, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 11:22 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 11:22 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

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I certainly notice that when I'm having a nice conversation with someone, or watching some tv, it doesn't feel as significant or impactful as those types of experiences once felt. They are just loose moments that happen and then stop happening. There's no emotional clinging and without an invested emotional response it makes sense in some ways that my mind wouldn't need to remember them.<br /><br />It's life itself that has become the real treat, not the experiences that happen within it. When I no longer hold so tightly to the experiences then my mind is free not to remember them.
Asher K, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 11:26 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 11:26 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

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I can relate to that. It seems like the things that are important (work stuff etc.) just naturally gets logged in the mind, and the rest of the chatter that doesn't require a follow-up just goes away. It's just so interesting to have someone tell me about their day, and I'll be fully interested and absorbed in the conversation, but then a few hours later I might not remember what either one of us said.

And while there does seem to be a natural selection process on what gets turned into a memory, I don't seem to have any control over that process. But I also have never really tried to control it, which I guess is kind of the point. I wouldn't really even know how to get myself to care enough to try to control it.

It's nice to hear that other people have had some version of a perceived memory issue after waking up. Thanks for sharing.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 1:18 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 1:18 PM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 2454 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I also have a selective memory emoticon I always forget when my wife asks me to take out the garbage! emoticon emoticon 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 3:32 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 3:32 PM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 930 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
 I had memory issues when my nervous system was working in such a way that switching of used pathways was achieved by neurons immediately going to sleep after each use. This was good tactics to not experience dukkha when not doing anything important because neurons which go to sleep are less likely to be used again than those which are rested. Not so good if we consider overall needed activity to retain similar level of cognitive/memory performance. A lot of additional activity was needed to keep having adequate memory performance like having more intermediate activity that passed information from part of the brain to other parts of the brain before it was forgotten. It was also possible to exclude parts of the brain from going to sleep so quickly but then I didn't feel so 'enlightened' anymore. What I ended up doing was bringing my mind state to be normal but then 'manually' reset part of brain when needed rather than setting default behavior with fruitions. The idea was to make nervous system start doing it by itself which it did learn to do leading to state which felt pretty much normal but still didn't had dukkha. Some corner cases had issues but that was just a matter of doing it enough everywhere. Not an issue when in case of any sign of possible dukkha all I have to do was to have fruition with me here being automatic action with sense of self being just an echo describing (some times, not even always) what I did without any confusion about what happen. Over time even this became so automatic it became another mind state that had this logic baked in.

Eventually I managed to find better driving methods that achieved not only the same goals when it comes to not having to use neurons too much, even better in that regards actually, and instead of having poor memory it improved considerably over baseline. Rather than having neurons go to sleep and loose content I managed to figure out how to stop main activity but keep neurons active enough for them to respond to mind (consciousness to be specific) and with that to provide all the needed information and not being able to be used to do the things they normally do eg. in case of visual cortex to process information from eyes. What that enabled me to do and how I found this trick was practice with improving eyesight where I would try to re-use as much information from previous moments as possible. I would notice at one time that if I do something specific that consciousness would be filled with more and more information regarding observed phenomena and all this data would be used to construct more detailed representation of this phenomena and neither of these visual consciousnesses would ever be used for processing any data anymore unless they changed state to 'normal'. They could either go back to normal or to rest. For sensual information this caused rather interesting effect that my brain would process everything that was there to be processed and would not need to process anything else because any additional processing would be below threshold for detecting any change. In other words having eg. additional processing pass on visual field would change nothing hence refreshing visual field would drastically reduce in frequency. Any change would be perceived immediately along with awareness of where is in the mind part of the nervous system which detected it.

So it is possible to not have impaired memory.
But given how clingy people are to their 'enlightenment' and 'awakening' I would not hold my breath. Over time nervous system will adapt by increasing activity just like I did. It is inevitable result of observing issues and making topic about it is a good sign you see this as an issue.

BTW. Why the use of word 'awakening'?
Awakening to what?

 
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Not two, not one, modified 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 7:45 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/9/22 7:45 PM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

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I recall Jeffrey Martin writing about this - he claimed to have observed short-term memory loss in people with high attainments.  And what others have said on this thread rings true for me as well - there is something about the lack of clinging that seems to reduce memory encoding.  Although to be fair is pretty difficult to disentangle age-related memory isssues and practice-related memory issues.

Interestingly, while my ability to latch on to fleeting ideas (such as taking out the garbage emoticon) has somewhat evaporated in recent years, I seem to have been able to use intention to find alternative neural access routes. First, I could get the lost short-term memory back in 30 seconds, now it is down to about 15. The brain is pretty plastic, if you want it to be.
Conal, modified 3 Months ago at 3/11/22 4:00 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/11/22 3:57 PM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

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I can't claim to be fully enlightened but I have noticed that my memory behaves differently as I live more in the "now".  It's no longer important to me to be comparing present experiences with past ones, so I'm less inclined to do so.  Memory is very much a function of the mind and as it quietens down so does the need to access memories and compare external conditions with those of the past.  This means that you relate to people in a different way, but I think it is a more genuine way too.  I must say that I prefer the calmness of relative enlightenment to the frenetic mental activity which seems to be the norm in our present society.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 3/12/22 9:59 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/12/22 9:59 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

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Your post resonates with me so much emoticon the stuff about memory. 

In my experience for a while now, this memorising is painfully happening and is being seen but also looking at the see-er of this realisation. It's a swirling mad house over here emoticon 

Anyway thanks for sharing! emoticon 
 Best wishes! 
Conal, modified 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 1:59 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 1:59 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 27 Join Date: 6/3/17 Recent Posts
Thanks Papa,

It's complicated by the fact that most memories are actually delusional!  Take nostalgia, for example.  We remember the good things about a past experience rather than the real experiences.  This means that we run around trying to re-experience something that never really happened in the first place!  Of sourse the real delusion is actually making the distinction between good and bad experiences.  Stuff just happens but we try to categorise it by using these neat little labels without realising that it makes our world into a smaller and more egocentric place.  Thank goodness we have meditation to help us out of this trap!

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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 3:51 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 3:12 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 2454 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Oh emoticon I thought there was absolutely no difference between "past" and "real" experiences emoticon 

Also I'm not talking about "volitional" memorising here. This stuff is arising without "me" doing it. Also the seeing of this mechanism is arising on its own (DO still applies). 

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Edit; sorry was writing this reply in between a diaper change and putting my baby to sleep! 

I would add that "real delusion" is also a momentary experience (3c's apply). None of This is more or less real or more or less better (we agree here). Thinking-feeling arising such as "this labelling is real delusion" is also but a momentary experience (3 c's apply). 
There is nothing Here worth or not worth of experiencing. Stuff just pops like hot pop corn! emoticon 

And yes totally agree, this meditative technology sure is a great tool! 

​​​​​​​(being on the phone while rocking the baby to sleep ...) emoticon 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 5:34 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 5:34 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

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Nostalgia can be used to re-claim parts of nervous system which we used in the past and not so much since then. It might often feel these memories are exaggerated and could not possibly felt back then that way... yeah, they often felt that way! Often even more so than we remember. When we get older our activity moves to where everything doesn't have such emotional impact. This why it is good to reclaim some of the past parts of brain and give out current experience some of the charm it once had. In order however to do it we must be ready to loose the memory as it is. Not try to remove it but just ignore memory and just use parts of brain which gets active during experience of nostalgia within current mind.

Of sourse the real delusion is actually making the distinction between good and bad experiences.  Stuff just happens but we try to categorise it by using these neat little labels without realising that it makes our world into a smaller and more egocentric place.

Yes, using pre-frontal cortex on memories is usually wrong. It only serves becoming more neurotic.

Thank goodness we have meditation to help us out of this trap!

People often use meditation for rejecting parts of themselves until none of the past can hurt them.
Meditation is powerful tool. How you use this tool however is up to you. 
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Chris M, modified 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 1:07 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 10:29 AM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 4428 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
It's complicated by the fact that most memories are actually delusional! 

​​​​​​​To be truly accurate, real-time experiences are delusional, right? They're created by the mind from snippets of sensory input cobbled together using past experiences (faulty memories) and projections based on similar inputs, and they lag whatever is going on by some amount of time. So how could memories ever be anything BUT delusional?

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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 12:37 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 12:37 PM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 2454 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
What tells you they lag in time? Delusional memory maybe? emoticon In that case we can't believe DO really is DO as it's based on delusional memory! emoticon emoticon 
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Chris M, modified 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 1:22 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/13/22 1:05 PM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 4428 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
What tells you they lag in time? 

Observation. Logic. Think about it - how could our system possibly show us what's happening at the exact moment it happens? It seems to happen for us simultaneously, but that's not what's going on.

​​​​​​​Science supports this, by the way:

https://neuroscience.stanford.edu/news/reality-constructed-your-brain-here-s-what-means-and-why-it-matters 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago at 3/15/22 5:48 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/15/22 5:48 PM

RE: Enlightenment and Poor Memory

Posts: 930 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
How can memory be "delusional"?
Person can be delusional that eg. their memory is perfect representation of past experiences.

But even then such belief might be due to lack of proper evidence to the contrary and in this case it is not a delusion.

WikipediaA delusion is a false fixed belief that is not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence.[1] As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulationdogmaillusionhallucination, or some other misleading effects of perception, as individuals with those beliefs are able to change or readjust their beliefs upon reviewing the evidence. However:"The distinction between a delusion and a strongly held idea is sometimes difficult to make and depends in part on the degree of conviction with which the belief is held despite clear or reasonable contradictory evidence regarding its veracity."[1]

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