Memory Failing, Anyone?

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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 9 Years ago.

Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Something over a year or so ago when Jeffrey Martin came out and interviewed me, he mentioned near the end that his primary fear of doing this stuff was memory related, as some proportion of the 15 or so people he though had really achieved something profound in their practice who he sort of though of as the most enlightened people he had met had reported memory problems.

I had no idea what he meant, as meditation practice had never effected my memory that I could perceive.

Shift forward to about 2 months ago, and suddenly his words, nearly forgotten, came back to me, and I began to wonder: hey, wait, I seem to be forgetting all sorts of stuff. Nothing terribly important, and at work I still remember all sorts of medical trivia and useful stuff like that and it hasn't effected anything at work or my long-term memory that I can tell, but lots of other things, stuff not essential, seems to be passing through this mind like water through a sieve and my wife has begun to comment that I don't seem to remember jack about little day to day things and I reluctantly have to agree that something is happening.

Now, don't get me wrong: I am not claiming anything like being in Jeffrey's own club of his elite of the elite of the meditation world in his particular eyes and by his standards, whatever those are, not anything like that at all.

Anyway, last night I was digging around on the internet and found this:

Enlightenment and Memory Loss on YouTube

And I just wondered if I was alone in this, or perhaps have Mad Cow or early Alzheimer's or something like that, or perhaps just don't give a darn and am just realizing that now, or just getting older, or could be some subtle subconscious scripting based on what he said then, or what? Anyway, I reluctantly must admit that the effect is probably real, though I haven't noticed any major negative consequences, just a few Skype calls I forgot to show up for, that sort of thing...

Anyone else?

Daniel
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Something over a year or so ago when Jeffrey Martin came out and interviewed me, he mentioned near the end that his primary fear of doing this stuff was memory related, as some proportion of the 15 or so people he though had really achieved something profound in their practice who he sort of though of as the most enlightened people he had met had reported memory problems.

I had no idea what he meant, as meditation practice had never effected my memory that I could perceive.

Shift forward to about 2 months ago, and suddenly his words, nearly forgotten, came back to me, and I began to wonder: hey, wait, I seem to be forgetting all sorts of stuff. Nothing terribly important, and at work I still remember all sort of medical trivia and useful stuff like that, but lots of other things, stuff not essential, seems to be passing through this mind like water through a sieve and my wife has begun to comment that I don't seem to remember jack about little day to day things and I reluctantly have to agree that something is happening.

Now, don't get me wrong: I am not claiming anything like being in Jeffrey's own club of his elite of the elite of the meditation world in his particular eyes and by his standards, whatever those are, not anything like that at all.

Anyway, last night I was digging around on the internet and found this:

Enlightenment and Memory Loss on YouTube

And I just wondered if I was alone in this, or perhaps have Mad Cow or early Alzheimer's or something like that, or perhaps just don't give a darn and am just realizing that now, or just getting older, or what? Anyway, I reluctantly must admit that the effect is probably real, though I haven't noticed any major negative consequences, just a few Skype calls I forgot to show up for, that sort of thing...

Anyone else?

Daniel


When having a conversation with someone I will be explaining some concept or experience etc and suddenly the thoughts will vanish, and the mind will be completely absent of any movement as well as the memory of what I was talking about. And I will have to suddenly tell the person i was talking to that I've just lost my train of thought and what was I saying. This happens not often but usually when speaking about Dharma related stuff. When I ask what I was talking about, and I am reminded, the memory and flow of ideas will quickly get triggered again and it was like I hadn't forgotten anything. It isn't a problem but is interesting to experience. The mind will just suddenly empty of all thought and ideas and memory of what I was talking about seconds before. I experience this quite differently these days to say post 4th where I experienced similar occurrences but when I was really in High E and 'spacing out'. There is a good example of that happening in a Hamilton Project podcast. But these days there is no sense of 'spacing out', just the mind suddenly empty of all mental movements.

I don't have problems elsewhere with memory. My mobile phone keeps me on time even though I don't feel it flowing.

Nick
Aman A., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
My memory seems to be failing as well. Don't know for sure why it is happening. If I hazard a guess then it seems that what I used to consider as essential is not seen as essential these days and hence it is not getting stored properly. Although I have noticed some improvement lately.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 295 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
This is really interesting. Be sure to check out the comments on that YouTube video.

I'm pretty sure I know this phenomena. There's a magnetism, a bickering, calling me into 'the Now'. 'The Now' is seducing me. When one is submerged in the present, the past and future vanish. Why do I want to stay in the present/Now? Because it's so damn nice. It has been seen to some degree that dwelling on/in the past and speculating about the future, these are things that cause suffering. And when one stays present, this suffering vanishes. It feels nice, freeing, to let go, to not worry, to be taken by the flow of life.

But I think this is a maladaptation. As much as 'the Now' sets one free, as a householder one must stay grounded in the world of suffering, the relative world, samsara. A householder can gain immense relief of suffering, and to the degree that he/she can juggle the absolute and the relative, he/she will be so much better off. But a true, world-shattering awakening causes an 'unhealthy' de-conditioning in our current western society.

Is it all about 'integration'? What does 'integration' mean? How do you shoehorn the absolute into the relative?

Maybe we aren't ready yet to enlighten/awaken en masse. Imagine that one day everyone wakes up to a world-shattering awakening. Imagine it... What would happen? I think society as we know it today would come to a stop. And maybe from the ashes of our current society a new kind of society would emerge - or maybe not. Maybe that would be the end of our race (read: double meaning). And this is because true, soaked through-and-through awakening is inherently incompatible with the society that we find ourselves in today.

How did Ramana Maharshi live?

*

Or maybe I'm just rambling; that has happened before!


EDIT:

Adding that this was a very general treatment of 'awakening/enlightenment', maybe so much so that it is uselessly inaccurate. By my count, there are many separate things that people call awakening and enlightenment, some of which are more or less optional.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
I notice that my memory gets better and worse in cycles (a long-standing phenomenon), and right now I'm in one of the trough periods, but this particular trough is much better and clearer than past ones...so, I would say that, overall, my memory is pretty good, not worse than in the last couple of years.

Certain features of my memory aren't so great, but that's also been a long-standing phenomenon, so nothing special going on with them that I can see.
m m a, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 153 Join Date: 6/9/11 Recent Posts
I can identify 100% with poor memory being correlated with awakening. I never had a good memory, and since starting the path I have paid less and less attention to memories to the point where I no longer seem to experience and save them at the same magnitude as the people around me. Sometimes I am gawked at as I forget something as significant as my first girlfriend, or an awesome concert, or a next door neighbor and struggle to piece it pack together.

There is also a well documented phenomena - forgetting is correlated with happiness.

A working hypothesis is that when living in the contented in the present moment, your brain does not transfer memories into long term storage, as that mechanism is more likely to trigger when you are discontent so as to enforce a certain kind of behavior in the future.

Additionally, your current state depends heavily on the content of your memories: good memories mean happy disposition, poor memories mean unhappy disposition.

It makes sense to me that we spend all this time on the cushion NOT making new memories, simply observing, and our brain gets out of the habit of making memories, and thus we dont have all this baggage affecting our present; we can be 'free'.

This is a topic that, once broached to me years ago, INSTANTLY made sense on an anecdotal level, and I'm incredibly interested in.

My short-term memory is fine. My long-term memory is incredibly spotty, and I think in a way, it is one of my greatest strengths.

I'm having trouble finding the actual study I'm thinking of, but here's a few relevant articles.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2005/10/living_memento.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110502151431.htm
http://www.wwwireframe.com/socializer/life-changer/forgetting-can-improve-your-mental-and-emotional-health.html



I honestly believe that these phenomena is at the heart of why buddhism is so powerful.
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D Z, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
Has face validity. Emotions are tied to memory formation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotion_and_memory
Null Velle, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 17 Join Date: 1/15/12 Recent Posts
Hi,

The odds are good that your memory is capable of functioning well and your memories are still normally accessible. It could be that you are not remembering things you no longer find important, but which you use to, or which others (like your wife) find important, and that might make it seem like there could be an issue there. Regardless, chances are you will remember everything that needs to be remembered, when it needs to be remembered (as you have alluded to in your post).

It could also be that you are simply giving your practice progressively more attention, and therefore giving progressively less attention to daily minutiae; but you won't remember the results of your practice in the same way because a result of proper practice is the elimination of what would otherwise be remembered through volition. Noticing that you're not remembering the same amount of that kind of content could be mistaken as a memory deficiency. Understanding those results with a clear perspective requires a different mode of remembering; and this is one reason why it is important to practice the 'recollection of (psychological) past-lives'. Furthermore, you may actually be cataloging the daily-minutiae-details, but they just don't have a reason to be recalled and those details tend not to lend themselves to intentional recollection like feeling-felt memories do.

Keep a sharp eye out for the hindrances, as they are the spanner in the works:

-Resentment or ill-will about the content of memories or the workings of one's memory.
-Desire or lust about the content of memories or the workings of one's memory.
-Resetlessness or worry about the content of memories or the workings of one's memory.
-Laziness or self-vested indifference about the content of memories or workings of one's memory.
-Doubt or belief about the content of memories or the workings of one's memory.

Generally speaking, keep an eye out for intentions regarding the content of memories or the workings of one's memory.
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josh r s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
Could it be that your apparent memory loss is actually a faulty memory of what you memory used to be like? Perhaps because you previously spent more time with the past, perhaps even fabricating some new memories or at least new details, it seems like you had a better memory?

I find that my memory in one sense is drastically improved. Remembering to apply right effort and right speech has increased a ton, however I have found myself occasionally forgetting totally non-dhamma things, which points to what Null Velle said about applying more of your faculty for attention and mindfulness to dhamma stuff. Mindfulness is something we have innately but it is normally used in less skillful ways.

I recall quite a while back Tarin mentioned that his short-term memory was improved, and that Trent had noticed the same. Maybe when constant effort and mindfulness is no longer necessary those faculties could be reapplied to whatever is going on in your life.
Daniel Boutemy, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 11 Join Date: 9/10/11 Recent Posts
Hi Dan,

Thanks for bringing up this issue. I have get asked about this from time to time, and I always laugh! I have found it to be true and it is a running joke, or at least used to be in the vipassana community. I noticed this effect back in the 80s, and it has remained pretty much constant. I don’t think it has so much to do with enlightenment as with the nature of mindfulness. And I have noticed that it is only narrative memory, at least for me. Here is what I just wrote to another friend about it:

“…but it is not so bad. You do not become senile, lol ! It is narrative memory that tends to diminish when you have interest in the present. The mind looses its interest in storylines. My friends joke about it because they can tell me the same story every year, and I won't remember. I am the perfect audience of entertaining anecdotes! But there is no trouble with remembering facts that are related by a logical structure, for example, I just finished nursing school and I did very well. And truthfully, even the narrative memory can be kept if you mark it as something important to you. Trust me, no functionality is lost!”

I also suspect that it varies greatly from one person to the next, relative to what one has to begin with. My narrative memory was never very strong.

Best wishes,

Daniel
Martin Potter, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 86 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I have noticed this too. I sometimes have to set triggers for myself, e.g. if i need to bring something downstairs i will put it on my bed and leave the light on when i go to the toilet so i remember to go back in to turn the light off and then i see it on the bed.

I also use the calendar on my phone to remind me of things i need to do later if i think of something i need to do, and i keep a 'to do list' on my computer.

A few times i've surprised myself because i've previously thought there's no way i need to set a reminder for something as i'll definitely remember that, and then i forget.

Often when i play a game online, i'll start a new round and i can't remember if it's the same person i played just a minute ago in the previous round.

This all started when i got into meditation and has gotten steadily worse. Although maybe it was always bad and now i just notice it more. Maybe my memory is better and now i just remember more often that i forgot emoticon

Having said that this hasn't been a problem, as far as i can remember emoticon. I haven't forgotten anything of any importance, and i seem to operate fine in my work (in the computer-based work i do if mistakes are made they are automatically rejected and returned or picked up and fed back to the manager, and this has barely occurred - probably less so than others in the team).

The only area that may have suffered is academia. I scraped a pass at university after having done quite well at school, as i found it very difficult to remember things and process the material in a meaningful way. However, this is very likely due to a range of factors unrelated to meditation such as lack of interest, low intelligence, possible adhd and others. I think you said you went through medical school while doing this so it would be unfair to link this to meditation!

It will be interesting to see if this gets better or worse as things progress.

- Martin
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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel -

I talked about this issue with some DhO folks at the end of last summer. My conclusion in regards to my own experience was that I had been holding a lot of information with which to define me (like the fellow in the video mentions "narrative"). A person in that DhO group confirmed they lost some memory upon their perceived stream-entry. So, to me it felt like my memory went blank on much information, but I missed none of it and whatever I was holding onto and no longer have is not adversely affecting me.

I like Florian's phrase, "ineffable woo fluff" - though perhaps he uses it to define other thoughts, I find that when a fruition happens then some chunk of that memory (held narrative) is released. If I call that chunk back via habitual propensity, then I will keep having to cycle until another fruition shakes off the leftovers. It has made me shake my head as if to say, "Again?"

I find open sensate state - which may be the same practice you are referring to in another thread with Aman (paraphrasing "[a fundamental sensate state of open awareness of as much as possible]")* is tweaked to improve memory with receptivity. The receptivity causes attention (meaning it causes exterior attention, as opposed to interior or intent concentration (jhana)) to effect something practical like, "good, unloaded listening". This has been useful in learning something completely new, and improved memory of topics heard once. That said, I am not a graduate student having to learn lots of information at once, so I have yet o test the noggin with a lot of new information.

Outside of the buddhist contemplative lexicon of "open sensate state" and "concentration(jhana)" these same mental capacities exist, but I think any practices that unloads the personally circling mentation frees up the mental capacity to learn and to experience more than its well-trodden, narrative stuff.

Does that make sense?

Thanks for raising the point.

*Edited: to add your words of this state:Bare, straightforward, careful, thorough, direct sensate awareness of everything possible
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Steph S, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 662 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Can't remember if I forgot. I'll get back to you on this one, D.
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
If a bad memory is a symptom of enlightenment, then boy, I'm surprised I don't glow in the dark...
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
My memory has always been pretty bad, actually. In terms of things coming up in context, they come easily: e.g. people are talking about things to do, and they mention something I like, so I go "oh yeah I like that too!" But recall comes pretty difficult, e.g. people ask me: "what do you like to do?" and I have a hard time coming up with a list starting from nothing.

Also quite forgetful in terms of remembering things to do. A planner during school was quite essential.

In terms of technical knowledge, like knowing how to use a programming language and the subroutines that come up often, memory has always been really good - good at absorbing things like that and putting them into use.

Paths and shifts since I've started meditating haven't seemed to affect these things one way or another. I actually got the impression my memory problems aren't such problems anymore... don't know whether that's cause I remember more, or cause I don't worry about how much I remember as much.

What will happen sometimes (happened a ton at Cheetah House last weekend) is that I'll be in the middle of a conversation and then I'll totally lose the train of thought, and I'll just have to sit patiently and wait for the context to come back in. Most disconcerting has been when this happens, walking down the street, with my own trains of thought, every 3-5 seconds, repeatedly. Think it is a nyana thing. It doesn't seem to affect life too much, though; going with the flow really helped with the latter one ("wee, look at mee, I'm disappearing every few seconds!")
C C C, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
I went to a school reunion a few years back. What really struck me was how some remembered intricate details of day-to-day happenings and funny moments, whilst others remembered almost nothing at all. Two quite distinct groups. The happier ones were in the latter group.

The other thought I had was of Richard Rose, who contracted Alzheimers. If the present moment is the only Truth, memories must surely take a back seat?
Becky McNeil, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 10 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
What will happen sometimes (happened a ton at Cheetah House last weekend) is that I'll be in the middle of a conversation and then I'll totally lose the train of thought, and I'll just have to sit patiently and wait for the context to come back in.


Me too. I find it quite odd. The whole conversation framework just disappears, poof, gone. No train, no tracks, no cargo.

I was having some stress-related memory issues before I started to practice. Fairly standard forgetfulness ... make a shopping list, keep a calendar, ok. The additional effects after beginning practice were pretty distinct. Besides the "disappearing conversation" effect, I have developed word recall issues. After studying the non-recall events for a while, I figured out that I try to select words based in part on some sense of how they feel (I apologize if this is imprecise), in addition to their accuracy with respect to what I am trying to convey. It seems like the cognitive search for the "feeling" part of the words doesn't work very well anymore. I am stuck knowing that a word for a given concept exists, and that it has a certain predominant sound in it, and then I have to wait for the word to burp from wherever it is stored up into my conscious mind.

So far, this hasn't caused problems at work, but I work with people with good memories who can pick up when I blip. So, I do kind of hope that it resolves once I manage to make some progress with my practice.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Becky McNeil:
It seems like the cognitive search for the "feeling" part of the words doesn't work very well anymore. I am stuck knowing that a word for a given concept exists, and that it has a certain predominant sound in it, and then I have to wait for the word to burp from wherever it is stored up into my conscious mind.

So far, this hasn't caused problems at work, but I work with people with good memories who can pick up when I blip. So, I do kind of hope that it resolves once I manage to make some progress with my practice.

It might be that it never worked the way you thought it did. Consider there are two components: looking for the word with the right 'feeling', and letting the word come up from stored memory. Before, these happened simultaneously, so you assumed that looking for the 'feeling' caused the word to come up. Now, you can distinguish the two better, and more than that, you can focus on the 'feeling' explicitly. Because you used to think the 'feeling' caused the word to arise, now you spend your effort cultivating that 'feeling', which doesn't cause the word to arise, but actually prevents it. So maybe it's a matter of learning to not cultivate the 'feeling' and just letting the word recall happen on its own?

Just a thought - something to try - not sure if that's it.
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Olyver Mith, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 143 Join Date: 6/10/11 Recent Posts
The man in the youtube video's initial suggestion was spot on. In order to get one's memory back one just has to turn the mind back to the "stressful" life where one acts and initiates an experience where all those things that become unimportant when living in the present suddenly become important again.

This is exactly the experience I had when I started my most recent deployment and I spend all my work day acting and behaving as if those unimportant things are important (a strong memory is required for my job)... but you know... its nowhere near as unpleasant as it may seem. Happiness is once again dependent on one's sucess... at first. But since we know on some deeper level that happiness need not be dependent on conditions (from our vipassana insights), then soon enough the two modes of being will reconcile with each other. One could think of it as investing in your life by reconciling the less present life with deeper insights. It's totally worth it.

Why do you think some of the "important stuff" like meeting deadlines isn't affected by one's poor memory? Because it's become easy and habitual to act off those higher priorities! That's something we learned growing up! Well... if we pay attention to the lesser details too that gives us more ways to improve!!!! For whose benefit? Everyone around you! And improves your memory too!

I have no doubt that if you start ignoring the strength of your memory at a younger age it will become much worse when one is older. It's worth noting that the man in the youtube video said he no longer has that problem anymore. It was likely a phase.
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Constance Casey, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 47 Join Date: 9/21/09 Recent Posts
I can relate to this. There is a lack of memory around details. I need to be more mindful and use post-it notes for things that I don't really care to do but need to do to make a living.

There has also been at times: an incredible improvement in mathematical calculations for making cabinets,
and at other times a complete 3 dimensional dyslexia. I can not make out the 3 dimensions when building in my garage, this is due to a variety to energetic phenomenon that I am aware of and tuned into at other levels at the time, then the capability returns.

There seems to be a increased ability in not remembered what is not required, and moving in a direction that is more gentle, free and open, and trusting in that process.
Johnny Froth, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 59 Join Date: 1/25/12 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
And I just wondered if I was alone in this, or perhaps have Mad Cow or early Alzheimer's or something like that, ...


I reckon that a lot of apparent memory loss is simply cognitive bias in an otherwise healthy individual. It's clear that normal, unimpaired people have "memory loss events". In your early twenties you'd barely even remark on them, since you haven't gathered enough of them. By your late 30's, you'll be able to recall more of those events, and *even though they are happening no more often than normal*, you may begin to notice them and see the pattern. By late 40's and you now have serious scope for worry because you now have three decades of memory loss events to draw on. And the normal compression of your past (being 20 seems like yesterday to a 50 year old; being 5 seems like an eternity ago to a 10 year old), makes it all seem even worse. And that's all despite the fact that your memory is as sharp as it was in your teens (or if less so, then only "normally" less so).

Also, we're going to be subject to an availability heuristic on this one. Since memory loss tends to be something we'd rather *not* experience, they're more notable and easier to recall. Compare the extent to which you remember times you forgot Skype calls versus the times you remembered them. As a result, we're more likely to regard ourselves as "forgetters" than as "rememberers" and, again crucially, even more so over time.
Craig N, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 134 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel

Thanks for bringing this up, I wondered about this myself.

I've noticed various effects on my memory in the past few years. I'm not sure how much of this is something that everyone experiences. I don't think anyone's memory is perfect. But mine can be like a sieve at times, for sure. Fortunately, my wife has a good memory! I numbered my different points because there's so many that I was getting confused myself. I think it's mostly related to #2, but who knows.

1. I think increased concentration is partly to blame for poor memory - if I'm hyper-focusing on something then lots of information, such as the names of people I've just been introduced to, go in one ear and out the other.

2. The movement into the now (letting go of past memories/future fantasies), and letting go of attachment probably also increases the effect. Maybe that's it's right there... letting go of the past! I give almost no thought to the past anymore and it's something that's deepened significantly over the last few years. Maybe it's a case of use it or lose it. By not obsessively going over memories all the time, the function of memory isn't as strong as it once was?

Is this an area that's changed for you recently, given that you've just started forgetting stuff?

3. I forget many things unless I really make an effort to remember. I'm careful to make todo lists at work and when shopping. I also make a concerted effort to remember names when I'm introduced to people.

4. I can clearly recall several occasions in the past couple of years when I've been speaking and totally lost track of what I was saying, similar to what Nick described. It's like the mind completely empties. When this happens at work it can be embarrassing.

5. One symptom that I think is related is in difficulty making conversation with new people. I have found a couple of times within the past few years that I literally have nothing to say to someone I don't know. It kind of shocked me each time it happened. It felt like words would not come to me, and I recall thinking it was the result of my progress of insight. By contrast, normally I easily chat with people I don't know and find things to say, even just something to share to start a conversation. When it was happening I thought it would be a permanent thing, but it seems to have either passed or I have adapted to the change.

6. Occasionally I can't for the life of me remember a person's name - including people I work with every day. I can picture their face but the name will not come to me. I suspect it's not quite normal, but it's hard to be sure. It happened just this morning actually.

I don't forget things I consider important. I can rattle off encyclopaedic details of things I'm passionate about across any number of subjects.

The guy in the Youtube video mentioned losing the memories of whole periods of his life? I haven't experienced anything like that.

Craig
p p, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 2 Join Date: 2/6/12 Recent Posts
A while ago while doing some heavy self-enquiry practices and getting some strong dissociative/not-self experiences, I noticed that during this period my memory was a bit fuzzier and less reliable than usual. Subsequently I have not done those practices as much (for unrelated reasons) and my memory seems fine.

It makes sense in light of this notion in cognitive psychology of autonoetic consciousness. This posits that cognitive constructs of the self are intimately related to the ability to form and retrieve episodic memories and perform "mental time travel" in which one's sense of self is no longer "stimulus bound" to the present moment but can be projected into memories of past scenarios or predictions of future scenarios. If dharma practice disrupts the neural networks underlying the construct of self, and those networks are deeply entwined with the networks for episodic memory formation and retrieval, it makes sense that dharma practice could in turn disrupt the memory systems associated with the self construct.
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Memory Failing, Anyone?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
What Constance said!

I can relate to this, too. In fact, at one point years ago when this showed up I even called Kenneth Folk, upset that I could no longer focus on and recall details like I used to be able to. He said something like, "You probably didn't need those details anyway." He was right. I didn't, and don't. The phenomena is always present and it's a bit like being in a time bubble about ten seconds in duration, inside of which I can recall almost everything but outside of (after) which details start to get fuzzy.

This memory effect is not dependent on what practice I'm currently doing or any other external influence I can account for. It seems to be a permanent change that has taken hold because it's been in evidence for years, unchanged. It was, of course, more apparent when it started because my previous experience was very different. I can always feel the "foggy" nature of recalling detailed memories when I need to.