Recollection is a function of conception
Some seekers ask, “Why do I keep forgetting spiritual truths? Why is my memory so poor?”
Frequently, what is poor is not our memory, but our conception of the things to be memorized.
Consider, for example, some kids who read Harry Potter. They remember on which page of which volume a particular character appears for the first time. But those same kids forget their mathematics tables, no matter how many times they recite it.
Why does their memory vary so radically? It’s because of their conception of the subject to be memorized. The subject they consider enjoyable, they remember easily. Or even if effort is needed to memorize it, they put in that effort uncomplainingly, even eagerly. But if they consider a subject burdensome, they forget it easily. Or they, overtly or covertly, drag their feet while memorizing it.
Castigating those kids for being lazy or dumb doesn’t help – their underlying conceptions need to be changed. If they interact with other kids who enjoy mathematics, they too will start enjoying it.
Our conception affects our recollection – this principle applies to spiritual life too. We may do some devotional activities ritualistically, out of deference to our traditional culture. Due to our perfunctory attitude, we find those activities boring and struggle to remember spiritual truths.
Rather than deriding ourselves for being incompetent or insincere, we need to associate with devotees who delight in devotional activities, as recommended in the Bhagavad-gita (10.09). On seeing their sublime joyousness, our memory becomes energized by curiosity: “What are these guys getting in remembering Krishna? I too want to experience it.”
When we thus become inspired to dive deep into devotion, we get a sublime taste for devotional activities, thereby changing our conceptions about what is enjoyable. As we start finding devotional stimuli relishable, our memory starts becoming keener and sharper.
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