Can I trust my memories? This is a similar to “can I trust my emotions?” Since memories are created mostly through the emotions we have and tied to the situation, we understand that what we remember is more about how we felt about the situation rather than the actual situation itself. The yoga sutras explain that “memories” are one of the 5 vrittis or modifications of the mind. The vrittis are what cause the distortions of the mind and prevent us from seeing reality clearly; Like ripples on a pond. When the pond is still, we see the reflection clearly, when it’s disrupted by movement, the reflection is distorted.
I am not my emotions. What ever can be removed from you, is not you. If it can be removed, how can it be you? Through this understanding we can become the observer of our emotions and see our emotions truly for what they are, a modifier to the true reality that we are experiencing. Because we remember our experiences through emotions, it is not reality that we are remember but the distortion of the experience that we placed upon reality.
As I think back to myself as a child, I know that I was a very different person, different thoughts, ideas and values. All my thoughts and emotions came from a very different understanding of the world and my thoughts, ideas and values attached to it. So how can I trust me if the me I was is definitely not the me I am or share the ideas I have now?
If I want to trust my memories I must first understand, I am not the “I” I was and the memories I have come from the emotions I had. When I am able to see those emotions as not my emotions, I can remove them and see a clearer picture of the past without the distortions I had previously placed upon it. If I presently remember the past with my past emotions from my past self, it affects my present self and my present emotions while overlaying the false past onto my true present reality. I want to remember my past for what it was not for what I felt it was. This allows me freedom from past emotions and freedom from the past creates freedom for the present.