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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Series on Psychology 2006, #21 of 52: Motivation: Why do you do what you do? | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Series on Psychology 2006, #23 of 52: Learning Theory »

March 28, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Series on Psychology 2006, #22 of 52: Memory: Past and Present

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- We all have memories. But we seldom think about them until something happens to us and we lose them. We have long term and short term memories. Long term memory, as the name implies is the ability to remember what took place long time ago.

For example, do you remember the year you were born, where you were born and what happened in your childhood? Short term memory refers to events that happened recently. Do you remember what happened yesterday, last week, last month? These may seem like silly questions but alcoholics in late stage addiction actually loose their short term memory and may not be able to tell you what happened yesterday in their lives.

Memory is stored information in our brains’ cells. The brain has trillions of neurons (nerve cells). Every thing that the individual has experienced, seen, heard, felt, touched, felt etc is stored in his brain cells, in his memory.

Folks store things in their memories that they are not even conscious of. Let us say that you drove through a street. The chances are that you are not conscious of seeing most of the houses on that street. Somehow, your memory, without your conscious awareness has picked up the nature of the houses on that street and stored them in your memory bank.

(In our dreams at night, our brains somehow ferret out information from our memory banks that we are not even conscious of and use it to construct our dreams. You may have passed a grotesquely looking person at some point in your life and did not give him much thought. If your dream drama requires that a grotesque person play a role in it, somehow, your brain will ferret out that grotesque person you passed years ago; indeed, your brain will age him to make him as old as he would look today, when you are dreaming.)

Neuroscience teaches us that our experiences are stored in the trillions of neurons, nerve cells, in our brains. How this is done is beyond the scope of this essay, nor has it fully been understood. I am not writing a technical paper on memory and the brain, I am just providing elementary information on memory.

For our present purposes, memory is all the information about ones past experiences stored in ones memory bank, ones brain, ones mind.

(The term mind has fallen out of use. Neuroscientists do not employ the term mind. Mind has otherworldly connotation, whereas neuroscience is rooted in the empirical world. Moreover, no one can pinpoint where the mind is in the brain. It simply is imprecise to employ the term mind. Indeed, some scientists go so far as to say that there is no such thing as mind independent of the brain. They contend that our thinking, hitherto attributed to mind, is really epiphenomenal, that is, is a throw up of the dance of electrical ions in our nervous system. This is pure materialistic philosophy, a monism that contends that everything is a product of matter and that there is no such thing as so-called spirit. This is atheism. Obviously, atheism is as much a belief as religion, for there is no evidence that we understand even one percent of our selves and certainly of the universe. In such massive lack of knowing, it would be speculative to say that there is god or that there is no god. Be all this academics as they are, this is an essay and an essay is presentation of opinions that one believes to be true. I believe that there is such a thing as spirit and mind and will proceed on that basis.)


We store information from the past in our memories for a purpose. We store them as libraries that we could revisit to enable us know how to cope with events in the present. When we are confronted with a present situation, we send information to our brains and search our memory bank for clue as to how to deal with it. If we had had similar experiences in the past, we retrieve information on how we dealt with them and use them to solve the present task. If we have developed successful coping patterns, we pretty much do what we did in the past; but if we were not successful in dealing with such situations in the past, our memory would probably tell us to try certain things.

Let us say that a lion confronts the individual. Has he had an experience in the past where a lion confronted him? What did he do to prevent the lion from eating him: run from it, fight it? The chances are that he ran from the lion since his physical skills are no match for the lion’s, and the lion would probably defeat him, eat him, so he would be told to run from the present lion confronting him, if he wants to live to see another day, that is. Of course, if he has a gun, that is another story, for he could protect his life by shooting and possibly killing the lion.

Information stored in our memory banks are meant to enable us deal with present and future situations we find ourselves in. The function of memory is to enable animal organisms to survive the on-going challenges posed to them by their changing environment.

If we did not store information on how to cope with situations we would be perpetually relearning how to respond to every situation we find ourselves in. Clearly, if that was the case, the chances are that we would not survive.

In effect, memory enables us to survive in this world, for it enables us to store information in our brain cells that could come to bear in present and future situations where our lives are threatened. Without our memory we probably would not survive on this dangerous planet.


Information stored in the memory is information on how we behaved in the past. Memory, therefore, is of the past, not the future.

In as much as memory helps us to survive in the present and the future, the past enables us to survive in the present and future. Without what we learnt in the past we may not be able to do what we need to do to cope with present and future exigencies.


This situation sounds innocuous enough until we think of the implications of utilizing the past to survive in the present. It means that we utilize our past experiences to color our present experience. As I observed in the essay on perception, we use our past learning to color our present situation hence distort it. Memory enables us to employ our past to color our present and distort it.

In so doing, memory of the past perpetuates the linear world we live in, for it means that we shall do things in the present and future as we did them in the past. Memory makes changes difficult.

Memory perpetuates the world order, as it is, and makes change of the world very difficult to accomplish. Memory perpetuates the individual’s personality, his habitual pattern of responding to stimuli from his environment and makes change in his life style difficult.

To change, to do things differently, we have to look at our environment in a different manner; we cannot look at environmental stimuli like we looked at them in the past, as we stored them in our memory.

In as much as we have memory, the past, we always color the present with the past (our learning, history, experiences etc) hence is not able to radically break away from the past.

How are we going to be able to do things differently if we are always using our past to judge and shape our present and behave accordingly? This is a conundrum.


Life on earth is change. Yesterday is gone forever and probably will not repeat in history. Our experiences in the past are over with and probably will not be repeated. The world of the past is over, and is long gone.

But we keep our past experiences, the past world, in our memories and use that memory to influence the present and make it seem like the world of the past. In effect, we keep the past in our memories and use it to make today like the past, to perpetuate the past that is long gone.

We invented a world of separation, space, time and matter. We want that world kept alive, for it enables us to seem separated from each other and from our creator, God. So, we keep that world in our memories and use it to color our present.

God, through his Holy Spirit has taken the world of space, time and matter we made and remade it. He remade it with love and forgiveness.

When we see the same old world of space, time and matter with the eyes of forgiveness and love, it becomes a new world, a remade world, a reinvented world. Our old world becomes a new world, in Christian categories, Jerusalem becomes a New Jerusalem, Israel becomes a New Israel; man becomes a new man, now no longer in the image of separated self but in the image of Christ, that is, unified self, hence happy and peaceful.

The old world is kept in our memories and used to color the present, so we must now give our memory to the Holy Spirit and he would transform them and use them to show us a purified world, still the old ego self and old egos separated world, but one where we love and forgive one another.

(Although we need not go there, but let me just say that the empirical world is over, long ago. It is over but it is kept in memory and that memory is used to make it seem to still exist. This idea is very difficult for a rational person to accept, so we shall not pursue it. But if you are capable of seeing the world as a dream, an illusion you are capable of accepting that the world is a past dream kept alive and used to color the present dream that we are separated from each other. The children of God are always in God and in each other; they are always unified. As it were, while in God, they close their metaphoric eyes and sleep and dream themselves to be in a non-existent world. The Holy Spirit has already overcome that world and it is past. But because they desire that world of separation, for what it gives them, a sense of separation and self creation, they keep it in their minds and use it to still dream that the world exists, when it does not exist. When one experiences mystical union, one understands what I am talking about. In reality, we momentarily dozed off and forgot heaven and dreamed this world; this dream was done in an instant and reawakened in that very instant; we are already returned to the realities of heaven without missing heaven for a second. This is very difficult to understand, so let us not push it. It is difficult enough to ask you to accept some of the metaphysical ideas I have talked about.)


Our past learning teaches us, for example, that other human beings are powerful and could harm and or kill us. Let me be specific. History teaches me, a black man, that white Americans, in the past enslaved Africans and discriminated against them. Information of white abuse and oppression of black people is stored in the individual and collective consciousness (ala Carl Jung) of black persons.

As a black person, that history, my past, urges me to be wary of the intentions of white folks. They have a history of exploiting other people, so I watch out and make sure that they do not use me in the present to secure their welfare.

Most black persons are suspicious of white folk’s intentions; they tend to see whites as sociopaths. Most black persons have functional paranoia when they relate to white folks, for they do not trust white folks to safeguard their black interests.
The fear of white abuse is rooted in empirical facts so it seems realistic. Realistic or not, however, that fear is rooted in past events, not present events. Past or not, it colors perception of whites in the present.

When I see a white person, I see a potential abuser and do not trust him. I am on my guard and scan his activity trying to ascertain his respect of my rights. This is the racial situation in North America. The result is lack of social harmony, peace.

The question is whether it is possible to look at the present without the past? Can I see you without information from my past, information stored in my memory?

The answer is no and yes. The individual can consciously know what the past tells him to do and choose not to do it. He can choose to overlook his past, to ignore it as a guide for present and future behaviors and do something differently. He may, in effect, choose to forgive the past and live in the present; one can choose to love all people, regardless of what they did to one in the past.

Please pay attention, for if you understand what I am talking about, you would have understood Christianity, that much talked about but ill understood religion.

Jesus chose to forgive the past, to ignore the past and live in the present. Jesus was physically and psychologically attacked. His past experiences told him that if he wants to survive as a separated self housed in body that he had better defend himself. He chose not to defend himself. He chose defenselessness. He chose to overlook the past and its world. In doing so, he overcame the past; he overcame the separated self, the ego and its world.

The moment Jesus chose to not see the present with the yardsticks of the past, to respond to the present without information as the world teaches him to respond, he saw the world differently.

He saw the people and world about to murder him in a beautified light. While hanging on the cross, he saw all his brothers in their light forms.

Finally, he went beyond perception and experienced oneness with God and all creation. First, he purified his perception via forgiveness of the past and then he attained unified spirit (Holy Instant).

At that moment, he became a world teacher of God and is at the head of all those who teach about God. Jesus is the head teacher of God.


Are we talking mysticism here? Not at all. We are talking science in the sense that what we are talking about can be verified by you, now, not tomorrow. How?

Select the person who did the most egregious thing to you. If you are a black man, select a white person, for whites abused us and we are angry at them. If you are a woman, select men for men did awful things to women, raping them, inflicting pain on them. Select the human being that you are most hateful of and angry at, the person who in your judgment did the most evil thing to you.

Then consciously overlook what that person did to you. Forgive him and mean it. In fact, pray for his welfare. Tell yourself that you are not going to look at him with the information stored in your memory about his cruel behavior. Ask the Holy Spirit, the spirit of the whole, God, in the part, us, to guide you. Forgive and leave it at that.

When I was in my twenties, I wanted all white folks burned to death for enslaving and discriminating against blacks. At some point, in my late thirties, I chose to forgive white folks, to not look at them from my past. I overlooked what they did to my people. (Who are my people? Then blacks, now all people.) I literally chose not to see the present with the past. When I see a white man, information stored in my memory bubbled up and urges me to be suspicious, paranoid etc. I ignored it and simply looked at the white person as a brother, lovingly.

Try what I have just told you to do. If you do, you would at first feel peaceful and happy (for peace and happiness go together; they are, in fact, synonymous; you cannot have one and not the other; if you are happy you are peaceful and if you are peaceful you are happy).

After you have forgiven all people, the world, then try meditation. Meditation entails clearing your mind of all hateful thoughts; clearing your mind of all conceptual thinking; stopping all thinking for thinking itself is using past categories to think about the present hence distorting them. Just tell yourself that you do not know who you are, who other people are, what any thing means and stay quiet. In your mental silence you will be told what things are by the spirit of the whole, the Holy Spirit.

If you have done what we have asked you to do, suddenly, you would see yourself and other people in light forms. This is literal, not figurative.

When at first it occurs, you might think that you are hallucinating (visual) but you are not, for there is a difference between psychosis and mental health; in psychosis you are all conflicted and irrational, whereas in Spirit you are totally calm and rational.

Meditate. But remember to forgive yourself and all human beings what they did to you in the past. Overlook the ego and its activities. Then wait.

Do not tell the Hotly Spirit what to do, just do what he asks you to do, and leave it at that: he asks us to forgive and love all God’s children.

I did what I have asked you to do, forgive and love all and tried meditation. In meditation, I heard a voice that said: open your eyes and I did and saw myself in light form. I got up and tried to touch it and it had no physical dimension. I walked through it. I thought that I was hallucinating. I have had my psychotic clients tell me about their auditory and visual hallucinations and did not think I could ever hear a voice or see what is not there, as there.

Amazed, I reached to my phone to call my Swami (I was then a devotee of Hinduism) and tell him what is happening and suddenly the light form disappeared and I lost awareness of this world and was in the world of oneness, a word that I cannot describe.

Subsequently, I returned to this silly world of ours. However, I had learned one lesson from the experience of Holy Instance: I know that we are all one. My character was changed forever, for now, I am a giver, not a receiver; I give to all God’s children, for in giving to them I am giving to me, for all of them are parts of me. I am giving you here and in so doing giving to me, clarifying knowledge for you hence for me. I am not better than you. One only gives to ones self, not to other people, for there are no other people.

I do not need to go into areas that the reader may not yet be ready to comprehend. What is salient is that it is possible to overlook our memory and look at the present without the past. If we do so, we have forgiven the past. That is actually what is meant by forgiveness, seeing the present and future without information from the past.

Seeing the present and future with the past perpetuates the old world; overlooking the past changes the world.


The Holy Spirit has already reinvented the old ego self and its world. When we separated and invented particles, atoms and elements and used them to form our bodies and world, God entered the world as the Holy Spirit and remade the particles, atoms and elements we made and used them to invent light bodies for us.

Each of us has a dense body, the one he currently has, as well as a light body. Try doing what I asked you to do and see if you would not first experience peace and joy, then your light body. If, in fact, you forgave and loved all people, you would see Jesus in light body, and, ultimately, experience oneness, a formless state of being, immortality.

Look at the present cleansed of the past. This is called purification of your memory and perception. You are still in the world of separation and perception, for if you see at all you have a sense of you and me, separation. You are, therefore, not in unified state, aka heaven, for heaven is oneness and in it there is no you and I, just one self and one mind, with infinite selves and infinite minds.

The Holy Spirit is given the charge of purifying the separated self and its perceptual world. He purifies our perception via forgiveness and love.

When your perception is changed, that is, when you look with forgiveness and not hate, with love instead of asking for punishment for the person who wronged you, you are now living in peace.

Metaphorically, you are now at the gate of heaven (purgatory, real world, call it what you like). Here, you experience people in light forms and every once in a while disappear into God and he, God, disappears into you; you experience oneness, which you cannot explain.


After the experience of oneness, you become a teacher of God, a minister of God. And what do you teach? You teach that all of us, the children of God, are innocent, for we have not done what we see ourselves do on earth. We are as God created us: sinless, guiltless and innocent.

We merely dream separation but are not separated. We merely dream and in our dreams seem to harm and kill other people. What we do in dreams have not been done. When we overlook the dream, the ego and its world, we return to the world of formless spirit, the world of God and his children.

I have dwelled a bit on metaphysics, so let me return to memory. Memory is storage of information of how one should adapt to the world of separation, space, time and matter, to the world of illusion. As long as one consults ones memory, which is the past, one would do things the same old way one does them before. As such, one would adapt to this world and perpetuate ones old ego and this world.

To do things differently means not to consult ones memory when new situations present themselves to one.

Try to forgive all people and yourself their past. When the past is ignored, forgiven, and overlooked, you see things through the eyes of Christ (also called the eyes of the Holy Spirit…this is called spiritual seeing or Christ vision or corrected perception, still illusion, for it sees physical things that are not there but perception that approximates the non-perceptual world created by God).

When memory is wiped clean, it is still there but the past in it is now seen through the eyes of love.

I still have my past experiences. I am still Ozodi Osuji who has experienced this world since the1950s. I have all my experiences intact. But, I have reinterpreted that experience and now see through the eyes of forgiveness and love. Where hitherto I saw an ugly world, I now see a beautiful world.

I see sleeping, dreaming children of God. I see folks who do awful things to one another. I forgive them what they do to one another and in doing so forgive me my own evil towards other people.

Forgiveness gives me a feeling of peace and happiness. I cannot ask for more. I like to share my peace and joy with you, and that is why I write this unsolicited material. (Your ego does not solicit it but your higher self, the Christ in you, asked me to write it so that perchance you learn about our truth, unified spirit, and turn your attention God wards and experience the peace and joy that is the reward of living a loving life.)


We have memories where we store information from our past experiences. The information in our memories helps us adapt to the world in the present and future. In doing so, we color the present and future with the past and perpetuate the type of world we know, the world of conflict, attack and defense. That world has lasted billions of years.

The goal is to ignore memory and relate to the world from the eyes of forgiveness and love. If we do so, we exit the world of dense matter and experience the light world.

If we truly love one another, we enter the unified world of God, a world beyond speech and ego conceptual categories, for concepts adapt to the separated world.

Find out for yourself if these statements are true or speculations. The ball is now in your court.

You may continue to distort the teachings of brother Jesus, as the Christian Church did, so as to keep living in your ego separated state, or you may listen to this new interpretation of the gospel of Jesus the Christ, Jesus the true son of God, and do what would enable you rise above your false self, your separated ego and regain awareness of your true self, the Son of God, the Christ, the unified spirit self.

We, the seeming separated children of God, made memories to enable us store information about our past, so as to use that past to color the present and perpetuate the past in this world. Now, we must give our memory and the information about the past stored in it to the Holy Spirit to reinterpret for us and employ differently.

The Holy Spirit takes what we made in the past and remakes them with forgiveness and love. Our past is now looked at with forgiveness and love. Our world is now looked at with forgiveness and love.

When this is done, we experience the world as peaceful and joyous. Peace and joy are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the immanent God, the God in the temporal universe, who is also the transcendent God, the God outside this world.

The Holy Spirit is not a person; he is God. God is the union of himself and all his children. In that sense, the Holy Spirit is our better self, the part of us that thinks only loving and forgiving thoughts.

The Holy Spirit is the communication link between God and his separated children; he is the bridge between heaven and earth, the world of matter and the world of spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not a person; he is an abstraction, just as the ego is not a person but an abstraction.

The ego is the idea of separation and the self that accepts separation as reality. The Holy Spirit is the idea of union while still in the world of separation.

The Holy Spirit is aware of the nature of heaven (union), and is also aware of the nature of this world (separation).

If you like, the Holy Spirit is the mediator between heaven and the world, union (heaven) and the world (separation). He reconciles the world of separation the children of God made with the Unified/ Holy world God created.

The Holy Spirit is the counselor of the children of God in their world of pain and scarcity. He is their guide in their journey homewards to God, Union and Heaven, their return to their real self, unified self.

(The ego, on the other hand, guides them in their separation from their true self, in their journey to nowhere, for the world they think that they went to does not even exist; the prodigal son’s journey away from his father is a journey without distance, for wherever he goes he goes in God, for God is everywhere; we cannot separate from God, our real self, unified self.)

At all times, let the spirit of God in us, love, and union guide all your earthly activities, and if you do, you will experience peace and joy. If you do you would have stopped trying to make your separated wishes prevail in your life. You would have given up the illusion that there could be another will in the world beside the will of God.

God’s will has no opposite. The son of God, you and I, cannot not do the will of God. God is union and love and when we are sane we do God’s will, forgive and love all people.

The desire for a separated wish is a will of the wisp; an illusion that produces only dreams of pain, suffering and death.
Our world must be transformed, so that we all obey the will of God, which is our real will.

God’s will is love and if we obey it and love one another we are obeying our better will. In a loving each other, the world, the will of God is done, and finally the kingdom of God replaces the kingdom of man; the separated self gives way to the unified self and unified world of God. In a unified world peace and joy reign supreme.

Whatever your secular profession is, do it with the spirit of God, with forgiveness and love.

If you are a medical doctor, serve all your patients with love. If you are an engineer, construct structures for all of us with love. If you are a psychologist, teach all your brothers about their true self, with love.

In the temporal universe, we believe that we are separated selves and live in bodies and need all the things this world offer, so let us do them with love.

When we realize that we are not separated and are spirit then we do not need the things of this world and all our professions are useless.

But until there is mass awakening to the consciousness of oneness, we all need to do our part in the welfare of the sleeping children of God.

Do whatever you do to earn your earning in the world of scarcity (ego) with love, and you help transform our world into a world of abundance (peace and happiness). Cheers.

March 6, 2006

Next essays:

Social psychology
Cognitive psychology

Posted by Administrator at March 28, 2006 12:45 PM


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