Managing the memory : A response to the question on how to live with a peaceful disposition.
Part I


Ralph Waldo Emerson who was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet in the mid 19th – century wrote; Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”
Man is generally a peace seeking being, and often wish peace of mind at any given time. Jesus after resurrection restored the peace of the troubled disciples whose past actions deposited negative memories. The lack of peace of mind had already caused the death of one of them; namely Judas and the peace of others was not certain. Imagine what could be in the mind of Peter after the betrayal of Jesus Christ, his Master. He must be experiencing a kind of incredible lack of peace of mind. They were not able to continue with their mission because they had no inner peace. They were engulfed by fear and confusion. They went into hiding because of fear and uncertainty. Jesus, making his first appearance, said to them ” Peace be with you” John 20-19. Jesus presented them with the message of peace, knowing very well the need for peace. For a person like peter who betrayed Jesus openly it might be tough to regain the freedom of the mind considering the memories of the past event. Without peace of mind you can never have a clear vision. You can never have a co-ordinated activities and your future may not be handled constructively because you will be living in a state of quandary vexed with plight and muddled difficulties. Hence, to have your inner peace, we must live our lives with the full awareness and understanding of our memories among other faculties of the mind. Therefore, in this article I will like to present how the faculty of the mind, the memory, and how the memories we entertain can improve or shatter our inner peace destroying the present and halting subsequent progress.

Most human beings are conditioned to live and operate with their 5 senses: we see, smell, taste, touch and hear. However, we are also fortunate enough to have within us 6 powerful higher minds faculties that we need to use more and more consciously in order to transform our results much faster. The six mind’s faculties are Reason, Imagination, Memory, Intuition, Perception and Will.

Memory is the process of taking in information from the world around us, processing it, storing it and later recalling that information, sometimes many years later.
Memory is a mental muscle that you must exercise in order to improve it. This mental faculty can also serve you well. Indeed, your strong memory can increase your ability to use past experiences positively and have a peace of mind or live your life negatively and have a troubled life. There is a lesson in everything we experience in life. You can, therefore, use your memory in order to advance. For example, there might be ‘memories in your memory. You do not wish to repeat bad experience and in this instance your memories of the past serves you well. It helps you to be vigilant and alert.
One of the conscious activities of man is thinking. Man is a thinking being. In conscious thinking, we think of the past, the present, or the future and any one we decide to entertain potentially shapes our present life experiences. Many people live either the glories of their past or the failures of their past in their present. It forms their present. They cannot use their power of imagination because they are only dwelling on the past. We could imagine the dangers in living in such spectrum of existence. Instead of making good use of our great memory, we choose to use it against our present and future. People who operate in such a manner are not managing their gift of memory properly. They are slaves of the wonderful gift from God.
We can now see the wisdom of this word; “I get am before no be property”. Our memories help us to remember past events, but we should be careful such that our past does not affect our present. We must make sure that our inner peace is not affected by our past experiences. I was discussing with a year 3 student in the university and he was told me he did well in year one, but second semester year II, he performed so badly and now that he is no longer happy and that he does not know what he will do. After cross-questioning, I realized that he was serious previously, but other social activities took up his mind and then he could not measure up again and so, he started performing badly. Hence, this young boy is suffering from the past glories. He thinks that having done well in the past is a guarantee of doing well subsequently, he forgot that success is a product of hard work. He failed to do the needful in the present. He thinks that having done well in the past he should be able to continue in such manner, even when his lifestyle changed. The failure is simply the fruit of his real and present life labour. The failure and lack of peace of mind are the result of his past activities and lifestyle which is affecting the present, and which is still capable of doing harm to his future. What should he do now? I simply told him that he should forget about the past, his previous success, and the failures and focus on the present. I told him that he can only bounce back to success if he studies harder and that it is only through such hard work that he can be sure of a guaranteed successful future. That the future is bright is not only “In Jesus name Amen”. It greatly involves hard work and focus. No matter how hard you shout “I must succeed” without hard work you are going nowhere and if you continue to experience repeated failures, how can you be peaceful in yourself?
Therefore, for the future to be bright, and for a peaceful presence we must be mindful of the past and how it affects the present. What we have in our memory has the capacity of building or shattering our future, and what we think about the future, our perception of the future, the future goals we place for ourselves can build or steal our present and place us into perpetual peace, joy and happiness or failure, and lack of peace. Therefore, our memories affect our inner peace when we allow our past experiences to influence our present life in such a way that we are not able to live happily in the present.


Eleanor Roosevelt once said It isnt enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isnt enough to believe in it. One must work for it. We can work for peace and one of the ways is by working on our memories.
The memories we entertain could be said to be meaningless inasmuch as we do not take them as experience and as wisdom. Hence, whatever that has happens to us, whether good or bad we can either use them as a positive experience by transforming them as wisdom, knowledge and idea. All we have in our memory, are memories we cannot change. It is a past event. The bad experiences in our memory is as good as dead memories because we can never undo them. They have formed part of our experiences. We has the capacity of not letting them disturb our inner peace in the present. Whether they are good memories or bad memories, they do not matter. Errors are instructive, and anything that is instructive has the power of constructing.
Our experiences have double effects in our lives. They either affect us positively or negatively. But then, we are responsible for any domain we exist therein. We can make a choice of operating within the spectrum of the positive, or we languish in the domain of the negative. Whatever is the case, we are responsible. We should be able to live our lives with a great equity, transforming all our memories as wisdom. And to be able to do that, we must build and master our mental and our emotional construct. We are to be tough in the mind. We must build “mental toughness” Mental toughness helps to build our will. It helps us to be strong enough to eschew destructive memories and to choose memories that helps us think positively. This helps us to maintain a high level of peace of mind with God, ourselves and others. The heart without peace cannot love God properly, and cannot even love self or even others.
Whatever we cannot change; experiences that we cannot undo should not affect our present because once the present is hampered, the future becomes gloomy and shaky. In his Discourse, Epictectus presents to us, how to live our lives peacefully and happily in this fashion; ” I must die: then must I die groaning too? I must be fettered: and wailing too? I must go to exile: does anyone, then , keep me from going with a smile, cheerful and serene?……. (Epictetus, Discourse,13)
Why should we suffer ourselves with the memories we cannot change or existing in the past? How do we glory in what is not existing in the present? Overly reminiscing of our past experiences can destroy our present. Our present lives define or determine our future. Whatever you cannot change, you have to accept it with good faith.

In Job 22:21-22 the Scriptures say “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart.” Your faith and your sincere effort to live your present life according to Gods principles will grant you peace. It is only when you become conscious of your present without allowing the past memories or the future imagination disturb you present that you can sing with the Psalmist in Psalm 4:9 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Put your trust in God; only He can keep you truly safe as St Augustine would say. Psalm 34: 1315 puts it thus; Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. Seek peace and pursuit it, learn it and practice it through good management of your memories. In doing that, you are sure of a peaceful living in the present.
May the peace of God, the Most High, remain with us forever and ever. Amen!!
Pere Johannes Aniobi N.

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