Live Youthfully Now
Russell A. Kemp
Memory’s Golden Door
Memory may well be, as someone once said, the lowest of man’s mental powers. Certainly it seems to be a simple instinctive faculty so familiar, so commonplace that we do not consider it to be important in our total scheme of living. But on the other hand the operation of the memory is of such vital significance in the expression of ourself as a living and continuing organism that there could be no recognizable identity, no personality expressed by us, were it not that we possess this function or power called memory.
From earliest childhood, with the gradual dawning of the infant’s awareness of itself as a someone, a self that has an identity separate from others, the power of memory is the prime operating force which organizes the infant’s perception of itself into a bundle, a unit. Later this is the basis of the child’s personality.
Much of the earliest action of memory originates in the body. The child quickly develops association memories with pleasure and pain. He learns that crying brings attention. If he howls lustily he will be fed. Feeding is pleasant. It not only stills hunger but is enjoyable in itself. Very quickly there is a learned habit of action centered around the body’s memories of pleasure and gratification through being fed. Other memories connected with gratification quickly develop.
The child somehow becomes aware of and familiar with his mother as a person. He can distinguish her from others, and is at ease with her, although frightened by others. Memory must play a part in this. Somehow he must organize impressions of his mother’s appearance, or her voice, or her body qualities, perhaps of some intangible radiation from her, in his memory, in order to distinguish her from others. Were it not for his memory, the child would never come to know his mother, or to prefer her attentions to those of others.
Then, too, his memory has to retain his impressions of himself, of the sound of the name by which he is so frequently called, and which lie will learn to connect with himself. He learns words that his parents teach him by repetition. Always the memory function of his mind is active, organizing, storing, laying the foundations for his developing sense of being an individual, a self.
Verbal memory is also needed. He learns to connect faces with certain sounds which are names. He develops habits of reaction, as well as reflex actions. Always these habits and learned things are the result of memory. When he learns to walk certain reflexes must be developed as he learns how to balance himself. The body stores these reflexes and thus conserves the accumulated results of trial and error until he gains control of his body and is able to walk.
The faculty of memory is so intimately associated with the various bundles of stored-up information expressed in the child that in one sense his memory is the child. Without it there would be no child, out only some disorganized and chaotic physical efforts to be a living being.
So the question, “Is your memory you?” is not at all fanciful or impractical. While it could not be claimed for a moment that memory constitutes one’s personality, it certainly is the cohesive, organizing element responsible for the existence of what we call a personality. No, the memory is not you, any more than your face is you, or your body is you. You are a composite, a unified, coordinated expression of countless activities and intelligences.
And it is by means of your obedient, instantaneous faculty of memory that you have learned to recognize this body, this mind, and the intangible factors constituting your whole organized self, as yourself.
What a mysterious thing memory is! Scientists have learned that by electrically stimulating some brain cells, certain memories apparently stored in these cells can actually be reexperienced. They are not remembered, but relived. The individual experiences the same vivid sensations that he had when the original experience occurred. Memory is not only like a tape recorder and a motion-picture camera, but it can also store smells, tastes, sensations of touch as well. We have not yet invented devices to record and reproduce smells or tastes or the feeling of things touched. But our memory does it constantly.
Is memory a function of the body? Or is it a function of the mind? We would have to say that it partakes of the power of both body and mind. But does memory have still deeper levels than the physical and mental? Is there a still deeper or higher level on which memory functions? Is memory also a power of man’s psychic organism? Or is memory and the sense of individuality dependent upon the physical instrument of body cells and the expression of what we call our mind through this body organism?
The question is: does the sense of self, or personal identity, persist after the event called death, when we no longer possess a physical organism? Can the individual, though disembodied, retain his sense of identity and also remember names, persons, and events once familiar to him, though he has no brain cells or physical organism in which they formerly seemed to be stored, subject to recall? This is indeed an important question.
There is a very impressive body of testimony indicating that individuals who no longer are living in a fleshly body can express memory of themselves and also memories of those formerly known to them. Much careful investigation has been conducted. Amazing experiences have been recorded in which persons living in their fleshly bodies have communicated with persons no longer living on this earth. In these experiences the person who was “departed” (as we say) from this life revealed ability to transmit information of certain events that had not yet occurred in the physical world. The “soul” or “spirit” of the deceased person definitely expressed the same power of memory as was expressed during the physical lifetime. Though the person no longer had physical brain cells to tap for memories, he still possessed (and was able to recall) these memories.
One who believes that man exists not only as a flesh organism but also as a psychic organism called a soul, finds in such experiences confirmation of the fact that man has a soul. Or, more correctly, that man is a soul. This organization called a soul, while it inhabits the physical body during one’s lifetime, can function as an entity without the physical body.
If only we could stop thinking of ourself as a person consisting of a fleshly body, with some sort of vague thing connected with it called a soul! And if we could think of ourself as a living, vital, nonmaterial being which animates and uses this fleshly body, how great an advance in civilized living would be possible!
We would then be able to enlist in our service the superior mental resources of the nonphysical part of us, which functions on a level of intelligence far above the conscious mind. If we could develop our latent ability to use our faculties of seeing, for instance, on the soul level, how wonderful our sight would be! We could see anything, anywhere, on the earth’s surface. We could see the spoiled berries at the bottom of the box, underneath the fresh berries at the top. We could read a book without opening it. We could know intuitively, swiftly and surely, so much that we now may not fully grasp with the intellect even after years of study and research.
We would then understand that the faculty of memory is really a faculty of man’s soul. Man’s memory in its innermost phase has registered, in essence, all the manifold, multifarious experiences his soul has lived, since it first began an individual existence. The soul is the embodied essence of all man’s memories of existence.
But this type of memory is infinitely deeper and less accessible than the ordinary memory with which we are familiar. The verbal memory of names, words, faces, facts which works by the principle of association, the body memory by which we learn habits of action, which gives us physical reflexes, instinctive actions, and establishecf skills — these belong to what might be called the outer phase of memory. For convenience, let us call it the outer memory. The verbal memory works by association. We tend to remember things according to our estimate of their importance. We can remember with ease the name of a person whose good will is important to us because he is associated in our mind with some interest of ours, financial or social. It will pay us to remember his name.
In my opinion the inner memory depends mostly on feeling. It records things that once aroused a feeling reaction, whether of love, hate, or fear. It remembers things learned through feeling, things that delight or please. This phase of memory centers in what is called the emotional body. It learns by feeling.
Yet there is a still deeper, or higher, level of memory than these two. Let us call it the “true” memory. It is the divine reality of memory, the highest and truest expression of it. This true memory is not so much a faculty of man’s soul as it is of his higher Self, or Spirit. It is but little known. Yet this true memory holds in trust for man the secrets of his divine endowment as a creature created by God, in the image and likeness of God.
Because the divine man, the true idea of man, is the idea of a spiritual being, made by God out of God’s own substance and life, then this spiritual idea of man must partake of the divine nature, for there is nothing else for him to partake of. Being divine in essence, in his fundamental nature, he is unconscious of time. Since time as we know it is a product of the senses, experienced by the senses, then time pertains strictly to the material world of form and space.
However, Spirit knows no time. As Peter said, “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” I interpret this to mean that God is neither limited by, nor bound by, our human beliefs of time. God is Spirit, and Spirit knows only one time. Since Spirit is perfect now, then there is no need for change, which would involve a process, and a process would require time. Spirit is timeless. Since it is the belief in time that causes man to age, Spirit is ageless. Being ageless, Spirit is neither young nor old, but is changeless perfection of life.
The nearest thing to this changeless perfection of life we human beings can know is the glory of physical youth. It is then that vitality is at its peak, the mind is keen and impressionable, the senses are fresh and a perpetual source of delight, the body is glowing with energy, recuperative power is at its highest.
Our true memory remembers the spiritual essence of all this; it can be said to hold it in trust for us. So we can say that our true memory holds in trust for us the secret of true immortal youth, the glory of existence as it was once imaged for us on the highest level by our Creator.
How can we revive our true memory? We must first believe in it, believe that there is such a thing as a perfect spiritual memory. Second, we must know that our outer memory (by which we now memorize information or names or faces) and our inner memory (by which we remember feelings and emotional experiences) are in reality but phases of our true memory, which includes both of them in itself.
So we begin to establish in our mind the great fact that our true memory is a divine endowment. Being divine, it partakes of the immortal nature of all spiritual identity. Being divine, it need never fail. One should say earnestly and believingly:
My true memory is a gift of God.
One should affirm this almost endlessly, until he experiences an awakening of his power of remembering.
Since it has been proved by hypnosis that one actually does not forget any experience, and is able, when under hypnosis, to recall vivid details of experiences that are forgotten by the conscious mind, this would seem to support the theory that our memory is already perfect on the subconscious level. If memory is perfect on the subconscious level, what a wider range of powers it must have when operating on the superconscious level! This is our true memory. It can be revived and we can, by persistence, remember that we are truly immortal beings, right now. And, if we are immortal, then “Time shall not wither us, nor the years condemn.”
Let us use the energy of our imagination to make this idea more real to us. Picture to yourself a golden door, gleaming with its covering of precious metal, beautifully engraved with designs of a mystic tree, laden with fruits. The colors of the fruits have been worked out with precious stones, such as topaz, carnelian, ruby, sapphire, diamonds. On this door are engraved the words:
IF YOU CAN OPEN THIS DOOR, YOU CAN BE YOUNG FOREVER.
OPEN THIS DOOR, AND ENTER INTO ETERNAL YOUTHFULNESS.
But how does one open this golden door? There is no handle, no knob, no lock, no key. It is perfectly flush and tight all around; there is not a sign of a crack into which you could insert a knife blade or the thinnest wedge. You try to shake it. You pound on it. It is immovable as solid rock. Obviously if the door is to be opened, it must be by someone or something on the inside, not from where you are. If you could only open it, and walk through into immortal youthfulness! Then there would be for you no more age, no more failing powers. No more getting old, or heavy, or tired or wrinkled. Just to live at your peak, mentally, physically, and spiritually, forever! But oh, God, how do you open it?
From the inside, of course. But you are outside. Ah, but you can think of yourself being inside, can’t you? Well, what good would that do? Try it and see.
What is it like inside the golden door? Is there some magic element in the air inside, is it ionized so that you always feel fresh and vigorous? Does every breath you draw renew you like a good night’s sleep?
What do you see inside? Is there a garden filled with perfume of flowers? Is there a drinking fountain, whose waters sparkle in the clear golden light like diamond drops? Are there throngs of youthful-looking, happy people, all pleasant of face and busily enjoying each moment? What lies beyond the golden door? Can you think your way inside? Yes, you can. In fact, this is the only way to open the door. Think your way inside, and then open the door so that your flesh and blood and bones can walk in, and you and your body can enjoy youth together forever.
Since your true memory holds the secret of youth, then your true memory must be the golden door. And since you cannot open it from the outside, but have to think your way in, before you can open the door for your body to join you, then the meaning is that you must think so as to revive vour true memory, and make its treasures available to you — the conscious reasoning self of you.
How can you revive your true memory? You must affirm prayerfully that God within is reviving it for you. In addition to affirming faithfully and persistently, “My true memory is a gift from God,” you should affirm as well:
“God the faithful and true, the everliving Spirit, is my true memory. It is alive in God now.”
Gradually your true memory will awaken. This does not mean that you will necessarily have any supernatural occurrences. It does mean that your ordinary verbal and reasoning memory will improve. You will find yourself recalling needed facts, names, faces without effort and without error. You will be delighted by the keenness and dependability of your memory. But there is more to come than this. This is merely the first effect of awaking your true memory.
A still greater joy of awakening your true memory is to be able to remember and recall at will anything that is good and necessary for you to recall. Since this power of recall is a faculty of your true memory, and your true memory is a faculty of your divine endowment, it will never fail or pass away.
How distressing it is to see a person still in good health, and otherwise functioning normally, who is unable to recall things which happened a few moments before, although he can remember vividly events of half a century ago. This is one of the pathetic aspects of the race belief in the power of time to cause aging and failing powers. Awaken your true memory, clear your racial subconscious mind function of the belief in age, and your memory need never fail ... another boon from cultivating permanent youth.
We should also remember that memory thrives on use, and weakens with disuse. We must persistently cultivate this true memory, make use of it, and above all, nourish it. Does this sound strange, to speak of nourishing your memory? Everything that expresses life needs nourishment to sustain its existence. The memory is no exception.
However, the nourishment for your memory is less tangible than food and drink. It consists of such intangible but intensely real things as hope, optimism, enthusiasm, and joy. To nourish the memory, remember the good hopes you cherished, which you may have let languish over the years.
Can you remember one or two of them? Prompt your memory. Don’t try to force it, but take an attitude of optimism, a sunny assurance that your memory is unfailing so that this formerly cherished hope will easily be recalled to your conscious remembrance.
Real hope is confident desire for some form of good, coupled with keen anticipation and expectation of receiving it. When your unfailing memory honors your optimistic expectation of recalling this former hope, and presents it once again to your conscious recognition, be glad. Give thanks to your memory, as a valued friend who has done you a great service.
Be enthusiastic about cherishing and reviving this former hope if it is still good and still desirable. Affirm that you are drawing on the infinite capacity for enthusiasm that you have in the spiritual side of your nature.
Remember that hope, optimism, enthusiasm, and joy are like nourishing food for this memory which holds the secret of youth.
Try to believe that this wonderful faculty, your true memory, is as real as the memory with which you are already familiar. A mental faculty such as this seems almost to have an element of personality about it, inasmuch as it responds to recognition and praise just as a person does. So when you start to recognize this true memory by giving your attention and expectation to it, and by making an effort to be hopeful, optimistic, enthusiastic, and joyful about it, your memory will respond just as a person would.
There is probably not a person living who has not at some time made an effort to cultivate the friendship and good will of someone else. Each of us has an instinctive idea of how to go about it. It may require effort for us to treat one of our own mental faculties as though it were a person whose good will we were cultivating. But you would not be reading this unless you had the type of mind that understands what is meant, and is capable of doing it.
If you really want to open that golden door, and find the secret of immortal youthfulness, feed your true memory with youth-giving materials, with hope, optimism, enthusiasm, and joy.
Don’t just read this and think: “Isn’t that interesting! I must try it sometime.” Sometime is never. Do it now!
You must work at this. You must take it seriously if you want to be young again.
Do you really want to open that golden door? If your answer is yes, add this affirmation to the other two:
My true memory is nourished by divine pulsations of hope, optimism, enthusiasm, and joy. I bestow hearty blessings of praise upon this wonderful gift of God. And it responds by serving me more and more.
To Stay Young, Keep Moving
At eighty-seven, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Rudolf Friml, famous composer of operettas, was unwilling to rest on his musical laurels. He was turning to a new form of “highbrow music, a serious work. Asked why he took up the job of composing in a form which to him was new and unfamiliar, he replied: “My light operas and musical comedies were all right in my younger days. But now I have reached the time to do something more serious. Besides, I enjoy it. The challenge of it is stimulating.”
The world-renowned composer, who learned ballet dancing in his student days in Prague, is still youthfully agile and flexible, as he proved by doing gracefully the four basic ballet exercises. He back-kicked, dipped, and turned, causing his wife to plead, “Rudolf, please don’t overdo it!” How does he remain so youthful? He takes long walks through Sutro Forest and on the beach. On warmer days he takes dips in the ocean.
But “one must not walk like an old man,” he declared, hunching his shoulders, bowing his head and shuffling across the room. He then stood erect with head high and walked with quick, stomping steps back across the room. “You see the difference?” he asked.