Good Old Ways


By Monish Chhabra ǀ August 21, 2018

Nikolay Kukushkin, a neuroscientist, says that when you dig into molecules, and the states of ion channels, enzymes, transcription programs, cells, synapses, and whole networks of neurons, you come to realize that there is no one place in the brain where memories are stored.

This is also what Robert Epstein, a research psychologist, concurs with - our brain is not like a computer. We don’t store things in our brain at any specific location. Nor do we retrieve information or images or words from memory registers. Computers do all of these things, but organisms do not.

What happens, according to Epstein, is that every sensory experience changes us in some way. Specifically, it changes our brain, in some orderly manner.

A memory is not something that is saved in us. It is something that changed in us.

Our brain has 86 billion neurons, which are connected to each other through 100 trillion interconnections, and each connection point has more than 1,000 proteins.

Epstein explains that for any given experience, a change in our brain starts with how many neurons are involved in that particular experience; a thousand, a million, or even the entire brain.

For those involved, the strength of the connections between these neurons also play a key role. The experience determines how strong are these connections, which in turn influence the change produced (i.e. the memory formed). The state of the proteins at each connection also plays a part.

Furthermore, how the brain changes in response to an experience, depends upon the unique structure of that brain, built over a lifetime of its own experiences. The moment-to-moment activity over its life and the social setting where it developed, makes every brain unique.

Epstein states that the unique neural structure in each of us, creates a different pattern of change in each brain. No two of us are changed the same way by the same experience.

Thus, how we experience something and remember it, depends upon how our brain is involved in that experience at that instant, as well as its entire history from the beginning of life.

No experience will form the same memory, in two different people, or even in the same person if experienced at a different time.

Each experience and its memory is subjective, to the time of its occurrence and the person it occurs to.

We are our memory

Memory is not somewhere inside us. Our brain - in fact, our entire body - is the memory itself.

We change and we form, as we experience things.

Our experience depends upon what we have inherited in us, and what we choose to carry.

It is our choice. We need not carry just, or all, that we receive.

There are some paths we are more inclined to take, owing to how we have formed so far. However, it is still up to us to deny an old way. To deny what comes impulsively. To choose something else. Though, breaking away from old rehearsed ways, can feel like being lost.

Old patterns are our user manual to life. That’s all we know. Even if we realize that something we do doesn't work, we may not know what else to do.

Well, do nothing. Release the thought. Suspend it. Suspend all that comes with it. Let it hang in ether.

Do nothing, until a way comes to you. A way that feels sufficient and complete, just in itself. It needs nothing else with it. It has nothing before it, nothing after it. It comes...if we wait...if we are ready.

Moment-by-moment, we can learn to choose what we carry. We can learn to experience life the way we ‘want’ to, not just the way we are ‘made’ to.

We do have a choice. In how we experience whatever happens to us, what we remember of it, and how we form. It is not set. It is not standard.

The consciousness of choice and the willingness to make it, is the real battle. A battle for real freedom. The one inside us.

Drop the load. Choose what you carry.

Form your experience. Form yourself.

This write-up is for informational purpose only. It may contain inputs from other sources, but represents only the author’s views and opinions. It is not an offer or solicitation for any service or product. It should not be relied upon, used or construed as recommendation or advice. This report has been prepared in good faith. No representation is made as to the accuracy of the information it contains, nor any commitment to update it.