Does the Course have any advice about cutting off memories?

Q. I’ve found that the memories that keep coming up are a major factor in sustaining the ego. Does the Course have any advice about cutting off memories?

A. You could really say that the whole Course is about that, in that it’s about undoing the past and freeing us from its burden.

I’ll tell you what I’ve been focusing on lately in this regard. Based on advice in Lessons 153 and 193, I’ve been trying each hour to fully put to bed the previous hour. This involves searching my mind for things that I am still carrying from that hour, whether in the form of anxiety, guilt, or resentment. Then I try to see each of those things differently by applying my lesson for the day to them.

Then I remind myself that that previous hour really is gone. It no longer exists. As Jesus said to Helen and Bill, “Whenever we move from one instant to the next, the previous one no longer exists.” It exists only in my mind, and, of course, to treat as real something that is obviously nonexistent is a delusional state. Yet it’s a voluntary delusion, one that I can dispense with.

I also search my mind for things from that hour that feel like gifts from God. These might be expressions of love, shifts in perception, new insights, beneficial practice periods—anything that feels like God’s blessing getting through. I then thank God for those and for the gifts from Him I didn’t notice.

This way I am entering each new hour carrying only the good with me, leaving all else behind. And this is what the Course wants us to do: “To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten” (T-17.III.1:1-2).

I am finding that I tend to carry a whole timeline in my mind, one that is full of anxiety-points, guilt-points, and resentment-points. As a result, I’m finding this practice to be surprisingly liberating. I think unless we consciously work at keeping our mind free of the past, by force of habit we will carry it along with us.

Anyway, thank you for your question and I hope there is something in what I’ve shared that can be of help.

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