Some of our memories may have scarred us – memories of abuses we have suffered or allurements we have succumbed to may agitate us whenever we recollect them.
We can press a delete button to remove unwanted files on our computer, but we don’t have any similar delete button to remove unwanted memories from our mind. Does that mean we are stuck with those memories lifelong? No, because we can choose what we remember.
Memories that are recollected get activated. If we avoid recollecting unwholesome memories, they can’t harm us that much. Suppose, for example, we are somehow unable to delete some files on our computer. Still, those files can’t harm us if we are careful enough to not open them. The same applies to unactivated memories.
How can we avoid remembering unwholesome memories? By being constructively engaged so that our mind becomes filled with the present instead of replaying the past. Such engagement also helps us create positive memories. And these memories being more recent can be more easily recollected if we are just diligent enough to cherish and relish them.
The most constructive engagement and the most potent memory-creator is bhakti-yoga, for it connects our consciousness with all-pure, all-potent Krishna. When we perform devotional activities wholeheartedly in the association of devotees who are intensely devoted to Krishna, we get many stimulating experiences. These become sources of fulfilling absorption and joyful recollection. With our outer and inner world thus brightened by Krishna’s auspicious presence, the darkness of past unsavory memories can no longer trouble us. The Bhagavad-gita (18.58) assures that if we become conscious of Krishna, we can overcome all obstacles. “All obstacles” includes the obstacles of unwholesome memories.
By resolving to remember Krishna, not unwholesome memories, we can redefine our inner world and thereby our outer world.