Sunday, 23 September 2018

Where are our memories stored?

On spirituality, I want to write about where I have arrived in my beliefs! For many years I accepted (or maybe not) conventional Christian teaching. But little by little, I can see that the secular world can provide many of the answers that I seek. Healing is something that I have attempted to do during many years after first meeting Matthew Manning. And it exists in the secular world as well as in the religious context.

But then my thoughts have moved on further. I see the house-martins swooping and gliding around their nests here during the summer and I think to myself, "These are just atoms?" because everything is ultimately made up of atoms. There has to more to it than that. And then another puzzle that I have had in my head for many years. Memory. Is that all retained inside the skull rather like a large computer store? Even taking into account the billions of neurones in the brain, I still can't see how memories together with their associated feelings are simply cells switching on and off. So I have come to the conclusion that the more that we discover in physics, the less we understand. For some reason I used to enjoy taking TV sets apart when I was young as if to discover the magic of how they worked. And of course, there was no more point in doing that than taking a house-martin apart! And the sound and pictures came from somewhere else. I see the brain as a kind of communicating device using that analogy of a TV.

I tend to believe that memories are physically accessed somewhere outside the head. Maybe not all memories. Of course I don't know. But there has to be some kind of communication going on that we don't yet know about. I just cannot see how I can re-experience an event in the past from the state of neurones in my head. It is too pat. Attempts to locate where memories are stored in the brain end up in frustration. The pianist John Lill used to describe how he felt that Beethoven was sitting on the piano stool next to him. Maybe he was. I am currently reading Science Set Free by Rupert Sheldrake who discusses these ideas, he uses the term, "morphic resonance". There is so much that we don't know. Each generation says things like, "Flying machines are impossible," and yet we look back with a wry smile. Maybe in 20 or 30 years, we will look back and say, "...and we imagined that memory was all inside the head".

There is a great deal of evidence to support these theories and in any case, are we really saying that we know everything now about physics?  Or that the theory of everything is just round the corner? Turn the corner and there is another corner!

I believe there is an existence beyond this physical life but I have not come to that conclusion through religious faith; my logic tells me so, from my own experience and from what I read from well validated sources. For that reason I have no difficulty in believing in the Resurrection and Jesus returning to visit his disciples on the Road to Emmaus. I believe in miracles except that I don't like the word because it implies something special, sufficient for one to be canonised in the Roman Catholic Church. Miracles happen every day. We all have the ability to heal to a greater or lesser extent but with the power of God which I imagine as all around us. Jesus taught his disciples to heal, and that includes us too! I believe that Jesus taught that we are all divine, God in Us. He was sent from God but not in a literal sense, I believe he was human, but of course an exceptional human.

For many years science and religion have seemed totally imcompatible, opposites, as if science with its incremental knowledge is somehow chipping away at religious belief. But this has not happened. For each step in knowledge in physics both very big and very small, it only seems to demonstrate (to me at least) that there is something totally beyond our ability to understand or even describe. Call it God if you like. My path is as a Christian but there are many religions all on basically the same track, each with its own term for God. I will end.... I feel, God all around, not "up there", in some kind of human form. Now that I do find difficult to believe!
I wrote more about this in my blog, "Stories from my Life".....

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