All of us carry knots of sad memories, even if we think we have moved on. In fact, unpleasant experiences may leave us with strong impressions, as though they were etched on solid rocks. And the mind tend to live and relive those moments with all the negative emotions attached for long times. Contrast them with pleasant moments. They fly off the mind canvas sooner than later. In fact, happy moments are akin to letters written on sand. The impressions left by these moments are wiped out as soon as a new wave of event hits the shore.
No wonder many of us live with bagfuls of sad memories, though most of them lie latent. The problem is such memories, even being latent, influence our thought process. It is like stretching “once-bitten twice shy” adage too much. We become increasingly anxious, fearful and angry as we age, accumulating more and more sad memories in the process. In extreme cases, it may lead to mental illness.
Thankfully, we can reverse this trend once we become aware that the mind is filled with more negativity than positive feelings. Ancient sage Patanjali, the father of Yoga, has suggested a yogic method to train the mind.
“To be free from thoughts that distract one from Yoga, thoughts of an opposite kind must be cultivated,” he said thousands of years ago. This strategy should help deal with negativity as well. Replace negative thoughts and sad memories with positive thoughts and happy memories.
Patanjali’s formula for meditation is a perfect antidote to mental problems. The three-phased meditation, (Dharana, Dhyana and Samyma) starts with focusing on a single thought for long time. Focusing makes the mind calmer and helps the person reach the deeper recess of the mind. In the process the latent knots of old impressions come unravelling, loosening their emotional sting. Thus the person can become free of traumatic memories.
While this yogic method is highly desirable to get rid of baggage from the past, one can start with merely replacing sad thoughts with happy ones, whenever one becomes aware of such a thought in one’s mind.