Are Memories Timeless Treasures Or Learning Experiences?


Memories are those endless treasures, which we can keep exploring till eternity and bask in their glory like a slow swinging hammock!

Like Ellen Hopkins, let me ‘open that bottle of memories they’re pouring out like wine, crimson and bittersweet.’

We can completely get immersed the moment they start pouring out!

Heartwarming memories, some sweet, some bitter and vivid, long-lasting and precious…unforgettable fond memories, haunt us if we happen to be sensitive as they have a profound connection with our emotions.

Some memories stand before us with extended arms, ready to embrace us lovingly…the first crush, those hands ensconced into each other’s, those amorous glances…that walk in the rain, huddling together…the touch of your new born child, the most precious possession…myriad such moments are stored effortlessly in the mind’s eye.

Happy memories yearn for those times to return, resist and resent change.

Unhappy memories are tenacious, they get entrenched in our minds retaining their ghost like exterior… they can tear us apart with their piercing, menacing eyes.

Repressed memories get embedded in the subconscious mind despite our best efforts to shove them out.

Sometimes I have to close that inward eye to stop the reel of memories so that they bounce back into the subconscious mind.

Sometimes I hear those loud voices…let go…forget the past…detach, I dump all those memories and choose only joyous ones yet they keep returning whenever the connection emerges.

One of my colleagues had a magical eraser, which didn’t leave any mark on the sheet. Sometimes I wish such an eraser could be invented to expunge unwanted memories from our memory bank!

Have you ever thought why certain memories keep coming back?

Have you ever wondered why certain facts, songs, statements or situations can be recalled without any effort whereas important information or textual details have to be read again and again to recollect them?

Psychologists have called the former as implicit memory and the latter as explicit memory

It is this memory, which is called implicit that holds our moments…moments of delight, of exhilaration, of accomplishment, of pride and countless such emotional instants.

We hold them in high esteem, clutch them as if they were the only possessions worthmemories keeping and derive pleasure out of them during our hours of solitude. We keep interacting with them till we realize their material nature.

They come with a large baggage, which we refuse to give up!

“Forgetting isn’t enough. You can paddle away from the memories and think they are gone. But they will keep floating back, again and again and again. They circle you, like sharks.” – Sara Zarr

They also come with some profound lessons if we are ready to discern and digest:

  • Childhood memories are the strongest reminders of love and affection. Handle children with care.
  • Don’t invest all your emotions in one person. Memories of such a person can drain you.
  • Attachments are aching reminders of fond memories.
  • Dwelling in the past is futile as it retrieves painful memories.
  • All people we meet leave an impact on our life. Avoid negative people as much as you can.
  • Memorable people affect us deeply with their qualities. They give us good memories.
  • Earliest happy memories convey life-lessons of happiness and relaxation, which are picked up from parents and siblings.

Memories are like roses of various hues in their raw form, thorns are the natural attachments unless we scratch them away. I have embraced all the shades and tones and learnt from each one of them. I had no choice.

During the prime of our life we keep gathering them, unaware of the thistles, which start piercing us as we mature.

I have a very vivid childhood memory of a thorn, which pricked me, broke and got embedded in my finger. I came running to my mom, crying and wondering whether she could lessen my pain. She pulled the thorn out mercilessly, without caring to be soft.

I wish this memory too could have been pulled out as harmlessly as that thorn!

But memories are etched permanently on the canvas of our mind.

Do you have such memories? Have they been your learning experiences? I would love to hear your views.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.


22 thoughts on “Are Memories Timeless Treasures Or Learning Experiences?

  1. Hi Balroop,

    Wonderful indeed 🙂

    Yes, memories are always a part of us and no matter whether they are the good or bad ones, they remain and always teach us a lesson, which perhaps we go back to or learn from much later in time.

    Having lost my mom when my kids were very young, my memories of my mom raising us is what keeps me going and inspires me to do the same with my kids now, who are well into their teens. So, those are the mixture of the good and sad memories, but they teach me so much. While other memories, like the one I had of my near fatal accident, only teaches me appreciate life much more now.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Oh yes! memories do teach us how valuable this life is! Thanks for adding a very relevant point. I am so glad that the memories of your mom have been guiding you. It is a very natural part of our personality, we pick up lot of habits and mannerisms from our moms. I remember how much of cleanliness about our home and surroundings was emphasised on us by my mother. I resented it at that time but unconsciously picked it up as an essential virtue and passed it on to the next generation! 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your mom’s memories and taking me down that lane. Have a blessed week.

  2. Poetic post, Balroop. I think the memories that stick with us the strongest are tied to events in the past where we experienced strong feelings, positive or negative. Emotions and feelings are tied to the heart, and more often than not, the heart doesn’t forget.

    Agree with you that we should try to avoid negative people as much as possible. Take what they say with a pinch of salt and move on. The more negative we are, the more we will wallow in negative thoughts and I don’t think that will translate into many happy memories 🙂

    1. Hi Mabel,

      Thanks for lovely words of appreciation. Some memories are hard to forget and most of them happen to be unpleasant because they leave a deeper impact on us, probably we struggled at that time with anguish and lack of understanding.

      Happy memories fade faster just like happy moments, which just fleet by! A poet has expressed his yearning for such moments so beautifully…’I wish moments were birds, I could have caged them, nurtured them with my love and care, would have fed them with precious, golden seeds and would have kept them closest to my heart.’ ( translated version)

  3. As Mabel says, this article has a poetic quality to it Balroop, as well as a very practical philosophical one too if I may say so. All best wishes, Hariod. ❤

    1. Thanks Hariod! I am glad you too found it poetic and the bigger compliment which I love is that it contains practical philosophy! Can philosophy be practical?

      1. “Can philosophy be practical?”

        Yes, I would certainly say so Balroop; after all, it simply means ‘lover of wisdom’, and wisdom applied is a highly practical quality is it not? It seems to me that is largely what your efforts here are about in fact. Hariod ❤

      2. Probably you are right Hariod…never pondered over this thought. 🙂 Thanks for a thought-provoking answer, trying to chew it. I write just for the sheer joy of sharing my thoughts and it feels good.

  4. The many faces of memories, good, bad and ugly, are beautifully etched here, balroop. Memories are indeed treasures and learning experiences, as they serve as reference points guiding us through life’s journey. While we all have good and bad memories, it is critically important that we do not waste time wallowing in the bad and ugly ones. To my mind, memory is a muscle capable of being stretched with consistent practise; most of events, life’s learning and experiences can be recalled provided these are stored in our mental chips mixed with a dash of fondness and liking. What we are fond of is remembered for ever, and the opposite is staged in some inner recesses often fading into oblivion or recalled only with laboured effort. Life well lived on a day to day basis, makes one richer in that it adds to the bank of pleasant and eventful memories, with many of these acquiring lives of their own as constantly enlarging ripples in other peoples’ minds, long after one has left the scene, to serve as signposts in a fast moving world…best wishes…

    1. Hi Raj,

      We do waste a lot of time in wallowing when we are young and immature to comprehend the futility of ‘bad and ugly’ memories. It is only when we learn to move on thorny paths do we realize that memory banks are not voluntary, the investments automatically get saved and bad debts never get paid!

      I feel even if we live our life to the best of our ability, certain moments are bound to be unpleasant, certain situations are beyond our control and life is not always fair and rosy. Thanks for sharing your insights, they are greatly appreciated. Stay blessed, dear friend.

  5. Excellent post as always… I think that when it comes to memories there might be as you said a sort of dialectic game between the good and the bad ones… Relationships would last longer if we keep i mind the good things… At least if we are talking about good bonds…
    Thanks for sharing, dear Balroop! … all the very best to you! Aquileana ⭐

    1. Thanks Aquileana…I like that phrase…”dialectic game”! Yes, memories do play hide and seek of laughter and tears but relationships are quite unpredictable. They are a two way process, one person can’t make them work well. Stay blessed and have a nice weekend! 🙂

  6. I love this post, Balroop! I think our memories are both treasure and learning experiences. They make us who we are today. This makes me think of that Jim Carrey movies where he gets his memory erased of the girl who broke his heart. It’s kind of sad. WE always want our memories even if they are painful.

    1. Dear Lisa, you seem to be my emotional pal…all memories are fondly remembered by me too, even the painful ones! But this kind of outlook comes with age and experiences of handling the challenges of life.

      Thank you dear friend, you are awesome! 🙂

  7. Memories are wonderful — it’s only when we take the trigger out of them that we can see them in the light of knowing the many gifts they bring.

    Lovely post Balroop.

    1. Thanks Louise, who can understand memories better than you! You are an epitome of lovely moments, which are so well illustrated in your art and words. Stay blessed.

  8. Very beautiful post, and it is astonishing how many strong and powerful memories there are (from sweet to bittersweet to sad and frustrating)… It makes us who we are, and I think each type positively moves us forward in understanding who we are (and what life is about). Great writing as always.

    1. Thanks Randall, I am so glad that this post evokes all those memories, which play a decisive role in our lives. Yes, life is like that…it gets enriched with all sorts of memories and all get recorded in our mind’s eye!

      I appreciate your perspective.

  9. Life takes on the meaning we give it. Even though I’ve had a bad go of luck lately in my life, I remind myself life is random. Because as much as I’ve been hurt, a recent event also proved to me that life-changing happy memories are just as random and can find us at any point in our lives as well. My therapist keeps telling me the goal of my sessions is to decide what I want to learn from all that’s happened, so part of that means what I want to learn from my memories.

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