Question of the Week: 11/26 - 12/02

Is Relationship Based on Memory? When we say "Relationship," what exactly do we mean? Is it simply a collection of memories that one has about certain people, or is it something more? Is there a living, fresh perspective through memory? Or is memory always old, and devoid of real energy?

Can memory tell us anything about the present moment? Or can it only be held in front of reality as a filter?

What is Relationship?

If we approach relationship through our collected memories, viewing others based on what we have known, what are we actually seeing? Are we actually seeing the person before us, or are we seeing our memories of that person? If I want to really see another person, do I want my memory there, telling me what I should be seeing?

And what about meeting someone for the first time? Even though we do not have direct memories of them, isn't it true that we still use our memories to tell us what could be true?

Seeing and living through this prejudice is what so many of us do, but why do we continue with it?

Living in this way, is relationship possible? Can we see anything new when we see through the lens of the past? Can I see another person in the present moment, when I can only know them through memory?

To relate is to be present, to be fresh, from beginning to end. To be with the person you are with completely, never giving in to should or should not. Seeing things as they are, and being there at every moment, down to the millisecond. Can this be done if one relies on memory?

If I meet with any of you, why should I use my memories to tell me about you? It is just a fantasy. And if I wanted to have a fantasy, I could have stayed at home. I know it seems like the only thing to do, and in fact, I am sure that most of you have never thought once about it. But it pulls you away from the present moment and pushes you into a false reality.

For example, what happens if you go to a restaurant and are treated badly by the waiter. Maybe you are calm, maybe you are furious, but that is not so important. Whatever the case may be, you store up that incident, perhaps say a bad word or two, but otherwise, that is it. It doesn't seem so bad, does it?

But, what happens when you return to that restaurant one week later and see the same waiter?

There's that jerk from the other night! Why do they let people like that work here? You can see it on his face. You know tonight is going to be bad. You know we'll be put in his section again!

Meanwhile, the waiter is just standing there, mopping the floor. The only thing that happened is your memory altering the present reality. The waiter might have changed in countless ways since your last encounter, but you will never know. Your mind has already solidified him as a jerk, so that is all you can see.

If I want to relate to another person, what happens if I view him or her through my memories? Is anything real being seen? Why should I solidify another person to suit my own mental framework? That effectively kills them, ending the chance to have any kind of relationship.

How do you see?

Sit down with one of your closest friends, or at least, someone you know very well. How do you see them? In what way is your memory working? How does it tell you what to expect? If you can only see the things that you have done before, then what are you really seeing?

Can you see them without memory? I do not mean to say that you suppress anything or try to forget. But can you look at them, take them in completely, for the first time, even if you already know them?

Obviously there may be a rapport established along with a certain level of comfort. Long time friends also have inside jokes, and a wide pool of experiences to draw from. Those things are always there, and can be used to create a kind of linguistic fluency you might not have with a stranger.

But let's say that this person you sit down with is always compassionate and caring with you. However, this time, for whatever reason, he or she is completely hateful to you, tearing you down. What happens to you in that situation?

If you build up expectations through your memories of that person, what happens when those expectations are not met?

What would happen in that same situation if, even though you have all of the memories, you were completely present and alive. If you were there from moment to moment, what would happen?

How do memories of a person affect your relationship with them?