These two words already remind me of many things: clocks, watches, the past, karma, and whether time is a mere illusion. Time is perceived as a linear arrow, and on this arrow, we could place different memories of a person’s timeline.
Memories are situated in different timelines of a person’s life. Memories may trigger an array of emotions, notably, one of which is nostalgia—a complex and mixed emotion that is usually described as a sentimental longing of the past, with feelings of joyful sadness, longing or yearning for a different kind of space in the past, and so on.
Dwelling too much in the past may not be such a good idea for psychological health, particularly when these dwellings are filled with negative memories involving regret, depression, trauma, distorted views of reality, and other such baggage.
Memory can be a boon or a bane—and we can consciously choose to remember uplifting memories. A particular type of memory called Associative Memory comes into play when we encounter something in our environment and we consciously or subconsciously remember something from the past. It could be people, places, experiences, emotions, or information.
Like it or not, the human experience is not a unidimensional experience. It has both pain and pleasure. We can choose to not suffer by letting go of the pain.
Speaking of which, the complex emotion, nostalgia was once considered to be a disease. Today, it has been accepted that nostalgia is a mélange of both pleasure and pain. In fact, when I was listening to a pretty nostalgic song recently on YouTube, I happened to come across someone’s comment pertaining to the theme of nostalgia. They had quipped, “Nostalgia is the most beautiful pain.”
Usually, the term “nostalgia” is used with reference to the past. We think about the past and we speculate the future. We can also be mindful, instead of simply running on autopilot mode. So, if we can engage in mental time travel, why not choose to mindfully envisage a bright and beautiful future on a regular basis, making it an “Atomic Habit?” Does it ring a bell?
Every single day, we’re bombarded with tons of information, due to the inevitable influence of media and technology. There’s no escaping that, unless we opt for a complete “Digital Detox” every now and then. Consciously or subconsciously, things in the external environment may trigger negative memories of the past. This could drain our energy, cause us to become perturbed, and leave us feeling blue.
Author Clay Routledge in his 2015 book titled Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource contends that thinking about time affects people and especially thoughts about the future affect the present. I think that here lies great potential for consciously and mindfully manifesting the future. After all, thoughts become things. Drawing from Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book entitled The Biology of Belief, thoughts turn into beliefs, which in turn shape biology.
Here are some practical scenarios to mindfully manifest the future using the power of associative memory.
(I will provide an example of how to do it, and you can choose to do the same whenever you encounter any stimuli in your environment.)
1. Let’s say I see number 8. Instead of letting my mind wander and ruminate about a particular bad memory associated with number 8, I will intentionally say this to myself mentally: “The number 8 represents infinity and infinite potential. We’re all spiritual beings with infinite potential, and there are infinite possibilities. Now onward, every time I see the number 8, I would feel empowered, badass, and level up!”
2. I spot a book in a bookstore, which has the title “Gossip Girl.” I happen to think about how regular gossip actually lowers a person’s vibrations. I could instead associate the word “gossip” with something more uplifting, such as: “Let me rise above all those who are still functioning at a lower vibe, wasting their time discussing about other people, engaging in gossip to kill time.”
And then I close my eyes for a few moments, envision myself with my girl pals, reading a Gossip Girl book in another language, apart from English, to hone our language skills.
3. Let’s consider another scenario where I see a door of a building that has someone’s name I detest—for example, Melinda. I take a few deep breaths and subconsciously get reminded of another person whom I know well with a similar name, and this happens to be a tremendously amicable person. And her name is Belinda! I would think of the memorable times I spent with my friend Belinda. I would send her positive energy, love, and gratitude for being the beautiful person that she is. Now that’s how I would make the conscious mental shift.
So, these are some explanatory scenarios, and if you take this on as a daily practice, it would reap phenomenal benefits. Initially, it may seem cumbersome and effortful. By and by, by inculcating this practice of mindful manifestation into our daily routine, it could indeed help us let go of the baggage of the past and make the road smoother.
So, do make this practice a mindful choice and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses along the way! Manifest a nostalgic future that you’ll reminisce about.