Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

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Cleric K
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Cleric K »

Hedge90 wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 4:10 pm Well, I'd say memory is an archive of my previous experiential states, organised in order of their perceived significance or usefulness by some faculty of my mind. Things that had a great emotional impact, for example, will be easy to recall, while the name of a small grocery store I walked by once yesterday will be almost impossible to.
Secondly, memory also seems to serve the purpose of creating a sense of continuity and a way to identify patterns. It is memory that makes me able to identify myself in any manner, as well as to steer my actions based on what I can conclude to be the best course based on the archived states I can recall (or at least integrated subconsciously).
I have no idea about where memory is stored though (and neither do scientists, really), and what the mechanism of retrieval is.
Before we answer the original question we need to prepare the grounds a little more. As said, we're rarely aware that when we ask certain questions, we presuppose the framework in which we seek the answers. When in doubt, we can always step back and see what the given tells us.

As always, we should try to distinguish what is really given and what has become what it is only after we have worked upon it with thinking. Initially we have color, tone, taste, feelings, thoughts, etc. These form an amalgamation we call the world content. Splitting the world content into sensory perceptions informing us about an outer objective world and inner conscious phenomena, is something that is achieved only through thinking (even though quite unknowingly for most).

Our understanding of memory is one such thing which presupposes certain way of thinking about the world and time. We generally imagine the world as a giant clock - mechanical or spiritual - which ticks along in time. Our consciousness is seen as a perspective of this clock that follows its ticking which feels quite independent of our consciousness and what we think of it. Memory in this sense is seen as the possibility to preserve pictures of the ticking progression. Hedge is quite correct that it is thanks to this memory that we at all have a feeling for continuity of consciousness through time.

I hope it's easily seen how many fundamental questions all this poses. We have the mystery of the world clock/being. We have the mystery of our own conscious aperture of the clock (why I am me ...). We have the mystery of memory - what is it, where is it stored, what is memory in the incorporeal state, etc. All of this proceeds from the fact that even without knowing, we presuppose a quite specific way of thinking about reality. We set out to build a mental model of the world clock and then begin asking questions about how that model fits with our observations.

Let's see if we can find an alternative way of thinking about these things. In our conscious life we continuously do things. When we work with the device that we're now using to write/read these words, we're doing certain things - pointing, clicking, tapping, scrolling, dragging, etc. In other words, we know that if we want to open the forum and check for new posts we need to perform certain gestures with our hands. But let's back up a little more and try to investigate what we're doing in order to do the gestures themselves? Look at your hand, focus on a finger and will its movement. Do that for different fingers one at a time. Try to feel how intricate these movements can be, how finely they can be controlled. It's not like we have single button for each finger which either clenches or extends it. We have quite continuous control over its motion. Now really try to pay attention to what exactly you're doing in order to move the fingers? It's not very easy, is it? It's almost like magic. There're no buttons that we can point at and say "When I want to move my finger I press this button". Furthermore, even this was possible it would only regress the problem because we're left with the exact same question about pressing the button that controls the finger.

Nevertheless, we can state generally that we have certain degrees of freedom of our spiritual activity. We don't know the exact details but somehow it is possible to thoughtfully will the movements of our fingers. There are many questions. For example, we can't tell exactly how we chose the order in which we moved our fingers. The important thing is that somehow we know what inner spiritual gesture we should perform in order to accomplish the most varied movements. Try to appreciate for a moment how astonishingly complicated that 'keyboard' would be if we had to objectify every little thing that we can will in relation to our body. All the time we do with ease things that are marvelously complicated. Yet we have no problem to immediately know what we need to do in order to move our toe instead of our thumb.

Things become exponentially more complicated when we consider how our spiritual activity expresses in feeling and most importantly - in thinking. Somehow we know what to do if we want to put words in logical sequence in our mind.

Now things become interesting when we realize that we also perform certain thinking gestures when we remember things. This allows us to look on memory in a very interesting way. Imagine how everything we learn increases the degrees of freedom of our spiritual activity. When we learn to ride a bicycle, when we learn something on the news, when we learn certain mathematical skills, all of this leads to increase of spiritual degrees of freedom, it is as if new buttons are added to our spiritual keyboard. Well, when we see things in this way, we realize that the flow of Time is practically continuous increase of these degrees of freedom. Even if we don't learn anything significant, from moment to moment, our inner palette nevertheless grows. For example, at the moment you clicked on the link that led you to this post, you've attained new degrees of freedom. It's like new 'fingers' have been discovered which can be activated with their unique inner spiritual gestures. To remember the moment when you began reading this post, something must be done. It is a different inner gesture compared to if you want to remember what you had for breakfast. Or what you had for breakfast yesterday.

This is quite an unusual way to look at things. But please take note that we're entirely within the given. Everything that we have said is purely phenomenological investigation. We don't postulate world structure, we don't postulate what time is, we don't postulate what consciousness is. We simply observe the kinds of activity we do in order to will bodily movement, to feel, to think and to remember things. Then, when we avoid to postulate time as abstract concept but instead try to read it out of the given, we can understand it as constant increase in our degrees of freedom. We continually gain new skills to remember new moments. We're staying within concrete knowledge. We don't speak about abstract memory which we must explain, instead we simply speak of the concrete inner activities which we perform in order to remember.

Here I would like to point out that 'remembering' doesn't postulate some return in time to a previous state. It is simply the utilization of a degree of freedom that we have acquired. When we learn a skill with our hand, when we perform that skill we don't return in time but experience new states which utilize that skill. Similarly, when we remember something, we don't simply return in time but we experience new state where we utilize the remembering degree of freedom. This act in itself becomes a new degree of freedom which allows us to think/remember that we remembered the past event.

Another important observation, which I have pointed out many times, is that we can experience time flow in a direction in which the degrees of freedom continuously increase. If every next state of being doesn't contain the previous as a degree of freedom through which we can remember it, then it wouldn't be possible to have the experience of time flow. We arrive to an explanation for the arrow of time purely from inner observation. This arrow becomes a mystery only when we presuppose a world independent of spiritual experience because we then need different laws for the world-in-itself and laws which explain the continuity of consciousness. 

In this way, through pure observation and thinking, we see that if we're not to postulate metaphysical models of the world, we can simply assess the given and recognize that we're continuously utilizing our degrees of freedom of spiritual activity and they continuously grow, which among other things, gives us also the sense of continuity in time. These things can really be understood if we think them in the sense of (T). Only there we can experience this continual spiritual activity which implodes as memory (the degrees of freedom for remembering).

I'll stop here. Let's see if these things are clear. Then we'll have more solid foundation to continue further.
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

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Thanks, I think this is mostly clear, or at least I don't have any questions yet.
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Cleric K
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

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Hedge90 wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:39 am Thanks, I think this is mostly clear, or at least I don't have any questions yet.
Great! I'll be get back to you soon.
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Cleric K »

Hedge90 wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:39 am Thanks, I think this is mostly clear, or at least I don't have any questions yet.
Alright. So we established that if we stick firmly to the given, we can speak with certainty about a continuous metamorphosis of our state of being. Within this flux of phenomena we find out that we're active. We perform certain spiritual activities which lead to recognizable effects in the world content. We know that through development we continuously expand the palette of possible forms (degrees of freedom) that our spiritual activity can take. We saw that even Time can be seen as steady increase of this palette.

Before continuing we need to understand better the different kinds spiritual activity that we can manifest. I tried to improvise a small visualization of what we're about to talk:

Click here for visualization

The visualization attempts to picture an idealized process of ascending to Imaginative cognition. Initially we have our everyday cognition. This is symbolized by the light spot moving around. In our normal consciousness (beta brainwaves) our thoughts usually jump around quite haphazardly.

Then we begin to gather all our dissipated forces of spiritual activity and bring them to a single point. This is symbolized by the gradual spiraling of thinking into the center. This is quite the same as what was spoken about the hysteresis process.

Please not that this type of meditation is different from what is popularly understood as meditation, which is usually some kind of letting go of all thoughts and feelings and trying to observe them detachedly. Here in contrast, we try to gather our spiritual activity and focus it as a laser in a single image. We let go of the peripheral phenomena and try to feel how our activity flows in the image. The image is direct reflection of our activity as in (T).

When we're able sustain this concentration for prolonged time, our center of concentration feels as if it begins to grow. This is exemplified with the enlargement of the circle in the center.

Here we arrive at a critical point. We begin to experience densifying of meaning, it feels as if the spot of our concentration, which gradually comes to fill the entirety of consciousness, becomes more and more richly textured. At this point, we're tempted to focus on the details of this densifying meaning. This is exactly what we must avoid. Doing so simply decoheres the image and we drop back to the hectic movement of our familiar thinking gestures. This is especially difficult if we have formed prejudiced notions on consciousness through psychedelics (me included). Out of psychedelic habit we want the image to rise before us as objective panorama. This causes us to withdraw our intensive activity, which supports the image in the first place, and observe it on its own. This however simply dismantles the image.

The key here is that the expanding panorama is not simply filling our consciousness with visions. I've pointed attention to this many times but I'm still not sure it is understood at all. Visionary states (no matter if psychedelic or otherwise attained) present us with inexplicable conscious content which we ultimately must think about through the concepts we possess. In the meditation we picture here, this is not the case. We can never understand this if we haven't tried to observe our thinking (similarly to the vowels exercise in the TCOTCT). The image of concentration is not something that we find ready-made which we then begin to interpret with our thinking. It is the expression of thinking itself, just as the sound we hear in our mind is that expression. Here we simply gather the forces that move our inner voice and everything else, and willfully concentrate them in the image. The image is not there to be separated from our activity and then contemplated. This simply polarizes us once again and throws us in the hysteresis process (the Y axis). Having said this, the visualization should not be taken to represent psychedelic visuals. The forms are only symbols for the inner meaningful structure of conscious experience.

From this point onwards I assume that the nature of concentration is properly understood. As the image grows in richness, initially it is somewhat chaotic. This is also one of the reasons we feel tempted to analyze it through thinking - simply because we can't make good sense of it initially. It's like different language that we can't understand directly but we're tempted to break it down into forms we're familiar with. If the panorama is to become more and more meaningful, we need to work on many fronts at the same time. It's not only about some mental hack. We need actual spiritual development which works on all thinking, feeling and willing simultaneously. If we've been quarrelling with someone up until few minutes ago, we can't expect that our concentration will be successful. Our arguing will continue to reverberate in us. So the tip of our concentration is not something independent but is entirely embedded within the temporal flow of our general life. We can only attain to stability in the center if we work at the same time to put our inner life (T, F, W) in order.

So the Imaginative panorama grows not as a visionary wall but as a living Thought. It's like more and more of our conscious contents become a coherent Thought-flow image. Here's probably the most difficult part to understand. This Thought panorama has a certain quality of monolithicity. In ordinary life we're presented with very complicated flow of phenomena and our thinking jumps erratically from perception to perception, from thought to thought and so on. There's actual jumping of attention between conscious fragments. This is such a default mode of cognition that we can only appreciate it when we try to concentrate for some time and withhold any movement of thoughts and attention. It's like trying to stop the REM (rapid eye movement) process for a while. If we do this properly we find out that this doesn't mean that all conscious flux freezes. In fact it may continue to be in very dynamic metamorphosis. What changes is that our attention and thoughts don't jump around erratically (as in the first part of the visualization). Instead, it may be more appropriate to say that more and more of our conscious contents are 'in focus' at the same time. The sphere of our concentration has expanded and everything within it is experienced in holistic way. This leads to a very characteristic differentiation of our self-image. In certain sense part of us - the part that thinks through erratic thinking gestures - has been completely concentrated in the image. Then gradually it is as if we awaken to a higher part of our being, which operates in the deeper dynamics of the flow, while at the same time our ordinary self continues to support the sphere of concentration within which we're now consciously active.

Seen in this way, we understand that our normal thinking continuously probes this hidden flow but experiences it only through the erratic thinking gestures. In Imagination we begin to perceive what our conscious states move through all the time. It should be understood that the erratic gestures through which we jump around from thought to thought, form a language on its own. The 'veil' is really nothing else but the fact that our cognition is locked within the layer of these intellectual gestures. It's not that we're physically locked but we simply don't make any attempts to expand our spiritual palette. The mystical state can lead us only to the threshold of Imagination. The reason is obvious: in that state we push away all activity. We dissipate the erratic jumping of activity. Instead of spiraling it into concentration, we spread it out as the receptivity of 'pure awareness'. This can never bring higher cognition.

Let me put it into another metaphor. Let's imagine that our thinking energy flows as water through a hose. In our ordinary thinking we move the hose erratically and see the splashes the water makes (the first part of the visualization). Then we stabilize the movement of the hose and begin to realize that the water of meaning has certain structure in itself. The more we center within that flow, the more it fills our consciousness, the hose disappears and we begin to understand that the flow is more fundamental and it is the same as the flow of Time. The hose is only our limitation to grasp tiny bits of that flow at a time. The key here is to realize the nature this limitation. The erratic movements of the hose are our intellectual thinking language. Secretly, the water gives the meaning but we don't pay attention to it. Instead, we're playing a game where we think and communicate through hose gestures. The ascent to Imaginative cognition is really about stabilizing the hose movement and gaining consciousness of the meaningful flow. We can't do that through thinking about it (which is still hose movement). We can only begin through concentration in the sense of (T) and expand from there.

Here one may object that what is thus described, even if attainable, would lead to nothing more than the experience of our own fantasies. In certain sense it is perfectly true that we must start with concentration on something that is entirely of our own making. But we must appreciate something else. Even when we think ordinarily, we can't claim that what we think is entirely our completely free creation. Whatever it is that engages our thinking, is placed in a much wider temporal context of our whole life. We can stop and observe what we're thinking at a given moment and we'll easily see that it makes sense only for our particular life situation, for what our implicit knowledge is, what our preferences are and so on. Seen in this way, the palette of possible thoughts that we can think at any given moment is largely shaped through our life context. Thus our thoughts, even though they feel to be our original creations, implicitly inform us of a much wider hierarchical context without which these thoughts would never take place or would never be meaningful even if we could hear their words somehow. In the same way, as we expand into the Imaginative Time flow, what we experience is not entirely our original creation. As a matter of fact, it is precisely the mentioned factors that begin to show up in that flow. In our ordinary thinking we jump from thought to thought (the first part of the visualization). We're barely aware of the rules which govern these jumps. When we gain consciousness of the flow we begin to cognize there the curvatures within which our ordinary thoughts flow. For example, in normal life we may have some antipathy towards a subject. As a result, even without knowing it, our thoughts are repelled from that domain. In the Imaginative this may become perceptible. We can become conscious of the spiritual geometry, which repels our ordinary thoughts. The Time flow of Imagination is in itself also restricted by even higher order processes but I won't go into that here (it's related with still higher modes of cognition - Inspiration, Intuition).

~~~

Everything here may seem as wildly digressing from the original question. After all, that was about memory of previous lives. What has all the above have to do with that? It has to do with the fact that without speaking of the above things we'll very easily fall under the impression that our intellectual cognition, in the way it is now, is in position to understand the nature of memory which surpasses a single lifetime. The above was needed in order to hint that whatever we try to arrange through intellectual thoughts, can never give satisfactory understanding unless we conceive of the deeper Time flow of the spirit.

Visualizations as the one here are double-edged swords. Normally, the best way to understand these things is through simple words which however require inner meditative effort to bring to life. Animations like the above in certain sense work exactly in the opposite direction of what is needed - they give the illusion that we can spare the thinking efforts by presenting things as shiny visuals. This is the danger of trying to make things too explicit. But at the same time we live in times where we're drowning in an ocean of information and all of us have developed filters to sift out the essentials. We all know how if a movie clip or an article doesn't catch our attention with the first few words, we're unlikely to go through all of it. This is very unfortunate in our age where we need real deepening of spiritual life. The problem is that these things can't easily be explained in few words. If too little is said it looks like cryptic code. If it is explained sufficiently it becomes long and people simply skim over it because they don't have enough time. My attempt with the visualization is to see if that makes things a little more approachable. I'll be glad to hear anyone's feedback if that animation has made anything a little more comprehensible.

Let's see if the things written here are approachable and we'll then be in position to return to the original question.
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Cleric K
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Cleric K »

If someone has trouble with the visualization (it requires proper 3D hardware), here's a lower quality rendition as a video clip:

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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Hedge90 »

Thanks Cleric, I will think about this a bit an respond.
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Anthony66 »

Cleric K wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 9:39 pm Let's see if the things written here are approachable and we'll then be in position to return to the original question.
I've been eagerly waiting for the conclusion to your thoughts here. Are you able to provide the "great reveal"?
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Cleric K »

Anthony66 wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:10 am I've been eagerly waiting for the conclusion to your thoughts here. Are you able to provide the "great reveal"?
The thread was going as a kind of dialog with Hedge so I intended to continue after I get a response but in case you're interested I'll continue - probably tomorrow.
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Hedge90 »

Cleric K wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 6:23 pm
Anthony66 wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:10 am I've been eagerly waiting for the conclusion to your thoughts here. Are you able to provide the "great reveal"?
The thread was going as a kind of dialog with Hedge so I intended to continue after I get a response but in case you're interested I'll continue - probably tomorrow.
Apologies. I wanted to respond to the previous post in substance, but my life is full of different things at the moment and I'm not always in a mental state where I can think about these things as deeply as they'd warrant. By all means go ahead.
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Re: Why do we reincarnate without our memories?

Post by Cleric K »

Hedge90 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:16 am
Cleric K wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 6:23 pm
Anthony66 wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:10 am I've been eagerly waiting for the conclusion to your thoughts here. Are you able to provide the "great reveal"?
The thread was going as a kind of dialog with Hedge so I intended to continue after I get a response but in case you're interested I'll continue - probably tomorrow.
Apologies. I wanted to respond to the previous post in substance, but my life is full of different things at the moment and I'm not always in a mental state where I can think about these things as deeply as they'd warrant. By all means go ahead.
What we've gone through so far aimed to show that we can't take our conscious experience too lightly. It's difficult to demonstrate how much people take for granted. It's difficult simply because there's nothing else to measure our experience against. Things like time and memory are so intrinsically intertwined with our existence that we simply can't step back and observe them with our sensory habits. Since our thinking is merged with these flows, we simply take them for granted and imagine that they'll remain quite the same even after death.

When we speak of memory, we mostly imagine the ability to recollect scenes of our sensory life (including all senses) but also conceptual memory which is basically kind of knowledge. If we approach these questions superficially, we can easily be led to habitually believe that after death we'll be able to remember these scenes, names, dates and so on, just as we do now. But this is not exactly the case.

We must first realize that memory is contextual. Some of us may still possess 5.25" floppy disks. It's actually quite a challenge to use them today with modern hardware. So it's not enough to have the diskette, we also need the whole hardware hierarchy. It's something similar with our spiritual life. Most of our memories can be 'played back' only because we still possess 'hardware' which is still pretty much compatible with the one through which the original sensations were perceived. This holds true also for most of our intellectual knowledge - especially for things that are mechanically memorized.

Soon after we lose the physical body and the etheric is ingrained in the Cosmos, we actually can hardly reconstruct anything of the sensory details of our previous incarnation. We simply no longer have the organs through which we can experience these sensory and intellectual perceptions. When we remember something, we find the past inner gestures and since they are repeated in more or less the same physical organism, they summon the familiar sensory impressions of the past. It's like we guide our spiritual activity as we guide our breath through a wind instrument. If we make the same breathing gesture, the same sound will be heard. Yet this is due to the fact that the instrument is there and it acts as a unique resonator for our breath. Similarly, when we remember things, we will spiritual movements which when they encounter the physical and etheric complex produce familiar images.

Soon after death we no longer have the physical and the etheric complex. Yet we still retain the time-hierarchy of our spiritual activity. Now even if we perform the same gestures, there's no longer the wind instrument which can respond with perceptions. This may seem like a great loss, it sounds like we're left blind and deaf. And to certain extent this is the case depending on the degree to which we have come to know ourselves as a spiritual being while still in the body.

I keep saying that proper meditation for our age demands not detaching from thoughts but quite the opposite - finding the intensive spiritual activity of which the words of our inner voice are only outer clothing. If we have spent our life simply flowing with the stream of thoughts that run in semi-automatic way or if our meditations were focused on dissociating from our spiritual activity, then we indeed feel at loss in the initial period of the disembodied state. We're overwhelmed by a whole world of thought-like phenomena yet we don't find our place within it. Only gradually we begin to recognize that we're still a living spirit at that stage and that we still can do something with our spiritual activity but this doing is so unfamiliar that it's like we're on ice - we do one thing but something completely different happens. We can't find clear correspondence between our inner gestures and the Cosmic world of conscious phenomena within which we now flow. Everything in that world is in constant metamorphosis and on top of that we're far from being the only being which reflects its activity in that world. The activity of beings is loosely localized. They interfere, here they add up, there they diminish. We recognize the activities of beings by their qualities and not by their spatial clumpings. For the same reason we can't recognize our own image too. We're used to know ourselves in nicely localized sensory images, the localized sounds of our inner voice and so on. We find nothing of this. It's like we expect to put our finger in water and replace two water molecules without setting the whole volume in motion. We've entered the disembodied state as if handicapped. It is here in the Earthly state that we can attain to these skills. Our physical body gives us the firm support that we need in order to learn to ice skate. It's like our intellect gives us firm shoes with spikes with which we can confidently step and gradually learn to skate. Then, when after death we leave the spike shoes behind, we're left with valuable skills through which we can unfold our higher order spiritual activity in the slippery fluid, which thanks to our ability to orient ourselves is now seen as quite lawful.

When we attain to that stage with proper preparation, even though we don't have sensory memories, this doesn't at all feel like we now know less. As a matter of fact, when we know ourselves as a spiritual being, we recognize that the degrees of freedom that we have developed, speak much more clearly. This is difficult to reckon in our materialistic age but we actually understand much more about reality when we live in the world where souls shape their activities. Everything in the sensory world only suggests the deeper soul and spiritual causes. We need to interpret someone's physiognomy, body language, in order to understand what they're about. In the soul world we live precisely in the soul and spiritual realities behind these elements and they draw a much clearer picture of humanity than what we get when we perceive through the senses. Of course, I repeat that this clarity is in direct dependence of the work we have done while still in a body. Without such a work, we indeed feel that we're expanding in Cosmic space, we undoubtedly know that we're now encompassing the destinies of souls but it is all like a foreign language to us. We need to study this language in the body so that we can understand our environment after death. We study it by beginning with ourselves, by investigating how our character, ideas, desires, belief, fears and so on, shape our psychic life on the surface. All of these things are certain higher order spiritual flows in the astral body. If we learn these flows in ourselves, it's like we're learning the alphabet of the soul. Soul life is weaved of such letters and we can only learn about them if we investigate how our thinking flows in their curvature. When we understand these soul gestures within ourselves, we'll investigate them also in others. After death, all this constitutes the higher order spiritual activity which doesn't simply reflect existence in concepts but is the actual shaping of destinies.

So we see that things are not at all simple. Our consciousness, at any time, is a highly complicated constellation of spiritual factors. This is where the idea of 'pure awareness' is so detrimental. It simply flattens all these factors and considers the way we understand things, the way we can remember them, perceive them, to be pure and fundamental elements of the ground being. The only way we can counteract this spiritual naivety is by investigating the very thinking which sees things in this way and refuses to do that investigation on itself.

Please note that everything that was spoken above is perfectly understandable by healthy thinking. Someone may say "but these are all things about after death which we can never verify". It's true that these are things about after death but what is said above can be tested. The reason is that everything that is written above speaks about conscious faculties which we can find within us here and now. We can find our thinking spirit behind the thought-garments, we can find the letters of our soul flow, we can find how our sensory memories are dependent on our Earthly organism. The reason we can do that is because the other world is not some different floor of existence where we travel after death with our atomic ego, our sensory memories, our thoughts and so on. We're living in the soul world even in this moment. Our feelings, desires, life goals, etc. (the flows of destiny) are all part of that world. It's just that we think only about their sensory shadows as they play out in life.

Now we're finally in position to address the original question "Why do we reincarnate without our memories?" First, we've already saw that what we habitually call memories (as sensory pictures) is not present even after death, let alone be carried in new life. In our new life a completely new bodily complex is being built around which new sensory memories form. What we carry with us is the spiritual capabilities that we have developed. So in certain sense we do incarnate with our memories - when we see them as degrees of freedom of our spiritual being - yet they are not yet recognizable as coming from previous lives. To begin to recognize them as memories we need to become clearly conscious of what exactly passes from incarnation to incarnation. For example, we may have been a philosopher in our previous life. But let's imagine that, like most of our contemporary philosophers, we were simply juggling with words, arranging puzzles of words. We may have lived in Italy and used to arrange Italian words. Now we speak different language. Now even if it was somehow possible to remember these Italian words, they would mean nothing to us (assuming we don't know Italian) - they'll sound as foreign language. We can remember only those things which can fit in our cognitive world as we have it now.

The situation would be different if we were a philosopher who, for example, spoke different languages and was interested in the deeper spiritual activity which weaves in universal meaning and clothes itself in one or another language. This already brings us much closer to our spiritual being. This is actually a very nice exercise if we happen to know more languages. It's a very pleasant way to explore our thinking gestures by speaking the same meaning in different languages. This naturally helps us to become conscious of the deeper activity of our spirit, since it makes it more unlikely to merge with the language forms. If we have learned to know ourselves as a thinking spirit, there's actually something in our new incarnation which is much more familiar. If today we know ourselves as thinking voice of a man in a particular language, in the previous incarnation we may have been thinking in female voice in quite different language. As long as we don't recognize the deeper thinking gestures of the spirit which have transformed from one incarnation to the next, it's quite natural that even if it was possible to hear the previous thinking voice, we would never recognize it to have anything to do with our current thinking voice.

When we grasp these things in depth we also understand the importance of proper spiritual development. We see how serious all this is. It's common to hear today "Ah, what do you care, we'll see what is it like when we die." Unfortunately, what it will be like depends entirely on what we do today. We also see that it is entirely in our hands to work in such a direction that in our next incarnation we'll have memories from the current. We work in that direction when we follow everything in living thinking. Let me give another example. After death, in the elemental spectrum there exists the etheric side of everything that we find with our senses. Let's imagine that we've been in Paris and we've seen the Eiffel tower but we did that in a completely superficial manner, we only cared about taking our selfie so that we can brag about it on instagram. After death, in the etheric spectrum, the forces that are employed in the Eiffel tower exist but they are not spatially shaped like it. We'll actually pass right through these forces and never recognize them. What shall we do if we are to recognize these forces? We have to experience as much as possible about the tower through our thinking while still on Earth. Just as we can feel the shape of an object with our fingers, so we must feelingly move our thinking along the curves of the tower, we must feel its shape. We must think about the material it is made of, to livingly feel the difference between steel or stone. Not only to note the difference in the different words but to experience it vividly. Stone is not just a word, it immediately links to the rocky crust of the Earth. And what about iron? It should bring living thoughts of the bowels of the Earth, where the ore is extracted, how it goes through fire in the smelter and so on. We can think something about the person Eiffel. In all of these, it's not important that simply words pass through our mind but that we're innerly mobile with our spiritual activity. It's not the picture of the form of the tower - it's the movement we trace with our thinking in order to bring that picture to life. If we have experienced things in such a way, the etheric spectrum becomes something which can be read - it speaks to us. When we encounter the forces of the tower we recognize them because the etheric spectrum is precisely weaved out of spiritual gestures. When we step in these forces and we can figuratively speaking say: "Hey, the dynamics of this activity feel much in the same way as while in the body I felt the shape of the Eiffel tower".

Of course all this is greatly simplified but it makes a point. It's quite unfortunate that in our age there's great animosity towards thinking, while passive 'experiencing' is held in the highest status. But this is how evolution on Earth proceeds - there's always friction between the old and the new. Alas, if we spend our life in such a purely receptive state where we expect everything to confront us as fully objective facts without any activity on our side, we're entering the higher realms with no organs of perceptions. These organs can grow only from, in fact they are, the degrees of freedom of our spiritual activity that we have developed on Earth. I've often said that our thinking must become something much more living and rich than the mechanical arrangement of concepts. This I compared to the mimicry of the octopus. Our thinking should become free as fluid and livingly feel the intricate texture of the world content. The degrees of freedom that we exercise in this way will help us navigate and be active even when the purely sensory layer is no longer at hand.

This is a very dense topic and we can't expect to exhaust it in few paragraphs but hopefully at least a hint of a direction has been provided. The takeaway of all this should be that we need a good dose of humility. The greatest obstacle to proper development are the naive spiritual outlooks which imagine that what we experience now, represents the ground being just because we managed to extinguish our thoughts. Instead, we should realize that humanity has not even started to grow into reality in the true sense. We can only begin this growth process if we understand in humility that our present consciousness is only the tip of the Cosmic iceberg.
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