Flashbacks, a distant memory…

I’ve been having flashbacks. Among all the great books in my partner’s library (he is completing a masters in clinical counselling) I could find so many answers to my questions on memory and flashbacks. But tonight I turn to Wikipedia & the Sutras and I share with you my unpretentious findings and reflections.

Wiki depicts “A flashback, or involuntary recurrent memory, is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual has a sudden, usually powerful, re-experiencing of a past experience or elements of a past experience. These experiences can be happy, sad, exciting, or any other emotion one can consider.The term is used particularly when the memory is recalled involuntarily, and/or when it is so intense that the person “relives” the experience, unable to fully recognize it as memory and not something that is happening in “real time”.”

“Flashbacks are the “personal experiences that pop into your awareness, without any conscious, premeditated attempt to search and retrieve this memory”. These experiences occasionally have little to no relation to the situation at hand. Flashbacks to those sufferingposttraumatic stress disorder can be so disruptive as to seriously affect day-to-day living.

Memory is divided into voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) processes that function independently of each other. Theories and research on memory dates back to Hermann Ebbinghaus, who began studying nonsense syllables. Ebbinghaus classified three distinct classes of memory: sensory, short term, and long-term memory. Sensory memory is made up of a brief storage of information within a specific medium (the line you see after waving a sparkler in your field of vision is created by sensory memory). Short term memory is made up of the information currently in use to complete the task at hand. Long term memory is composed of the systems used to store memory over long periods. It enables one to remember what happened two days ago at noon, or who called last night.”

I’ve been having flashbacks that have alot to do with the situation at hand. Actually it’s when using my hands giving Thai Yoga Massage that the flashbacks come. They are really short but the impact is huge.

I remember vividly giving massage to my daughter when she was three, working on her feet, arms and hands and face. It would soothe her and deeply relax her before she fell asleep. I have been estranged from my daughter for a few years now and the smriti or memory is both painful and pleasant. Let us remember that smrit is one of the 5 vrittis, fluctuations of the mind that can be either painful or non-painful. 

The work I engage in is allowing to relive buried memories of her and I feel her presence recalling all of the sensual attributes of the experience just as though we were right there again. How beautiful.

It also has given me such grand respect for Thai Yoga Massage practice and into the healing power of touch, mediation and metta. When in the flow, the modality is an agent of good space for the receiver and also for the giver.

When I recall the memory of the flashback later and begin to try and make sense of its occurence or its nature I get a flood of emotions and sensations, from sad to angry eventually back to accepting, peaceful and grateful. It is yet again another layer to the healing.

If you haven’t yet had a massage or healing touch, go out there and find some. If you have and love it, remember to treat yourself to it soon. Your body, mind and soul will thank you.

Let us remember. Touch is powerful. 

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