Paths to forgetting

Forgetting is a variable feast: it takes all manner of forms. One can forget an appointment or where one left one’s keys. Regrettably, some may forget who they are or where they live, especially at that six-score-and-ten stage. A traumatic event may also lead to forgetting, although the alternative is most probably the norm – to remember and suffer.

The coincidence of my marital break-up and my premature curtailment of my career to avoid further tribal victimisation led me to asking a retired sofrologist, and friend, if he could, through hypnosis, assist me to cope with my troubled memories. A sofrologist is a medico who utilises hypnosis to assist his patients. Under hypnosis, he planted the thought that I could place any intrusive memories as characters on a stage; and then to close the stage curtains on the play these memories were enacting when they began to arouse any adverse emotions.

Wow! This practice began to work. I found that, while the memories did surface from time to time, I felt in control. There was, progressively, less emotion attached to these memories, because I could ‘look’ at them more and more dispassionately. The anger and hurt were thus dissipated.

The, I came up with a better idea. I mentally conducted – metaphorically, naturally – cremation ceremonies for memories for which I had no further interest. They were not going to hurt me any more. Ashes to ashes, and all that! What was most satisfying was that the memories, like everything else that is well burnt, could not possibly take up their former form and substance, or place on the stage; they were as a sea mist at sunrise.