Preparing for the Journey: The Purpose of MEMORY
Memory is not the reason we feel bad.
When we look at a photograph taken at some earlier time in our lives and experience a negative feeling, it is not the photo itself that is causing this to happen. The photo is merely a printed picture that was captured on film (or digital depending on your age). Like the photo, our memories have no ability to cause us to feel anything. In this sense we do not have painful memories, but only memories that, when remembered, trigger our currently held lie-based belief that causes us to feel something. Our belief serve as a “lens” of interpretation for what we are remembering as well as what is currently happening in our lives.
Memory helps us to understand how we came to believe what we believe and why we feel what we feel.
It is true that our beliefs were established during a life experience. Nevertheless, it is not the memory of that belief that is causing us our emotional struggle. We do not need to remember our past experience in order to find the belief, since the belief is not contained in the memory. Rather, we use the memory to help us understand how we came to believe what we currently believe and why we are feeling what we are feeling.
Our current belief is the reason for the way we feel in the current situation, also for why a memory of the past feels bad. When our current belief is replaced with the Lord’s perspective, both the past and the present will feel peaceful. If we try to understand how we came to believe what we believe and why we feel what we feel without the memory of it, we will falsely assume that our current situation is the cause for our emotional state.
Heart Belief is the Seat of Our Emotions
In TPM, we are primarily concerned with belief that we refer to as heart belief (also sometimes referred to as core belief). Heart beliefs are beliefs that are established usually before the age of twelve. Our heart beliefs become the primary means for interpreting all future life experiences. Once these are established, there is little need for us to add any additional core beliefs. We will simply replay them over and over during each new life experience. This is why history seems to repeat itself.
From the moment that these lie-based beliefs are established, they accompany us throughout our lives. The events themselves actually ceased to exist the moment they occurred, and became memories, but the beliefs we embraced became our current “core beliefs.” These become the lenses through which we view and interpret the experiences of our ongoing life.
Two Types of Core/Heart Belief
We will establish the bulk of our heart belief by the age of twelve and all core belief will fall into two basic groups or types. We will either hold what we refer to as “Self-identity” or “State of being” beliefs.
A Self-Identity core belief defines who I believe I am. It answers questions such as, “Do I have worth or value?” “Am I lovable, wanted, needed?” “Am I important, significant, a contribution?” A State-of-Being core belief defines my condition: “Am I safe, secure, in control, protected, etc.?” A State of Being belief is basically a statement of what I believe about God. For example, if I believe that I am not safe, alone, abandoned, hopeless, out of control, all of these things reveal my perspective and understanding of God’s involvement in my life. Heart belief will either be a statement of belief that defines “Who I am” or “Who is God.”
Practical Intellectual Belief
We are not limited to our heart belief, though they are the primary way we interpret life, we also possess much intellectual belief. Intellectual belief helps us to navigate through life in a practical manner. Our intellectual beliefs are basically our general knowledge of things that consists of everything else that we know, such as mathematics, world history, where we were born, how to get to church (though many seemed to have forgotten this information) the name of our dog, who wrote the book of Ephesians, the fact that I was rejected by my peers, my parents’ divorce and even the details of my abusive childhood, etc. Unlike core or heart belief, intellectual belief (knowledge) is not the source of my emotions and does not fit into either of the two defined types.
So we see that memory serves an important purpose, but it is not the reason we may feel what we feel. The lie we believe that is causing us to feel badly is not in the memory, but rather what we currently and consistently feel. TPM helps us to explore our memory so we might better understand how we came to believe what we believe and why we feel what we feel. Once we identify our heart belief (self-identity or state of being) we are ready to exchange it for the Lord’s truth.