Triggering of Memory


Many a time we suffer from pains caused by old forgotten injuries. Many arthritic pains are due to such injuries. In such cases, a recall of the circumstance, in which such injury occurred, can be very therapeutic. This is especially true when the buried memories can be recovered and replayed with all original sensations.

In most cases such memories are suppressed because the recall is painful. Memories bubble up naturally when such suppression and other clutter are removed. Use of force to access memory is found to be more harmful than beneficial. It disturbs the mind in various ways and leads to unwanted conditioning.

In mindfulness we do not dive into the mind to forcefully look for memories because it is unnatural. A memory that is available can be accessed easily by simply putting attention on it. A memory that is not available requires unburdening of the clutter that lies on top of the memory. We just have to let the mind do it for us.

The following exercises are designed to bring about a better understanding of how to safely recover a painful memory that is buried deep.



PURPOSE: To recognize how effortless it is to access old memories when they are available.

  1. Focus your attention randomly on items from the following list. Let the attention stay there for a moment while reflecting on your life. Notice if an immediate response appears in the mind.

You were happy.

You climbed a tree.

You ate something good.

You received a present.

You enjoyed a laugh.

You helped somebody.

You threw a ball.

Something important happened to you.

You played a game.

You jumped down from a tree.

You won a contest.

You laughed loudly.

You met someone you liked.

You flew on a plane.

You were at a beautiful place.

You jumped into a pool.

You enjoyed a beautiful morning.

You went for a walk.

Somebody teased you.

You sat in a coffee shop.

You danced with joy.

You raced with someone.

You completed something important.

You were pleasantly surprised.

You met somebody after a long time.

You were caught in a rain.

You heard a thunder.

Someone smiled at you.

You played with a pet.

You held someone’s hand.

Someone picked you up.

You were spinning around.

You read a good book.

You felt breeze on your face.

You saw a beautiful flower.

You smelled a rose.

Somebody called you.

You were in a play.

You sang aloud.

You watched a movie.

Your team won.

You rode with friends.

You visited a beautiful garden.

You played in water.

The weather was stormy.

Somebody gave you a hug.

You liked somebody.

You slid down a slide.

You ran toward someone you liked.

You enjoyed beautiful weather.

  1. If a memory triggers, then acknowledge it by nodding to yourself.

  2. If no memory triggers then simply accept the lack of response and move to another item.

  3. DO NOT MAKE EFFORT TO BRING UP A MEMORY. Allow the process to be natural.

  4. Do this until you have accomplished the purpose of this exercise.




PURPOSE: To recognize that patience is required to safely access unavailable memories.

  1. Focus your attention randomly on items from the following list. If the memory  is not quite available then stay aware of that item while allowing the mind to wander off in free association. 

You were crawling as a baby.

You were struggling to walk as a baby.

You went to school for the very first time.

You looked into your mom’s eyes as a baby.

You met your very first date.

You got your very first pet.

You recognized an alphabet for the very first time.

You read a book the very first time.

You rode bicycle on your own for the first time.

You fell from the bicycle the very first time.

  1. Wait patiently for a minute or so.  Notice the free association going in the mind. It is likely that the mind is unwinding through some clutter.

  2. Intermittently refresh the item to be recalled. To facilitate this further, broaden your context as widely as possible to include all aspects of your life.

  3. If a memory appears during the time allowed then acknowledge it by nodding, otherwise pick another item.

  4. DO NOT MAKE EFFORT TO BRING UP A MEMORY. Allow the process to be natural.

  5. Do this until you have accomplished the purpose of this exercise.


NOTE: Subsequent exercises shall focus on cleaning up the suppression and clutter. Normally it may take days, weeks, months, or even years to unburden the mind enough to recover a deeply buried painful memory.


[Revised January 19, 2017 by Vinaire]


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  • Diane  On December 19, 2016 at 6:42 PM

    I love this….It provides the structure to begin what could be a lengthy process, but it allows and even predicts that this can be a long and difficult journey.

  • vinaire  On December 19, 2016 at 7:16 PM

    Thank you for your feedback, Diane. This provides me with a sound basis for further research in mindfulness.

  • vinaire  On January 19, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    Revised the post by adding a list to Exercise 2.

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