Sunday, May 13, 2007

An Art of Memory for Some Of The Rest of Us

Some of my good readers have no doubt wandered over to the AODA website and found this page:

and the articles

Ars Memorativa I and II

Which details the use of one of the Western traditions of the Art of Memory, used to enhance memory, comprehension and the ability (IMHO) to free-associate information and derive new relationships from existing data.

I truly admire John Michael Greer for writing this article, offering this classic technique to a new generation. The imagery used in Ars Memorative is beautiful, as rich and decadent as a three layer pastry in a party from the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. It brings to mind classical writings by Plato, Livy and hosts of other authors, in addition to Dante's Inferno.

Sadly, some of us can't wrap our brains around anything that visually complex. So what do we do?

Here's one option: When I was attending college I didn't have the money to register for classes and purchase textbooks. So my marital arts instructor pulled a different memory training technique out of his Tibetan and Chinese bag of tricks. Here it is, just slightly modernized to reflect the difference in technology over the past 20 years:

After or just prior to attending a lecture or class discussion, do as follows: Find a comfortable position, preferably in dim lighting. Get comfortable. Using the Spiritualist and New Thought technique of "Entering the Silence" is almost always good as preparation for a bit of meditative work.

Ahead of you is a short hallway. At the end of the hallway is a large rug with a broom sitting to one side. PIck up the broom, and sweep the rug clean. Replace the broom.

Open the door, listen to the hinges creak, and you are in an audio studio, however you characterize it.

Sit down. Before you is a cd recorder (or LP master cutter, if you are a vinyl enthusiast.). Taking a gleaming cd from a new package and place it into the recorder. Close the lid, breathe, and let all tension drop from yourself.

Focus your breath through your ears, and listen to the voice of your lecturer or professor. Pay attention to the pacing, timing, and accent of the speaker. Keep a focus on listening to them, even if your attention drifts away from time to time. (It will)

Once the lecture is over, carefully remove the cd/lp from the machine, put it in a case that speaks the name of the lecture and lecturer as you place it in position on a shelf.

Repeat as needed.

Does it work? I didn't have the money for textbooks for 3 years of college and I held a 4.0 average. It works well.

Bonus Self-Improvement Section

Once you are comfortable with remembering lectures and other information from a single instructor with this technique, here's a way to extend its utility into psychic realms:

Pick up a book on a topic within that speaker's field of expertise. As you read the book, concentrate on their voice, and listen for comments they may offer in the course of your reading.

Check this data as far as possible with the speaker, without of course telling them what you were doing. Correct any errors in your understanding and repeat as needed.

This technique can be used for the study of esotericism as well as, say, French cooking or Basque stone lifting techniques. When applied to information from an egregore, this is a form of controlled but passive trance speaking. This will take a while---the white noise inside and outside of yourself has to be recognized for what it is, noise and not information. Once mastered, this simple practice can open many doors that would otherwise remain closed.

1 comment:

Tully Reill said...

After finally receiving a break from the past few rather hectic weeks, I've been able to catch up on your blogposts, which always fascinate me. I look forward to utilizing these techniques (from your last few entries) in the near future.

On a finally calm, slightly breezy, spring evening...