The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 15

Training of the doer portion though memory is not present. The body-mind. Doer-memory. Sense-memory. A good memory. Memory after death.

Throughout all the re-existences of a doer its training is carried on by its higher aspects under the Light of the Intelligence even though the memory of previous lives is not present. A consideration of the nature of memory will show why the human does not remember past lives.

Memory of the human is sense-memory when it deals with external events; it is doer-memory when it relates to states of the doer. Sense-memory of the human is of four kinds and is the doer’s recognition of sights, sounds, tastes, and smells and contacts which were impressed by the four senses upon and are reproduced by the breath-form. The impressions are received through the respective organs by the optic, auditory, gustatory and olfactory nerves and by other sensory nerves, and are passed on through the involuntary nerves to the fourfold body which transmits them to the breath-form on which they are fixed by the breath. The gallery of the pictures, sounds, tastes, smells and contacts for the whole life is there. The brain has little or nothing to do with the reception of impressions, unless intentional mental activities accompany the seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or touching. The impressions on the breath-form are not physical, though made through physical means. No brain cells, nerve cells or other cells retain the impressions. These remain as nonphysical imprints on the breath-form.

The impressions of sights, sounds, tastes and smells received by the four senses in their sense organs and respective nerves, are received in the same manner as are impressions of agreeable or disagreeable touch. The impressions of touch are received by the sensory nerves from the thing making contact with the body. The sense of smell is the entity that receives directly the impression made by physical contact upon the sensory nerves of the involuntary nervous system, of hot or cold, soft or hard, burning or squeezing. The sense of sight visualizes objects, the sense of hearing transmits movement as sounds, the sense of taste brings in tastes and the sense of smell touches and makes physical contacts. These contact impressions are of two kinds, those of smell and of physical contact. The breath-form receives the impressions and automatically passes them on to the sensory nerves of the voluntary nervous system, and the motor nerves of that pass them on to the doer.

Prior to their transfer to the doer these impressions are not recognized and produce no effects as sights, sounds, tastes, smells or contacts. They are simply impressions without meaning and they produce no feeling. Nevertheless they are fixed on the breath-form by the breath when they first reach it, though they are without color, form, sound, taste or smell, and though they produce no pain or pleasure, no sensation of any kind. These impressions of physical things made on the breath-form are the basis of such phenomena as dreams or unconscious reproductions in trance states or of reproductions and combinations which make hells and heavens and they are the preliminaries of memories.

The doer does several things with these impressions, which all come to it in the voluntary nervous system. It merely feels them as sights, sounds, tastes, smells and contacts, as the doer; it perceives and classifies them as those things through the body-mind and it identifies them in various ways, because of the presence of the knower of the Triune Self. All three actions together constitute what is called seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling by touch. Thus when a house in a meadow is perceived, the impressions brought home by the sense of sight are felt by the doer as agreeable or disagreeable, nothing more; to this feeling there is added by thinking, as it distinguishes, compares and interprets, the perception of long grass, gray sides, three gables, and windows with green shutters. By virtue of I-ness, the false “I” gives identity to the picture and says: “I see it,” and further: “This is that particular house,” “This house I have seen before with its long grass, gray sides, three gables and twisted rainpipe.” Not until all three actions are gone through is the simplest object seen or any sensation felt.

After perceptions through the four senses have been made by the doer, it stamps its feeling, thinking and identification on the impression first made on the breath-form. This fixing also is done by the breath. Thereafter, the sight, sound, taste, smell or sensation by touch can be summoned, or may appear without summons, as a memory. In every case the memory is partly sense-memory and partly doer-memory. Animals have no breath-forms, yet they have memories. The animal memories are feeling and desire memories, called instinct or impulses, inherent in the feeling or desire that animates the animal.

The remembering which is the result of an effort or desire, starts by active thinking on a subject associated with the thing sought to be remembered. The thinking begins in the heart and lungs, then continues in the brain. There it calls into play the particular nerves of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or touching. This awakens the subjective or inner side of the particular sense, which is turned inward and through its nerve and system acts on the fourfold physical body and through that on the breath-form. There the original impression is summoned and then reproduced in the frontal sinuses or a nerve area of the brain by the sense, through the objective side of which the original impression was taken. The picture, sound, taste, smell or other sensation in the area of the brain is not the original impression but a copy of it, transferred from the breath-form to the brain area. If the copy produces a sensation similar to that produced when the original impression was made and the false “I” identifies the copy with the original impression made from the external object, the sight, sound, taste, smell or contact is remembered. While the original impressions are not usually made with the cooperation of the brain, its assistance is necessary in all cases of intentional remembering. The doer in its thinking must cooperate with at least one of the senses in every instance where anything is remembered. The sense goes, in inverse order, over the processes that produced the first impression in the voluntary nervous system, but the doer repeats the original action. Without the activities of the sense, intervening between the initial thinking and the final recognition as the result of the combined action of the doer, there can be no memory. In order to remember a thing there must be a recognition or a reproduction, voluntary or involuntary, of impressions made of external things by the senses.

The remembering, which is not the result of an effort but which comes uncalled for, is due to an influence on the breath-form. The prompting may be from different causes, such as passive thinking, nature-imagination, another person’s thought or a suggestive occurrence. If the stimulus is strong enough or comes at the right time, it will compel the breath-form to reproduce an impression which it had received from the senses. The reproduction is made through the same sense or senses that made the original impression and is thrown on the frontal sinuses or nerve area in the brain and there felt, classified and identified by the doer. This is involuntary memory.

Human beings live in involuntary memories, which make up the largest part of their lives. With every act are associated memories of other acts. These make scenes amidst which passive thinking goes on. This draws in other memories. They hold the stage of the inner life until fresh sense impressions shift the memory of the human to other scenes. Then the thinking goes on there. Life is a continuous interaction between passive thinking and memories. After death the inner life is the only one, yet it becomes objective. It is, as regards memories, the same kind of life that the doer led while on the common ground. But all the memories then are involuntary, and the thinking that is interwoven is automatic.

Whether voluntary or involuntary, whether in life or after death, this memory of the human is the recognition by the doer of sensations of sights, sounds, tastes, smells and contacts which the doer had felt from impressions on the breath-form received through the four senses and interpreted by thinking.

Doer-memory of the human is the reproduction and recognition by the re-existing doer portion of states of itself apart from the impressions of outside things made on the breath-form by the senses. These are states through which the particular doer portion has passed, whether in the present life or in any lives in the past or in any of the after death states between them. They are states in which the doer portion was conscious in feeling and desiring and in the active and passive sides of one of the three minds it may use. They are states of the doer itself. They are apart and quite distinct from the impressions of external objects made by the senses. The impression on the breath-form is one thing, and the pain or pleasure, desiring and feeling or other doer state induced by the impression is quite another.

Doer-memory of the human is usually of two, rarely of three degrees, according to the aspects of the doer of which the human is conscious. The doer states to which the world today attaches most importance are pleasure and pain from sensations through the senses, and joy or sorrow, fear or desire, as interior states of the doer.

In the conscious waking state doer-memory may be intentional or come uncalled for. If it is the result of an effort it is recalled by active thinking on a subject of thought connected with the doer state sought to be remembered. There are three ways of remembering, according to the three degrees of doer-memory.

In the first degree of doer-memory, when one tries to remember a doer state of feeling-and-desire the process begins by inquiring of oneself what the doer state connected with a former time, place or event was; such as “How did I feel when I first went to school?” Then one gets sense-memory, as of the way to school, the schoolhouse, the teacher and the pupils. This line of sense-memories must be found before there can be any doer-memory as of the feeling when one first went to school. The aid of sense-memory is a preliminary to the doer-memory of feeling. Sense-memory is the recognition of the sights, sounds and other sensations, and that recalls the feelings and desires which sense impressions caused many years before. The process of remembering feelings and desires starts in the kidneys, but it is not recognized until it reaches the heart. Usually it is not recognized even there, and people remain unconscious of the effort to remember until the process reaches the brain.

The second degree of doer-memory of a human is that of remembering states concerning rightness-and-reason. Recalling a judgment connected with a person or a scene is a memory of a state concerned with rightness; instances of a state concerned with reason are such as the understanding of the multiplication table, of axioms and of general truths. The breath-form is usually called upon to present impressions previously made by the senses, to aid in this kind of memory. The remembering begins in the heart by thinking of a subject and then reaches the brain. In the heart the action of the breath calls on the breath-form for the impression connected with that subject of thought. The breath-form throws the impression into the heart, whence it is carried into the brain, and there it is recognized as a former state of the doer.

The reason why people cannot call up the memory of other mental states is because they do not control their thinking. They use chiefly the body-mind, the mind that is worked for the physical world and is particularly concerned with contact, measure, weight, distance and such physical things. While they use the feeling-mind or the desire-mind, they use them much less and work them only in connection with the body-mind. Using chiefly the body-mind people can get only such doer-memories as are caused by physical things.

Doer-memories of the third degree, that is, of states relating to I-ness-and-selfness do not come to the average human by efforts to remember. If the attempt to pursue one’s identity in memory is made, as by trying to remember who one was a week ago, a year ago or twenty years ago, I-ness is called upon by the false “I.” The false “I” then feels itself to be the same entity it was a week ago, a year ago and twenty years ago, though the physical features of the human have changed. The breath-form is not required to do anything actively, but is needed as a background, for instance, to show today, a year ago and twenty years ago. It is felt that something has not changed at all, is no younger, no older and was and is conscious as something without change. This is a feeling by the false “I” of “I”-ness, which is the real “I” behind the false. The connection and continuity are given by I-ness.

Doer-memory of the three degrees usually appears without being summoned. Just as casual, unintentional sense-memory, mingled with passive thinking, makes up the longest stretches of life and draws in doer-memories of feelings and desires, so the turning points of life are marked by uncalled upon doer-memories of the other degrees. These are not associated with sense impressions and surroundings, but burst in on them and evoke in the doer feelings of fear and gloom or of serenity, peace and ease, often quite at variance with surrounding conditions. These memories from beyond the senses are felt as hope, conscience and destiny.

All these doer-memories are due largely to thoughts cycling in the mental atmosphere of the doer portion in the human. They act at certain times on the aia, calling out and reviving impressions which they made on it when they were generated, and thereafter from time to time in their coursings. The thoughts are the same as they were in the past. The indwelling doer portion is not conscious of the thoughts, but it is conscious of the effects produced by these passing thoughts, which are memories of past doer states. These memories produce temptation, remorse, fear, hope, pangs of conscience and faith in one’s destiny. But they do so in a manner for which the human does not account. He cannot account for it because he is so ignorant of the nature of memory.

A “good memory” is a mechanically accurate process of reproduction from the breath-form of impressions received from the four senses. All one has to do is to call for the memory; the less he interferes with remembering by thinking the clearer will be the automatic reproduction. Memory is not thinking and is not accomplished by thinking. Thinking, while the impression is being made by the senses, interferes with the clearness of the impression, and thinking may also interfere with or prevent remembering. Defective memory is caused not only by inability of the particular sense to make impressions, but also by anything on the road that prevents their transmission from the breath-form to the doer, or by want of skill or power in the doer to receive them. Failure to get clear impressions on the breath-form may be due to one of two causes. The senses may be unable to receive and convey clear impressions, or the breath-form itself may be unable to receive or retain them.

Memory will be poor if the impression was slight, blurred, inaccurate or combined with other impressions. If a sense cannot make a sufficient impression on the breath-form there will be no memory. Such is often the case with people who cannot remember melodies or sounds. When they hear a melody the auric nerve transmits it to the airy body and from there it passes by way of the breath-form to the doer, without however making a clear impression. Therefore, the melody is heard, the doer reacts to it, but cannot reproduce it by memory because no clear impression was retained by the breath-form.

Other causes of poor memory are impediments which prevent proper transmission of impressions to or from the doer, even if they have been made on the breath-form. That is the case where the nerve structure, along which they have to pass to or from the doer, is defective, or where the organs or nerve channels are obstructed by abnormal substances, such as adhesions. This may happen because of diseases, old age or dissipation.

Memory will also be poor if there are impediments created by the doer itself, which will prevent either a clear impression on the breath-form in the first instance or later a proper reproduction. They are inattention, confusion, dissatisfaction, a riot of feelings and desires, or a lack of Light in the mental atmosphere of the human, so that it is dim and the doer is not clear as to what it wants to remember. Its mental activities are not coordinated; they lack resilience and clarity, order and discrimination.

The call for things sought to be remembered depends upon association. There must be an impulse felt in the doer for a name, occasion, person, event, sight, or something associated with the thing sought to be remembered which once drew a reaction from the doer. This subject suggests to the doer the thing once seen, heard, tasted, smelled or touched and the doer calls for the memory or reproduction of it. This is then produced automatically as the breath-form throws up a copy of the first impression in the frontal sinuses or on the sensorium of the brain.

To repeat in the afternoon a statement heard in the forenoon it is necessary that the hearer should have a good memory of sounds, that he should have listened to the words and not have allowed himself to think while listening. When later repeating the words, he must again stop thinking, have confidence and listen to the sounds as they reappear on the areas of the brain. If he strains too hard he will interfere and will not remember. He would be able to repeat a long conversation word for word if the first impression were clear and there were no mechanical obstructions in the way and if the doer had been attentive and not engaged in collateral thinking.

If one has a memory good enough to let him note discrepancies in stories, he does this by means of association and comparison. He must listen to the several stories without interfering by his thinking. He will then get a clear-cut imprint to which his doer and his thinking will react. When he hears other stories bearing upon the subject of the first, the doer-memory causes him to associate and compare the new with the prior impressions of the story and calls on the sense-memory to furnish the prior records. Where persons are vaguely conscious of variations or contradictions, but cannot remember distinctly, they fail in their memory either because they did not receive clear impressions in the first instance or because they did not listen attentively and without mixing their own thinking with the record.

The most frequent causes of poor memory are not to be found in weakness of the senses or of the breath-form and in defects in the ways of transmission, but in the vague passive thinking that interferes with the making of the first impression and again with the reproduction and recognition.

Sense-memory and doer-memory are not distinguished. There are various causes. The doer-memory of which a person is conscious is evoked by events in the world, that is, impressions which the senses make on the breath-form; these events cause sense-memories to come together with the doer-memory; and the person, not being expert enough, does not distinguish one from the other. Another cause is that the doer-memories of which people are conscious are chiefly desires and feelings, and both of these are usually suggested by the senses. The doer-memories of feeling-anddesire are unfamiliar, and if they do appear they are considered as unusual experiences and are not classified as memories.

Doer-memories are all memories of states of feeling-and-desire, brought about by thinking. The thinker of the Triune Self has before it at all times all of the past and of the future that has been made. Thus it knows and brings about destiny for the human. The knower of the Triune Self is in the Eternal, as knowledge, which includes past and future of every kind. Thus doer-memories are states of the doer in the human, which lives in time and makes destiny.

There are four kinds of psychic states which can be called doer-memories. There is a memory of the impressions of nature affecting feeling or desire as events; this is brought on by the action of the body-mind; this is psychophysical memory. There is a memory of feelings as feelings or of desires as desires, a memory of themselves. This memory is usually evoked by events of nature in association with the body-mind, working with the feeling-mind or the desire-mind; this is psychic memory. There is a memory which is a state of feeling or of desire, but not merely of feeling or desire. It is a memory where the human remembers concerning an event which seems to say “Yes,” “No,” “It should be” or “It should not be.” This is not instinct, which is based on the experience of feeling or of desire. It is a feeling of a truth, a conviction. The conviction may be contrary to one’s instinct, that is, to his feelings and desires, because it is the recurring as a memory of previous learning through thinking.

The ability to do things is a result of the third kind of memory. For this ability to become operative it is necessary that there should be a physical event which evokes it. Instances of such doer-memories are feats of instantaneous calculation, the flashing in of musical themes and the conception of plans for business and management of affairs. All persons who show abilities beyond routine, training and mere skill, have at times doer-memories, which are the basis of inspirations and of extraordinary accomplishments. Writers, composers, inventors, statesmen or soldiers who stand out from the mass of their associates have doer-memories which aid them; this is psycho-mental memory.

To the fourth branch of doer-memory belong memories which come to one suddenly, whether he is alone or in a throng, and make him conscious of his own identity apart from the present. They bring a state of isolation, serenity and exaltation. This is a rare occurrence and does not usually last more than a few moments. But it leaves one with a sense of permanence among the changing forms and shifting scenes of life; this is psycho-noetic memory.

Memories of the third and the fourth kinds do not appear as what is called memories, that is, the recognition of former states, as do the memories of the first and the second kinds. The memories of feelings and desires require a stimulus from sensuous events, which are like the feelings and desires, whereas the memories brought about by the thinker require events which become subjects of thought. Ordinarily no distinction is made and all memories seem to be of the same kind.

After death the impressions made during the life by the four senses remain on the breath-form. The impressions or symbolic signatures, the magic records of thoughts, remain on the breath-form and also on the non-dimensional aia itself. The solid parts, the brain, the nerves, the four systems and the astral-airy-fluid parts are gone and dissipated. Only the senses, with the breath-form, remain. The breath-form reproduces to the doer portion that was dwelling in the human, in the after death states, the events of his past life. These reproductions are memories. Some of them help to make the hell of the human. Some aid in realizing the ideals which are his heaven. During the hell state those memories which cannot enter heaven, are burnt off the breath-form. That is one of the purposes hell accomplishes. At the end of the heaven period the breath leaves the breath-form; the form lets go of the senses and their memories, which are dissipated, and all that remains in the doer portion is the aia and the form of the breath-form which is inactive and at rest. The doer portion is in a state of rest. The aia is without dimension. It carries no impressions which had been made by the senses on the breath-form, but it carries in potency the magic signatures made by thoughts. When there is a re-existence of that doer portion, some of these signatures will become actual when the aia revivifies the form of the breath-form, which had been inactive, and relinks it to its breath, and it is the same breath-form unit or living soul for the next existence on earth.