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PAINTED MEMORIES, 2023

Paint noun /peɪnt/

  • A coloured liquid that is put on a surface such as a wall to decorate it. ‘This wall needs another coat of paint.’


Paint verb /peɪnt/

  • To cover a surface with paint. ‘I've been painting all morning.’

  • To make a picture using paints. ‘All these pictures were painted by local artists.’

  • Depict (someone or something) or produce (a picture) with paint. ‘I painted a woman sitting next to a table lamp.’


Memory noun /ˈmem.ər.i/

  • The ability to remember information, experiences, and people. ‘She has an excellent memory for names.’

  • Something that you remember from the past. ‘I have vivid memories of that evening.’

  • The part of a computer in which information or programs are stored either permanently or temporarily, or the amount of space available on it for storing information. ‘My computer has a gigabyte of memory.’

 

I wondered how I could cover up a memory and make it disappear or fade it away. What happens if I paint over a photograph? Will the memory of the original photograph completely disappear? What happens if I paint a new memory and overlay it exactly on top of the old one so as to completely block it? Would the first memory be erased from my mind, or would I end up having two separate layers of memories equally present? Is there a subtle, invisible link between "now" and the "past"? What makes one remember certain events or things, especially things that one wants to forget, when one knows that only the present exists?
 

Remembrance presents things, events, or actions that are long over, but being kept in memory appears to have immediate effects. This world remembered was over long ago. The thoughts that made it are no longer in the mind that thought of them and loved them for a little while. Remembering an event, which can be considered as a cause, can only produce illusions of its presence and never have effects. All effects have vanished; they are no longer here. For when the cause is over, in its passing went its consequences, left without a cause.
 

You are so used to thinking that memory only preserves what is past that it is hard for you to realise that it is a skill, made up by you, that you can remember now. The limitations on remembering what the world imposes on it are as vast as those you let the world impose on you. There is no link or any kind of connection with the past. Once you had it there, then there it is. But only your desire made the link, and only you held it in a part of time where the guilt still seems to linger.
 

Time neither takes away nor can restore. And yet you use it strangely, as if the past had caused the present, which is but a consequence in which no change can be possible because its cause is gone. However, any change must have a cause that will endure, or it will not last. No change can be made in the present if its cause is past. Only the past is kept in memory as you make use of it, and so it is a way of holding the past against the present.
 

Why would one linger in the past? Why would one cling to an event in memory if one did not desire its effects? The answer is that it is not One's Self, but rather one's ego that tries to preserve only the past, for the ego remembers everything one has done that has offended it and seeks retribution from one in the present. By remembering all imagined insults, past disappointments, remembered pain, perceived deprivations, and injustices, the ego holds the past against one, and in one’s escape from the past, it sees itself deprived of the vengeance it believes one’s so justly merits.
 

“Now” is meaningless to the ego. The present only reminds him of the pains of the past, and he reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot accept release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by reacting as if it were present. It commands your reactions to people you meet in the present from a past reference point, concealing their present reality.
 

Do not underestimate the intensity of the ego’s drive and obsession for vengeance on the past. It is entirely ruthless and utterly insane for the ego remembers everything you have done that has offended it and seeks retribution from you. Do not seek to lay the blame for privation on the past, for it is gone. And you cannot really not let go what has already gone. It has no meaning in the present, and if it means nothing now, it cannot have any real meaning at all.
 

Should you listen to the ego, should you seek to lay the blame for privation and hardship on the past, it must be, therefore, that you only maintain the illusion that it has not gone because you believe it serves some purpose that you still wish it fulfilled. And it must also be that this purpose could not be achieved in the present but only in the past. Yet without your full cooperation in your own destruction, the ego could not hold you to the past.
 

When ancient memories of loathing arise, remember that their cause is gone, and with its passing, the drive for revenge has been uprooted and has disappeared, and so you cannot understand what they are for. Do not let the cause you give them now be what made them what they were or seemed to be. Be glad the past is gone. Peace and quiet now envelop you in perfect gentleness.
 

On top of everything, consider this: what you remember never was. It came from a lack of cause, which you mistook for cause. It is worth nothing but enjoyment when you learn that you have remembered effects that were without cause and could never be effects.
 

When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form or feel guilty of something you might have done to others, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think you or he or she did. Forgive instead of letting yourself self-deceit, because it has never really happened. Forgiveness overlooks all sins that were never accomplished. Forgiveness recognises that what you thought another person did to you has not actually occurred.
 

Learn to give the past away, realising that in so doing, you are giving up nothing. You are not guiltless in time, but in eternity. You have considered yourself to have “sinned” in the past, but there is no past. Time seems to go in one direction, but eternity has no direction. In timelessness, you rest while time goes by without its touch upon you, for your rest can never change in any way at all.

NOTES

The series comprises 7 artworks.

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