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Where does memory exist? How come we cannot easily retrieve past life memories? Who's memory do we possess upon death (this incarnation or another one)?

First, since we leave the body and still remember who we are, then memory seems to be independent of the brain. I think of the brain as a filter for our memories but not the source of memories. One may argue, "But what about this part of the brain being creative and this part of the brain being logical?" How can a lobotomy remove personality? Or does it? I think what we think of as "personality" is largely chemical and IS part of the brain! When we are moody, depressed, happy, feeling sexual, etc., it is comprised not just of our soul make-up, but the hormones, testosterone, estrogen, endorphines, drugs, etc., that are coursing through us and therefore give us what appears to be additional or altered personality. I think we are at our true selves when we are not being influenced by these things. So yes, memory, and even personality are independent of our brain, but largely altered by substances in the body. Brain and chemicals give us the illusion that our memories and personalities reside solely in the body and influence both to some degree.

I think there are different layers to the memory. We all have access to the higher self or the Universal Mind, and yet most of us only have local life memory, even when we leave the body.

I think memory development is parallel to soul awareness. The more "awake" I become in this dreamy illusion the more disintegrated the boundaries become between sleep and wake. Eventually, I will just "live" in other dimensions equally and direct both life and dreams, instead of letting life and dreams direct me.

And further still, the barrier between higher self and conscious self will also disintegrate as I live this awake life. It already has. I am constantly "remembering" other aspects of myself, truths, messages from my higher self, and receiving knowledge that was always there but I couldn't understand or wasn't ready for. As in the sleep/wake barrier, the higher self/conscious self will merge as well.

One would think that a realized person lives both a seamless life in terms of awareness (no sleep, no death), and are also living their higher selves (total memory of All that Is.)

If you are still developing, you will not gain past life memory upon death. You will still be who you are now even to the point (for some) of not even being aware that you have died. Death does not mean evolvement and instant memory. However, as you become realized you will remember more and more your experiences that brought you to the sum of who you are now until you live in total.

Of course, there are volumes on how to become realized and there are many paths that lead to that destination. I think meditation, light work, resonating with peace and love, turning inward instead of outward, to name a few can do this. There is no switch to flip. It is an evolution. I thought by going to the higher planes I would access all this nifty information, but when I did, I didn't understand it because it wasn't in words or pictures! It was non translatable in current terms. My current message translator wasn't working ;)

Well, there you have my 2 cents on memory. It's a good thing that it is independent of the mind because I'd have none by the time I was done here.

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