Why do we forget? Excerpt from WINTER BREAK: A Luminous Journey into Wisdom and Love by Astrid Fitzgerald


. . . . .

“Why do we forget?” Caroline asked

“It is a very long story . . . ” Luma fastened the shawl that had taken flight. ” . . . an eternal story inherent in matter. Forgetting, my dear child, is caused by the play of the forces of Maya – the eternal illusion. The forces of Maya ceaselessly combine and re-combine,” Luma said in a kind of chant, sweeping her arms through space, ” . . . vibrating as light and sound . . . forming waves and patterns of ringlets and spirals . . . giving endless births and unceasing sustenance to the visible and invisible universes.”

Caroline’s mouth fell open seeing Luma’s words take shape, and was still open as she watched the last of the vibrating clouds of light and undulating waves float through the hut and the ringlets and spirals and crystalline shapes go pop and disappear into thin air. Luma had to be a magician after all. She didn’t dare ask how she’d done it, seeing Luma was looking a little wobbly and had her eyes closed, concentrating very hard.

Luma, finally opened her eyes, smiled, and went on. “When human beings look about them at the visible world, they take it to be the only reality, and live as if matter were the only thing to be regarded.” She slung her shawl over her shoulder. “But the story doesn’t end there. Human beings, believing themselves to be independent of Universal Spirit, grow arrogant and, over time, deny Spirit altogether. Hence, they live from a small, constricted self, in a very small, constricted world of their own making. In this constricted state, they do not, cannot, know who they are. And having forgotten their true nature, their source and dependence on the One, they become despondent, fearing life and fearing death.”

Caroline was still trying to grasp what she’d heard, when Luma went on. “You have asked the big question, my child,” she chuckled, “and there is much more to the human story than can be told in this brief time together. But, as you do your own work – awakening to reality, and remembering who you are – you will, in due time, be able to answer your own questions.”

Caroline wondered how long ago she’d forgotten.

“When a baby is born,” Luma went on, “it has no sense of a separate existence, but feels itself at one with the universe. Later on, through contact with the physical world, the child loses the ability to commune with the imperceptible world. Soon thereafter, the child acquires the sense of me and mine, which is encoded in language and social conditioning.”

Caroline questioned whether she’d ever grasp the meaning of any of it.

“As the child loses the experience of unity, it feels itself to be separate, which brings on the pursuit of identity. Henceforth, the child believes itself to be the sensations, the feelings and the body. Later on in life, as the being falls deeper into forgetting, it identifies itself with its mind, its intelligence, its constitution, its profession and possessions. And there is no end to this drama of forgetfulness.”

Caroline always believed she was her body. Didn’t everyone? “Does this . . . this drama happen to everyone?” she said, hesitantly.

“Yes, my child. It is in the nature of things. Human beings, unlike other creatures, have been granted many glorious attributes – reason, self-awareness, intellect, intuition and discrimination – which, by universal intent, are the self-same instruments necessary to awaken from forgetfulness, and removing the veils of illusion, thereby finding the way back to unity.”

Veils of illusion?” Caroline burst out.

“The veils of illusion, also known as vestments or coverings, are the effects of false beliefs and mistaken identification with the body and the faculties of mind. Divesting oneself of the veils of illusion is difficult, and achieved by only a few in a million through sincere aspiration, grace and strength of character.”

While Luma paused, Caroline tried to grasp what had sounded rather strange – unlike anything she’d ever heard. What was she to do with all this, and why on earth was she telling all this to her.

“You desired to know what is real.” Luma said.

Caroline was getting used to the fact that Luma was able to read her mind.

Luma smiled, which made the light around her even brighter. “The only way to know what is real is to remove that which is unreal – the mistaken beliefs and the claims on identity we spoke of earlier. When, in due time, ignorance retreats, just as the night at dawn, human beings experience that which is real. They are given glimpses of the essence of their true being, lifting them up into a higher order, where they enjoy happiness, knowledge and bliss.” . . .

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