In a conversation at Harvard Medical School, with Emery Brown, Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School and Nicholas Schiff, Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Cornell Medical College, Sadhguru looks at how genetic memory can become a huge limitation on how you experience your life.
Sadhguru: What I’m saying is there is the potentiality of being human is just this as I said every creature has captured a certain amount of consciousness but they captured is not significant enough to become conscious of our consciousness where you can expand this. Other creatures are also conscious but they cannot expand this. So the reason why an individual human being may feel trapped in their own limited ways is simply because they are super identified with their memory. So one of the first steps in yoga is always this that you start identifying with your ignorance, never with your knowledge because your knowledge it doesn’t matter how vast it is, it is a miniscule in this cosmos but our ignorance is boundless.
So to blow the maximum...that you want first and foremost thing is you do not identify with your knowledge that means you do not identify with your accumulated memory. Accumulated memory on a superficial level maybe just what I learnt but on a deeper level, it is my genetics. It is my evolutionary memory, it is all that different dimensions of memory. So one fundamental thing we do which is something…which will be very interesting doctors like you to study is, we do certain things to people so that they become free from their genetic memory as far as possible. Except for the physiological factors, we want them to be released from their parentage. This is the purpose the entire Eastern cultures were focused on this, now it’s all messed up. People have forgotten this otherwise, one thing is we have always seen how to distance ourselves from the genetic memory because we saw that if you are identified with your genetic memory you will just be a replay of your parents’ life. You will not be a fresh life.
If you want to be a genuinely fresh possibility you have to distance yourself there are many types of processes through which we distance ourselves from genetic memory. You must see this, it’s so dramatic in the sense, in twenty-four hours’ time the human being changes completely. The very way they think, feel, understand and perceive life. With some of them even their facial features will change. Suddenly they look different within twenty-four hours’ time. The change is so dramatic.
Emery N. Brown: So what you...?
Sadhguru: I also...for the general purpose but it’s in a way originating from the genetic memory so that your functionality is not limited to your genetics that you are not a copy… a copy of the parents who produced you. Yes they have given you a body, they have nurtured you to adulthood after that their business is done. Now your business is to become a totally new potential of life. That’s what it is. But this will not happen… you will see this happening with people when they were sixteen, eighteen they were very rebellious about how they want to be, but you watch the same people after they’re forty-five, they are behaving just like their parents. They walk like them, sit like them, talk like them, everything coming back with that because the genetic memory overpowers. The initial desire and exuberance of youth, once it begins to recede you will see you start behaving just like your parents because the genetic memory overpowers you.
So one of the first fundamental things is that if one is striving towards becoming more conscious is to distance yourself from your genetic memory. If that doesn’t happen the power of this memory is not simple. To put is very simply, in today’s world it’s easy to explain because it’s your software, it’s not the brand of the computer that you’re using which decides what happens on the screen, it’s your software. What is the software that’s how it functions.
So your memory is software. You have a certain kind of software unless you disengage with that, nothing new will happen. You try whichever way you want, the same things will happen. Over and over again the same things will happen. When same things happen slowly – this is not a conscious process, but it’s happened to nearly ninety-eight percent of the human population – if I saw you when you were five, six years of age your face was like this. Somebody had to poke you with a pin to make you unhappy. Now somebody has to make you happy because the exuberance of life has sank because ...of memory. The same things are happening, you may not be conscious of it but the same things are happening. When same things are happening within you, slowly you lose all your exuberance. Only if something new is happening… Now people think something new means they must fall in love or must take up a new job. That’s not it. Something new needs to happen within you, in the very mechanics of who you are. If something new is happening all the time you will be exuberant, otherwise without knowing why slowly your face will become grave. Your face will become grave means, you’re practicing the posture for the grave. That’s what it means.