Ordinarily, if we go back into our past without meditation, even in a conscious state, the further we go back the hazier the memories will become. Someone may find it impossible to recall anything beyond the age of five, and even up to five the memories may be few and far between. As you draw closer and closer to your present age, your memories will become more and more clear. You will have a clear memory of yesterday; your memory of today will be even clearer. But your memory of the day before yesterday, that of a year back, or that of twenty-five or fifty years back will be increasingly hazier and hazier.
But if you apply the same technique in the state of meditation, you will be greatly surprised. The situation will be totally the reverse. As you will draw closer to the childhood memories, the clearer they will be, because the mind’s slate is never so clear as it is during the childhood; the writing on it is never so clear after that.
So you will have a big surprise reviving memories in meditation, because the situation will be reversed. The more you will move backward, drawing closer to childhood, the more transparent will be the memory. And as you will grow older in your memory, the hazier everything will look. In meditation, today will look the foggiest, while the first day of birth, fifty years ago for example, will be the clearest day in memory. Returning to the past memories in meditation is not remembering. You must understand the difference.
When we remember consciously, we are remembering. How is this different? When you remember your childhood – and you are now fifty years old, for example – you are fifty now, at this moment, and you revive the memory when you were five years old, or two years old, or one year old, what happens? Your fifty-year-old mind stands in between this moment and the memory of those years. The memories become hazy because you are looking through the layers of fifty years spread in between. When you remember the past following the technique of meditation, you no longer remain fifty years old; you become five years old. In meditation you remember as a five-year-old child. At that moment you are not a fifty-year-old man remembering the days when you were five years old. You go back to the fifth year of your life.
So when we recall memories consciously we should call it remembering, whereas the same in meditation is reliving. And there is a difference between the two. In remembering you face great layers of memories which make everything fuzzy. In meditation, reliving the memory turns you into a five-year-old.
Shobhana is here with us. She says in meditation, all of a sudden strange thoughts start coming to her. She thinks she is a child playing with dolls. That thought becomes so strong that it frightens her. She suspects someone may see her in that condition and feel strange about her, so she opens her eyes now and then to make sure no one is watching her.
She is not aware, at that moment her present age disappears. In that state she is not even remembering her childhood; it is reliving. That means in meditation she turns into a five-year-old girl.
There is a young man here: in meditation he begins to suck his thumb – he becomes six months old. The moment he enters into meditation, his thumb goes right in his mouth. He returns to the age when he was six months old.