Earlier this week I talked about the massive influence of Sigmund Freud with regard to the idea that trauma determines our present and future. But what if he was wrong? In today’s episode I want to present another controversial idea. What if we could simply choose to forget anything in our life that does not move us forward? Would this be denial or repression? Let me know what you think.
Choosing To Deliberately Forget Whatever Holds You Back
Well, Hey everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you once again for The Daily Podcast . Bless your friends wherever you are in the world. Really enjoying doing these, and I just hope that you’re going to hear something today that will be an encouragement for you, a blessing for you. Gosh, you know there is so much darkness in the world, isn’t it? Like there’s just, you only got to turn on YouTube or something for a few minutes to be convinced that the world is coming to an end. So often it’s great just to have a little bit of encouragement to know that, you know what, maybe things aren’t so bad. Maybe tomorrow could be better than today and maybe next year could be your best ever. So that’s why this exists, to give you a bit of encouragement.
I want to share an idea with you today that’s had a big impact on me given my last couple of weeks. It’s the two week anniversary today of my accident. Many of you know, of course I had a really serious accident and a lot of surgery and recovering now and doing really well. But I want to talk to you in relation to that about an idea that just came to me right at the right time. I’d been reading a book by a guy called Wilfred Stinissen, and this book was called a Eternity in the midst of time. And it’s a really interesting book about how we conceptualize time and really deep stuff, but there was one idea in it that absolutely jumped out at me and I want to offer it to you today. Basically, it’s an idea that he shares from an incredibly famous saint, a guy called Saint John of the Cross. It was a Spanish mystic and a sort of one of the key people in the Carmelite spiritual tradition, and John on the Cross had this idea of what he called Holy forgetfulness.
So the basic principle was that whatever memory doesn’t lead to the love of other people and the love of God, he sort of would teach people you can reasonably forget it. So whatever memory doesn’t lead to a greater love of God or a love of other people, you can reasonably forget it. Okay, now you’re listening going, what is this got to do with me? This is a motivational podcast. Okay, here’s what I want to suggest. Earlier this week I did an important podcast about trauma and the book that I’ve been reading, the courage to be disliked, and I made the point that in our sort of first world tradition, we’ve been heavily, heavily influenced by the Freudian idea of kind of a psychological determinism, which means trauma happens to us, bad things happen to us as children or as adults, and then that trauma determines how we respond so that we end up with depression or anxiety or PTSD.
Now this idea of Holy forgetfulness is really interesting because I want to suggest, what if we stopped thinking about all the bad stuff that had happened to us. Now just thinking about this for a second, like just can you agree with me that how conditioned we are to believe that whatever has happened to us is incredibly serious, and it’s defining for us and that it affects our sort of present and it could affect our future. Now I know you’re all different, so some of you may not have had a lot of trauma in your background, some of you might. But when this accident happened for me it was really bad and I’m only going to talk about it for a sec, because I’m using this Holly forgetfulness thing. That’s how this podcast has come together for me. It was a really bad, bad accident. It was just very serious and I could’ve been killed.
When I eventually got off the ground, I was just spraying blood everywhere and both my arms were destroyed and I knew instantly that was really serious. I’ve noticed it’s kind of a traumatic experience, and of course those memories and images kept kind of crushing into my mind, understandably. But at the same time I read this Holly forgetfulness idea I began to think, well, what if I just decided not to think about it? Now of course everybody goes, well, that’s denial and that’s repression, I go, no, that’s what Freud said, right? Like that’s the idea. We’ve all been conditioned that if we decide not to think about something, we must be repressing it and it’s going to come out later and it’s all going to be terrible. Well, look, I’m not a psychologist, so you know, get advice. You know, don’t take my word for it, and if, if this is confronting for you, maybe talk to someone else.
But I’m like, what have I just decided not to think about it? Well, people go, Oh, that’s impossible. You’ve got these huge things on your arms and your engine. I go, yeah, I know, but I don’t have to keep replaying it in my mind. I don’t have to let it sort of dominate everything. I could just choose to kind of not think about it and focus on all the good things that have come from it, all the people that have blessed me, and loved me, and cared for me, and brushed my teeth and, and you know, done up my pants, and all this stuff. So I want to offer you this idea. I don’t know what you think about it, but we’ve all had things happen to us, but do we have to keep thinking about them?
I mean, I think we get caught in the story. I mean many of us do, right? We have this story where like, “This thing happened and this person did something to me and this happened and then therefore I’ve been depressed and I can’t recover from it and you don’t understand what I’ve been through.” I go, “Yeah, sure. I agree. You’re probably right.” But as often said in seminars, if you have a story like that after you tell it what’s changed, you’ve just told your story again and you’re just trapped in that same cycle of determinism. I’m interested in this idea of Holy forgetfulness. I’m interested in this idea of what if we just stopped thinking about it, what if we just decided not to replay those memories anymore? I just think John of the Cross could be on to something here, right? Whatever doesn’t lead us to greater love of God and love of people around us, maybe it’s not worth thinking about anymore.
I don’t know, I just, I like it. I really do. I’m just like, I’ve spent years of my life replaying terrible things that have happened to me and you know, and repeating those in sessions and counseling and coaching and, and now I’m like, well, what have I just didn’t, what if I just let it go? What if I just focused on all the beautiful things around me and the wonderful people and the incredible love and the opportunities and it’s just what if I just stopped? So I just want to offer that to you today. I don’t know what you’ve been through in life, and I don’t know what you’re going through right now. I know that in things like in relationships, you talk a lot about forgiveness and stuff and you know sometimes what if you just forgot what things might have happened.
You know, like one of the crucial things in marriage, I’ve been married almost 20 years, like you know, forgiveness of each other. What if you just stopped remembering dumb stuff you’d both done and focused on the good stuff that you are doing and the good stuff that’s in the future. All right, so that’s my offering for you today. Holy forgetfulness. Just have a think about it. Get your journal out, go for a walk. Just think about it when you’re traveling today, like what have you, just let it go and decided, “Oh, I don’t have to think about that anymore. I’m not going to think about it.” All right, that’s it. I don’t want to keep repeating it, but I hope it’s useful to you. Could you do this for me? If you’ve got someone in your family or friends who would be blessed by this, we just send it to them today.
Just grab the link and say, “Hey, listen to this idea on forgetfulness. Tell me what you think.” As always, come and follow me. Instagram, jonathandoyle47 do it for me now, grab your phone if you’re not following me and just hit Instagram and just type in a search, jonathandoyle47 come and say hi. The Facebook, of course, Facebook at The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle and everything else is on the website, the daily podcast with Jonathan Doyle or jonathandoyle.co . That’d be great to just reach out, so make sure you’ve subscribed. Share this with people. Have a great weekend. It’s coming up. It’s Friday here. I don’t know when you’re going to hear this, but I’m really looking forward just to seeing some friends and family and just enjoying being around good people, so I hope you have a great weekend too. Anyway, God bless you. Let’s learn to forget. My name is jonathandoyle.co . This has been The Daily Podcast , and I’m going to have another message for you very soon.