Day 6 – How to remember something

When I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s I was told that you only have so many brain cells and that if you did drugs or sniffed glue and killed your brain cells they wouldn’t grow back.

Sounded believable, but it wasn’t correct.

It turns out brain cells do regenerate, and that’s how we learn. Growing new neurons and connections between neurons is related to memory. Neuroscientists discovered this in the 90’s and by the early 21st century the word started getting out.

The easiest way to understand how it works is this… Memory is a little like making a path through the woods. If you walk through the woods once, there isn’t much of a path. It would be difficult to walk it again. If you purposely walked it over and over, a path would develop that would last for a while.

This is like trying to remember your multiplication tables in school. It’s hard to memorize math when you don’t do it much. You have to repeat over and over “7 x 9 = 63”.

Did I say, over and over?

It’s hard to make a path when you only walk it a few times or walk it infrequently.

There IS a quicker way though.


You’ll make a path that will last for a long time.

And this is how you make a memory quickly too. The equivalent to heavy equipment in the brain is EMOTION. The more emotion, the bigger the equipment.

You don’t have to TRY to remember some things. The instant they happen, they’re like a bulldozer in the brain.

I think this plays a hidden factor in forgiveness. It’s like, the woods were fine, but now there’s a big path of destruction through them. It’s not easy to overlook. In fact, it’s the only thing you can see now. It stands out.

People stand around and stare at it.

“Did you see that happen?”

“Yeah, that was something.”

“What a mess.”

That’s what happens with trauma. The mind is changed forever.

Forgiveness, if it is to be effective, must help deal with the new reality.

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  1. Thanks so very much Dean !
    This has given me a great amount to “meditate” on. 😉😄 Seriously though, this analogy is wonderful ! I know, it has made a new pathway in my thinking and has connected some of the meandering paths in my brain on this process of forgiveness.
    God Speed and a Multitude of Blessings,

  2. Indeed, bulldozers and fires are destructive to a forest and a heart. I am so thankful to God that regeneration and new growth can occur after such devastation. Following intense sorrow, I have experienced God’s gift of overwhelming joy and security in His love.
    “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18