Memorial Day

Richard JelusichBlog

For many today Memorial Day marks the official beginning of Summer.   It is predicted in the news that more people will travel over 50 miles from home this weekend than in the last twenty years! 

With the passage of time, our individual and collective memory can fade from current, everyday life.  The erection of statues and monuments, creating official holidays, honoring with parades and cultural events keep those memories alive and current.

Memorial Day was created to honor those who served in the armed services in defense of our country.  It is meant as a tribute for anyone (soldier, staff, civil service, etc.) who contributed to defend and uphold the principles upon which this country was established.  The holiday is meant to continue that tradition by honoring those who choose to serve the ideals and principles of our country.

Memories serve us as a record, both individually and collectively, of our thoughts and actions; all in the past.  Putting it in spiritual terms the word “karma” is employed, meaning the attachment to a person place, thing, event, etc.  Keeping a memory alive in some instances helps us to forge ahead and keep a form of inner focus in our daily endeavors, especially powerful when lives were ended due to conflict or violence.

Keeping a negative memory alive roots us in the depth of that attachment.  In terms of karma, it is not the attachment that matters as much as the strength of the attachment that tends to continue the karma and its effects (Karma can be considered as causation: the law of cause and effect)

More broadly, our memories of past actions are also shaping how we view the now and the future.  Past experiences that were very negative certainly have an impact on our current thinking and actions and thus our karma.

Though we are shaped by our past actions, we also have free will to choose our responses; the ability to change our behaviors, intentions and actions in the now.  This is one of the most powerful aspects of you and I; the ability to choose.  To emancipate ourselves and our collective consciousness from the past, is for each of us to choose wisely a new way, rather than be limited by the past, is emancipating us from being anchored to that past if it were negative.  Instead, we can choose, daily, to focus on the positive “now.”

Spiritual teachers as Paramahansa Yogananda (He was a real no-nonsense yogi) said to let go of the negative memories and only focus on the positive ones.  He meant to let go of the attachment to the negative memories that would root you in the past and to hold to those positive experiences.  It is easy to recognize that our only real power is in the now, and we’ve no power over the past.

Yes of course, it is appropriate to honor those who serve and served, gave their lives in service, and to the tenets we hold dear.  Let us honor those who have served in our prayers and meditations and by making good choices in our current actions.  Let us also honor our path by not being owned by our past.  Use the power of the will to choose.  You can honor the memory of those who served by making powerful choices for your health, wellbeing, morals and ethics and your spiritual growth.


Dr. Richard Jelusich, Ph.D.