When I was about nineteen years old, I spent several days putting together a jigsaw puzzle while listening over and over again to the song “A Song for all Seasons” from the British band Renaissance. Up to these days, when I listen to that song, I can experience the same feelings; even smell the same scents I perceived at that moment. Like becoming surrounded for a different time and space at the same place and time in the now.
One of the things that help me remember a situation for future enjoyment is using the same music or song; listening to it several times while doing the activity.
It seems the brain learns to associate the sounds with the other sensorial inputs, and creates a complete memory that includes vision, hearing, smell, touch, etc. So the memory is more than a “picture”, but rather it becomes a “feeling”.
Later on, even after many years have passed, if I want to re-live that moment, all I have to do is listen to that specific music and the moment lived so long ago comes back and surrounds me, creating the past environment I was in back then. It is like time travel to the past, and that gives me the opportunity to experience the same situation again, hearing the same sounds, smelling the same scents, and even experiencing the same temperatures (cold, warm, hot) that I felt before.
Do you have a song that, every time you listen to it it’ll bring memories that you cannot stop? Maybe like when you were dating someone and dancing a slow song that enticed you to…well…you know what I mean!
So, based on that, many years ago I started doing sort of the opposite, just for the fun of it. I searched for music that could represent a heavy memory and, while remembering that moment from the past, I listened to the music over and over again.
One of those experiments was about the times I was less than seven years old, and have those fever attacks that created hallucinations that made me see weird things. After a long time searching for music that would represent the feelings, I found the song “At the Gates of Delirium” from the rock band “Yes”. So I listened to that song many times while concentrating on the images that were in my memory from the moments of hallucinations, and the physical feelings they created.
Today, if I want to relive those moments, I just listen to the song again and instantly I’m back inside that strange world of things moving around and changing shapes in front of my eyes…the big wall that grows and grows by my side, to become a barrier that touches the sky, separating this side from the other, the unknown. The ocean becoming a giant wave that slowly grows to the sky and moves forward to where I am standing, to cover me and kill me without anything for me to do; so the feeling of impotence and being so small, so insignificant against nature, and the “other” forces.
Crazy isn’t it?
But the point for this post is that we can use music to retain and make easy to reach many of the memories from the past, without the need of pictures or videos that, no matter how good quality they might be, could never bring back all the details that makes the difference between “seeing” a memory from “living” it all over again.
If you want to try it, all you have to do is chose a heavy memory, something that was a very important moment for you; then search for a melody or song that would represent the best possible the feelings of that moment in the memory; to finally listen to that melody many times while remembering all the details that conforms that memory. Years later, when you want to relive that moment, all you have to do is listen to that melody again and you’ll be back in time.
Give it a try! It is pretty cool