If enough time goes by between painful experiences we often forget the pain and repeat the behavior.
How can we keep pain memory fresh?
All of us make mistakes. Hopefully we learn from our failures and don't repeat them. Unfortunately, for most of us that isn't the case. We seem doomed to go round and round our mountains until we've worn a trench that resembles a castle moat.
It dawned on me one day that we have pain memory but it doesn't seem to last very long. We remember when we touched that hot stove not to do it again.
Why can't we remember emotional pain causing events?
What about bad habits that we allow to creep back in and again cause us the same old pain from before.
Scripture likens humans to sheep, who are very dumb animals, cute but dumb. If the sheep didn't have their shepherd to follow they would literally walk off the cliff. The leader would start off the cliff and the others would follow. Now that's dumb. Sound familiar?
We may see someone doing something that looks like fun and follow them only to find a cliff edge waiting. Forget about following others. We can follow our own nose right off the cliff.
An important difference between humans and other animals is our ability to make conscious choices. Just following our sensory perceptions: sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing; can easily get us into trouble. But if we can be more aware in the moment, making conscious choices, we will be better off.
The problem is we are dumb sheep and get distracted easily. Before we know it we are at that cliff edge again.
The key is in who and what we are following. This is a daily, hourly, even momentary discipline that must be intentionally practiced.
Who / What am I following today?
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