On Memory and Redemption

The following quote is ascribed to The Ba’al Shem Tov, (1698-1770), mystical Rabbi and the founder of Chasidic Jewry.  “The desire to forget prolongs exile; the secret of redemption is memory”.
Redemption: the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.
I ponder this statement as I remember my grandfather. He and my grandmother unwittingly provided the impetus for my pursuit of the Family Constellation Approach . Whenever I asked my grandfather about his memories of growing up as a Jew in Russia, he refused to answer. All he would say is that he left there to forget.
And yet, I, so many years later, am trying to remember, to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle of his past and thus, mine,  so that I may find my wholeness. To me, “redemption” is this wholeness. And so, despite my grandfather’s intent, it is important, necessary, for me to remember. Not the details of the history, but the energy contained in the conflagration of events that make up this empirical historical picture. Not so that I will know the “truth”, but that I may incorporate into my body, mind and spirit, that which propels me forward. To “remember”, in the most literal sense, that of rejoining a “member”, a limb, an aspect, which has been severed. Therefore, making whole that which has been fragmented.
For me, the healing power of Constellation Work is in remembering, with a view that observes and agrees. Not with the harsh critical vision of one who judges, argues, or rages. But of one who observes the aspects of what is available to know with “soft eyes”. One who says, I take what has happened, however it happened, with gratitude. From this I learned, from this I grew. And, with the flow of love and life that moves through me, emanating from this history, I will make something good.
“It is not the remembered past, it’s the forgotten past that enslaves us” – C.S. Lewis, 1898-1963. Novelist, science fiction writer, and Christian apologist

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