Sure thing my man.
Those intense and stressful situations are somewhat intoxicating, aren’t they? Under such states of mind, we forget things. We forget to be present, we forget to investigate our experience rather than trying to control it, and we even forget what it was like to be without those states of mind.
Two different states of mind do not know each other. A stressed state of mind cannot know the world and yourself and reality the way a happy state of mind can. Or a jealous frame of mind cannot and does not experience reality the way a generous frame of mind can do so.
There will be memories of other states of mind amidst your current state of mind but the memory is not the experience, the way a circle is not a sphere.
However, you are the one who knows all states of mind that come and go.
This is why there is a crucial and subtle point to remember about meditation: it is not a state of mind. Many people take up meditation thinking it is a state of mind or trance-like state in which there is only peace and release. Peace and release are certainly part of the meditation process and experience but they do not define or limit it.
Our typical moment-to-moment experience of existence emphasizes our state of mind and quality/content of experience over the awareness that is actually experiencing it. In meditation, you shift that emphasis from the fixation on content/quality of mind states to the clear and ever-present awareness that observes them. That shift in emphasis is not the same as a shift in focus. You are not focusing on your awareness the way you have focused on other things in the past. Because you are that awareness, it cannot be engaged in the subject-object relationship that typically characterizes the way we relate to states/frames/content of mind.
Instead, you abide/witness/be as that ever-present awareness. It is not what you are feeling but rather the power by which you know that you are feeling. It is the conscious-ness in consciousness.
This is technically accomplished by witnessing your states and frames and content of mind without seeking anything from or through them. You do not use your states of mind to find insight, you do not dissect or judge your states of mind, you don’t compare them, and you don’t enact preferences of desire and fear regarding them.
You are always that awareness but when we are not in meditation this is often forgotten. You focus on the mind and personality and body and then live from those frames of orientation. When you are caught up in stressful and emotional turmoil, which always relates to your mind-personality-body-ego-character but has nothing to do with your stainless awareness as existence, you are in effect intoxicated by your perceptual habits.
The practice of returning to awareness, which means to return to experiencing existence from and as that awareness, is called mindfulness. Like meditation, you may use anchors to initiate and guide mindfulness until the naturalness of awareness sinks in to you. For me, I often use my breath as an anchor for when I wish to begin or return to mindfulness in daily life.
Of course, as you have pointed out, you need to remember to remember. If you don’t remember the practices then you wont use them in the moment. Part of that means you must be practicing mindfulness continuously throughout the day. The practice of mindfulness is the practice of peace and serenity within. You should notice what activities and experiences take you out of your mindfulness practice.
Another part of remembering means that you take unpleasant and overwhelming experiences not as a cue to make yourself feel better, to push things away and cling to what secures you, but rather as a cue to investigate and become aware of your current state, that there is work here to be done within.
Seeing the anxious and emotional quality of your current experience clearly is more important than changing those quality of experiences to something else. The urge to change the quality of content comes from the misperception of who you are. Whereas the clear-seeing of those current qualities happens when you are experiencing from and as the awareness that is your existence. One approach perpetuates the illusion while the other approach returns you to your rightful place, which just so happens to also be right where you are.
By initiating mindfulness during a moment of anger, anxiety, stress, emotion, or whatever, you interrupt the momentum of your perceptual habits and create space for something new and clear to emerge through you into the situation.
The more you interrupt that momentum of perceptual habit, the more that habit is diminished. When it returns, if it does, it will be in a different or weakened form. In this way, mindfulness practice throughout the day can be a very potent form of uprooting our delusions and hangups.
For more information and detail regarding this kind of spiritual practice, I cannot recommend a finer and clearer book than The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Namaste my friend 🙂