Docatur Ambulando: A Teleology of One Memory

My wife Kalpna teases me that I have a bad memory. She may be right, but it doesn’t feel good to consider. 

In her swan song keynote for the Being Movement’s Ultimate Experience event last weekend, Amy Hardison shared the romantic idea of growing old in partnership by using each other’s atrophying memory together to make up one full memory. 

This is a great practical example of how we can relate to marriage as an opportunity for transcending the self. It’s an expression of how we can become identified instead with the union, which for me is a step on the spiritual path towards identification with the All

Immediately, I looked forward to sharing this beautiful perspective on ‘one memory’ with Kalpna, for it would present the non-confrontational possibility that my subpar memory need not be seen as a detriment, but could be seen as an opportunity for our melting into one another even more. 

While reviewing my notes on the flight home from Arizona, however, a far deeper possibility struck me. 

A Latin phrase I penned recently is a riff on the long-used phrase, ‘Solvitur Ambulando’, which means, ‘it is solved by walking’. Since first hearing this phrase, I have carried it with me as a reminder to just go for a walk or run whenever I don’t know what to do. 

The phrase I penned, however, was ‘Docatur Ambulando’ meaning ‘it is taught by walking’. My point is that lessons are more effectively taught by walking than by talking. 

In other words, we teach better by being an example of things than we do by explaining them

With my attention on being something rather than talking about it, I was reminded of an answer I gave during one of the panel Q&As on Friday afternoon. Someone in the audience of 250 or so had asked something like…

“How can I deal with a partner who is not interested in Being?” 

There were wonderful and loving responses from the panel regarding how to meet this common circumstance, all of which I concurred with. However, I could not help but add a perspective that may have come across as confronting or even burdensome, because this simple but radical way of seeing has given me more freedom, love, and power in relationships than any other. 

It is simply this: 

All of that which exists in my partner is my creation. 

Not only do I mean that I produce my experience of my partner through the meaning I make of them and their behaviors, but also that my bias bakes into them the behaviors of my expectation

My insight, which came to me spontaneously, was that my wife’s reporting on my poor memory was an indicator of the absence of my acknowledgment of how great her memory is. 

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean that by boasting grandiose delusions of her profound ability to remember, that I would wake her up to the injustice of her judgments. 

No, I am saying that my lack of seeing and acknowledging her ability to remember is the actual source and cause of her poking. In the same way that anything uncared for withers, her teasing is a call for love. 

What if all attacks are directed toward the absence of care? 

What if all lashing out is at the projected absent mother or father? 

What if, not only before the victim comes the villain, but before the villain comes also the vacant–the one so self-absorbed that they cannot see the love being called for before them? 

If so, then this vacant could keep this whole chain of poking from unraveling by seeing their walking as a solution to their predicament. 

My being loving, through acknowledgment or otherwise, is NOT an opportunity to heal or correct others. It is the filling of a void that I have made with my lack of presence and attention. 

In this attitude, there is no pain, no weight of guilt, and no burden for having made such a void. 

No, in this there is an awakening to opportunity, possibility, and power. 

Here, I declare, not to explain to my wife the marital merits of my lesser memory, but instead, Docatur Ambulando, to teach by walking. 

By focusing on the ability to remember that we do have, and by praising and acknowledging it when we see it, we will achieve that same movement toward union. 

Importantly, we will not come to this as a resolution of our detriments, but for the beauty and blessing of our boons. 

To keep this focus, all I’ll need to do is remember. 

Loving us all, JPM