Impartiality Is a Practice of Power

On this blog I will introduce you to Practices of Power that will enrich the quality of your life if you choose to explore and practice them. I have experimented with these practices over many years and have seen their great benefits. These I share with a caution: if you choose to explore this or any future practice it will definitely alter your life in ways that will make it forever different. I share this caution because if you tend to like things the way they are or like to stay in your comfort zone then you may not want to explore these practices.

I want to share with you a Practice of Power called Impartiality. Impartiality is the ability to witness or observe yourself and the world free of judgment. That means you can be with yourself, see what you do, and assess it free of an emotional reaction. You can also do that with others and situations. You can learn to see what is going on and not be fully into reaction; instead you simply watch and learn. When you are impartial you clearly see what is going on as if you are simply an observer watching you and your relationship to the world.

Why is it beneficial to have impartiality you may ask? If you have been able to actually have moments of impartiality you know the benefits. I can share with you an experience I had in which I watched a scene unfold around me and didn’t get pulled into the crazy drama.

I was discussing a situation with some colleagues where I do some consulting work. Someone had questioned the quality of service being provided to a client. My two colleagues got very upset and their emotions shy-rocketed. I soon found myself surrounded by this highly charged response and watching how stirred up they got. I could feel the discomfort and investment they had in the situation and knew they had no idea how they looked as their faces grew red and the eyes got big as the explained what happened. In that moment they were both on a roller coaster ride of emotion and reactivity. My impartiality watched free of judgment and full of compassion for the shock of emotions that was coursing through their bodies. Without impartiality I would have been right there with them and believe me I have been right there more times then I would want to admit. The great thing about impartiality is that I can do a thorough review of my own over reactions, flaws and screw-ups and see them as mistakes and not beat myself up about them.

The reason I thought of writing about impartiality was because last night on my meditation walk I found myself briefly reviewing some of my major mess-ups in life. In the midst of this possibly unpleasant review I was happy to see myself as accepting of my imperfections and appreciative of my willingness to learn and grow. I saw the gift of impartiality in that moment very clearly and I wanted to share it today in my blog.

In my next blog I will write about some further methods for developing impartiality but for today I want to get you started. The most important first step is to make a commitment to yourself to begin to observe you and your interactions with the world. Begin by noticing your breathing patterns throughout the day and as you relate to others and situations. Pay particular attention to when your breath constricts or expands. These are points of closing or opening and they are valuable feedback to how you are responding to yourself and others.

The challenge will be to figure out how to remind yourself to be aware of your breath. Try this: every time you get up to move around have that as a signal that it is time to tune in. So when your body goes into movement it is suppose to remind you to observe the breath. I will call this, body moving into action, a trigger for your awareness. You can activate this trigger by simply suggesting to your body that any movement means time to be aware of breath. With practice you will get good at activating your awareness.

Please let me know how this goes and what you are learning along the way.