I wanted to continue the exploration of Impartiality as a practice of power. Impartiality is the ability to step back and see things free of reactivity. I had a spiritual teacher for a number of years that felt impartiality was one of the greatest tools for liberating ourselves from struggle and suffering and for empowering us to decide how to go through life. When I can see who I am, free of labeling myself good or bad, then I can appreciate my strengths and grow my weaknesses. When I can rise above the dramas of life and look openly at what is going on, I can make clearer course adjustments to keep myself on track toward creating the life I want. The benefits of being impartial make it worth the effort it takes to get there.
There is a story I want to share that I think can shed some light on this process of being present to what is without judgment. I like this monk story so much that I am in sharing it even though it only indirectly reflects impartiality.
There were two monks on a long days walk to return to their monastery. Early in the day they came about a stream. There at the stream’s edge stood a lovely young woman. She was hesitant to cross the stream. After a brief conversation the one monk lifter her up and carried her across the stream as the other one watched in shock. The monks then left the woman behind and continued on for most of the rest of the day before reaching their home. When they got to the gates of the monastery the one monk turned to the other and said, “I can’t believe you carried that woman across the stream, it was in violation of our rules to interact with her. The other monk looked him in the eyes and said, “I just carried here across the stream, you carried her in your thoughts all the way up to here.” Yes the mind can carry disagreeable situations for a very long time. With impartiality you are free to act, to be and then to move on without judgment and lingering doubt. The one monk was free of his act the moment he put her down. The other one carried his judgment and discomfort all the rest of the day.
I love that story about letting go and moving on. How often do you carry things too long? Wouldn’t it be nice to let go of our critical reactive self and just be moment to moment? Here is a further technique to help you develop your impartiality.
This technique is kind of a challenge to write about without a diagram but as of yet I haven’t a clue on how to do that on this blog. I would like you to think of yourself as a collection of selves. Each self runs you when you are in that self. Let me give you some examples: the fear of failure self avoids situations where you might fail; the food eating self may enjoy preparing and eating meals; the work self may be energized and passionate about your work; the morning self may walk around in a daze until coffee; the party self may enjoy meeting friends and drinking beer; the spiritual self must attend church every Sunday or feel guilty; the approval seeking self may ignore what feels right inside and instead do what someone else wants; and so many more. We have hundreds of different selves that take us over every day.
Can you see in your mind a big circle, which would be you, and in the circle are a number of different size circles spread around and each represents another self? Good I knew you could do this. The size of the different circles vary depending on the size of the self’s influence on you. Inside the large circle is also a circle for your impartial self. The goal is to grow the impartial self large enough that it is the predominate self in you. Then you are free to just watch the other selves and choose how to be. So your task, if you choose to accept it, is too draw a large circle and start to fill in the different smaller circles of selves that you are aware of in your life. I remember one weekend where I came up with over 300 selves I observed in me. I was amazed to see such a variety if forces in me. This exercise can bring you a lot of insight into what selves run you. The insights empower you to be the creator of your life.
I will share more techniques later. Please let me know how this goes. If you have questions please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org