I propose that tonight we inquire into the nature of impartiality, that quality that is regarded as so important in our work on self. Let us suppose that two of you are having an argument and I am asked to be impartial. What does this mean?
I think it means not taking sides, not caring if one person is right or the other.
By saying impartiality is not caring, I believe you have confused it with indifference, which is I think what many people do. Indifference has its place, it is a very powerful state as we have discussed, but it is not impartiality.
Not taking sides is a useful insight. What happens when we take sides? We become a part of the drama. The side we choose derives energy from our support; even if we keep our bias to ourselves, the side we choose is strengthened in our own minds. The side we oppose may be energized by our opposition if we make our position known. Having taken sides, we are now invested in the conflict. We are no longer able to discern the facts because our brains and nervous systems begin to filter our perceptions. Do we believe what we see or do we see what we believe? Is it not usually the latter?
This suggests that if you are impartial, you see both sides equally.
I’m not sure about ‘equally’ so let’s leave that aside. If I am impartial, I see both sides as they are, their pain, their sorrow, their joy. It is really caring about all the aspects of the conflict and everyone involved. To be impartial means not in parts, not partially, but rather seeing the whole situation.
As a group, we have performed the invocation of the Watcher. The Watcher is impartial. He or she is all perception and no conception. This state is enormously powerful for the one who invokes it.
What impact does it have on the watched, do you think?
I guess you would feel very exposed, if you were aware of it.
Yes. In an argument, you are identified. You have a side. You want everyone to take sides because that way your identity is confirmed.
What happens if there is a truly impartial witness to the event? Do you catch a glimpse of your own identification? Does the significance of your argument diminish?
One of the ways our work can make a difference in this world is to be an impartial witness. This is not a matter of indifference but of utmost care not to become identified and therefore partial. In this state, there is great feeling, real empathy for all.