• November 22, 2016

    You have talked about impartiality towards others but it seems to me to be much more difficult to be impartial towards oneself, which is the basic requirement of impartial observation.

    Our lives are neither uninterrupted sleep nor do we have long periods of voluntary attention and presence. We have periods of sleep when we are identified and essentially blind to ourselves and we have moments when we experience the cracks in our sleep states, where the light shines through.

    The cracks are where you see impartially?

    Yes. Let’s suppose you are motoring along in your favourite sleep state where you habitually express your political opinions. For just a moment, you catch a glimpse of yourself as pompous and insincere. It’s that tell-tale hand gesture of yours and your tone of voice. You recognize it instantly. You are in the crack between.

    What happens next is the key. You will have an immediate physical reaction and then you will have some thoughts on the matter. One of your identities will try to reassert itself and pull you out of the crack. This identity will offer to judge or excuse, condemn or justify, or perhaps simply distract, the options are limited, and that will get you out of seeing objectively and back into your personality, home sweet sleep. The movement is from impartiality to partiality.

    Or you can see the reaction as part of a habitual process and refuse the identification, remaining impartial.

    What’s important here is to see the crack as separate from the reaction. There is a distinction between impartial seeing, which is the moment of insight, and the reaction. Seeing this makes it possible to escape identification and return to the crack. What was seen in the original insight—your insincerity—is part and parcel with the reaction that follows; it is all one movement of personality. What is separate is seeing. Can you stay with seeing?

    Can we stay longer in the cracks?

    The reactions to impartial observation of self inevitably begin with sensations that co-relate with specific muscular contractions. We like to think that the thoughts stirred up by our reactions are the primary things to deal with but they are secondary to sensations and contractions which actually precede the thoughts. Can you see and release these contractions? Doing so may halt the reaction, allowing impartiality to continue. Do not be surprised if the resulting insights are very painful.

    How do you make more cracks?

    Life itself makes cracks. We receive shocks. People close to us suffer. We fail to realize our fondest dreams. We make mistakes. Suffering creates cracks in our personal veneer. Our inconsistencies are exposed. We can begin to see more of what is actually going on in ourselves.

    Work on self can expedite the cracking. One valuable step is to understand the nature of attention.

    Our ordinary attention is not impartial. We believe it is a personal possession controlled by our thinking and we allow this assumption to hide the possibility that attention can be independent and impartial. Learning to invoke attention can teach us that it has a miraculous power to act without the interference of the head brain, that it has an independent existence as a fundamental property of the space around us. Freeing attention from the limitations we impose on it allows us to enter more cracks.

    Also, the process of observing self accumulates data over time. We begin to recognize our habitual patterns, perhaps at first after the fact but then in real time. We humans are not nearly as complicated as we think we are. For each of us, our sleep patterns come down to a limited few with recognizable sensations, gestures and expressions. The more you know them, the more you see them.

    Related Post:
    Impartiality – Nov 13, 2016

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