That’s the topic for today’s reflection. Most of us love in a partial way. We easily feel warmth and compassion for those close to us, but have more trouble when it comes to people who we perceive as irritating, unkind, or negative in one way or the other. In short, people we dislike.
Great spiritual teachers encourage us to love everyone. To do so, we need to cultivate a sense of impartiality and see everyone as equally deserving of our love and compassion. Impartiality means “giving up our hatred for enemies and infatuation with friends, and having an even-minded attitude toward all beings, free of attachment to those who are close to us and aversion for those who are distant.” – from The Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche
How wide is your love?
Impartiality is not easy, but it can be gradually accomplished if we make this our aspiration and regular practice. I was deeply inspired by the following quote from the Dalai Lama, which demonstrates this profound sense of impartiality, and chose it as the basis of our reflection today.
“On a recent trip to Europe, I took the opportunity to visit the site of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. Even though I had heard and read a great deal about this place, I found myself completely unprepared for the experience. My initial reaction to the sight of the ovens in which hundreds of thousands of human beings were burned was one of total revulsion. I was dumbfounded at the sheer calculation and detachment of feeling to which they bore horrifying testimony. Then, in the museum which forms part of the visitor center, I saw a collection of shoes. A lot of them were patched or small, having obviously belonged to children and poor people. This saddened me particularly. What wrong could they possibly have done, what harm? I stopped and prayed—moved profoundly both for the victims and for the perpetrators of this iniquity—that such a thing would never happen again. And, in the knowledge that just as we all have the capacity to act selflessly out of concern for other’s well-being, so do we all have the potential to be murderers and torturers. I vowed never in any way to contribute to such a calamity.” – from Ethics for a New Milennium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Please take a moment to reflect on impartiality. Let’s each consider what steps we might take to push out the boundaries of our love and compassion to include those toward whom we might feel neutral and, gradually, even toward those we dislike.
I would love to hear your thoughts on impartiality.
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