Labels seem so useful. In many ways they help us steer our way through this weird and wonderful world. At least we can navigate when we have a map, but sometimes we forget that the map is not the territory.
In my experience, labels are actually a double-edged sword.
Imagine awareness as a large, blank sheet of paper. Our assumed self (ego) could be seen as a small dot in the centre of that page.
We spend most of our time fascinated by the goings on of the little-dot-me, this tiny speck with all its needs, likes, and dislikes. Our awareness or attention becomes limited – unaware of the vastness around us.
So what’s wrong with labelling? It narrows things down, puts them in a box, makes our awareness contract.
By way of illustration, you might want to try the following thought experiment:
- Recall a story or memory about when you felt sadness
- Allow the sadness to manifest – allow it to be there as best you can.
- Notice where in your body the sadness is occurring
- Take your attention off the story as to why you feel sadness
- Put your attention on the sadness itself, de-labelling it and seeing it as just energy. If any thoughts, images or sensations arise, see those too as energy
- Notice how you are feeling now
You may notice that, even for a moment or two, you experience a sense of expansion or spaciousness.
A simple taste of who you truly are.