Tag Archives: judgment

The Double-Edged Sword of Labelling

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:

  1. Recall a story or memory about when you felt sadness
  2. Allow the sadness to manifest – allow it to be there as best you can.
  3. Notice where in your body the sadness is occurring
  4. Take your attention off the story as to why you feel sadness
  5. 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
  6. 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.