Looking at things without the labels

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pondle
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Looking at things without the labels

Post by pondle » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:31 am

This is something I've just been writing about on my blog and I thought it might be interesting to share it here too. I was in a conversation on another site and I brought away the idea of dropping my preconceptions about things, of looking at things as they really are without the labels we normally place upon them. I don't know if this idea comes from Tolle. Can anyone tell me? At any rate, it sounds like the sort of practice which he would suggest.

I must admit it sounded a bit too wacky for me at first, but while I was on a bus journey out in the country, I decided to give it a try. I looked out of the window and tried to choose between a sheep and a tree. I chose the tree.

I stared at the thing, thinking "that's a tree" and then slowly allowed the label to dissolve away in my mind, so I was looking at it as a tiny child must do, without putting a name to it. And all at once, there seemed to be a power in the tree which the label had seemed to hold in check. It was as though my preconception of the tree had disguised its wonder. All at once, its life force was there, connecting with my consciousness. I couldn't believe I had never seen this before.

I remembered hearing about the idea of our labels putting limitations on things but I'd never understood it before. Now I do! It was as though removing the label in my mind was like taking the lid off reality and allowing it into my life. Has anyone else tried "taking the label away" like this, or had a similar experience?
Simon
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"Spirituality with a sense of humour"

joel
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Post by joel » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:03 am

Wonderful awareness! I'm very impressed you were able to just let that happen. I had to come at this piece of the "jewell" from the inside out. I first needed to see that I was pure consciousness and then I could see everything else as the same. Sounds like you're able to just get it.

weichen
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newborn baby stare at the world

Post by weichen » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:55 am

pondle wrote:I stared at the thing........I was looking at it as a tiny child must do........ It was as though my preconception.... had disguised its wonder........ All at once, its life force was there, connecting with my consciousness. I couldn't believe I had never seen this before.

Nice! I decide to be a newborn baby for the rest of this life time.

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Post by Webwanderer » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:47 pm

pondle wrote:
I stared at the thing........I was looking at it as a tiny child must do........ It was as though my preconception.... had disguised its wonder........ All at once, its life force was there, connecting with my consciousness. I couldn't believe I had never seen this before.




Weichen wrote:

Nice! I decide to be a newborn baby for the rest of this life time.

Now we know what Jesus meant when he said you must be born again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

jj
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Yes

Post by jj » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:35 pm

pondle beautiful post. It points to a powerful realization that is possible. Thank you.

The answer to your question is yes, Tolle advocates dropping the mind and it's extremely limiting and compulsive labeling process.

For years I've done nature photography. There is a powerful moment when a beautiful scene is first seen, the mind is off for a moment in order to see it. The reaction within is one of awe, inspiration and joy. I try to capture that in the photos I take. Take a look http://www.jonathanjessup.com

With practice I've been able to extend and even stay in that moment, a mind state of no labeling. I become the seer. I become myself. All action comes naturally and spontaneously. Also what helps is not expecting to see anything that would work well in a photo. If it happens, fine. If it doesn't fine.

Become surrendered to what nature show you and in that surrender your eyes will be opened. Surrender also to the mind's interpretation of what you are seeing. Drop it, as if you are dropping a hot stone.

Thank you!

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Post by kiki » Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:30 pm

It was as though removing the label in my mind was like taking the lid off reality and allowing it into my life.
Beautifully stated!

Nice post and great discovery on your part. The mind divides reality into this, that, and the other. With that division come labels and comparisons, and with the label and comparison reality gets glossed over and misinterpreted. Without the label all there is is "this", which has no distinction and so nothing to compare; just simple bare presence - the life/consciousness out of which the objects have arisen. This is what ET is pointing to.

pondle
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Post by pondle » Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:47 pm

Thanks to you all for your replies!
Joel said: I'm very impressed you were able to just let that happen. I had to come at this piece of the "jewell" from the inside out. I first needed to see that I was pure consciousness and then I could see everything else as the same. Sounds like you're able to just get it.
I guess we all "wake up" in our own way. Some people have a stretch first while others yawn. But if you're aware that you're pure consciousness, you're closer to breakfast than I am!

jj - Thanks for the chance to see your photos - great!

Some people who responded to a similar post on my blog have suggested that perceiving nature without labeling can lead on to approaching our fellow humans in the same way. I think that will be more difficult for me, especially when encountering those with whom I have had previous "issues"! What a wonderful thing to be able to do though! I think I'll go for it...
Simon
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joel
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Post by joel » Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:59 pm

Please try to remember that one thought is not actually bigger or stronger than another. This is a mind trick, necessary to navigate with, but still just an illusion. One can't hear this enough, but everything, including people are projections (if this is news to you, please don't be put off, realizing this is deep freedom). I don't know where you are with realizing how deep the "rabbit hole" goes, but I'm guessing you're seriously interested in your own Truth, so I'd like to encourage you to investigate every apparent nook and craney of your mind with a complete curiosity and don't assume anything that it holds as real to be true (the most sacred beliefs can be the most debilitating). One is either Self-aware or not, so no one is "further along" than any one else. Especially where it come to your Self-discovery, be very careful to not attach reality to limiting notions if what's what. The enlightened are enlightened because they know they don't know, they're open.
Look into Byron Katie wwwthework.com (a very deep meditation, sweet dreams)

Slyder
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Post by Slyder » Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:54 pm

JJ: Just wanted to say I love your photos; I see what "you" were looking at when they were taken!

etexman903
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good post

Post by etexman903 » Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:51 pm

I have read some on "labeling". Trying to figure out if things go in the "good" or "bad" pile. lol. Letting things and people be just as they are without the need to catagorize or judge.

I have a new dog. A puppy. I have never had a puppy before, I have only had second hand adult dogs. But I watch this puppy experience its surrounding for the first time and it leaves me sort of in awe. It is sooo curious. It wants to lick or smell everything.

I thought it might have a negative judgement on the vaccum cleaner because he barks and stalks the machine while it is in use. As I am writing this I am think, perhaps the machine thrills him to to know end and his barking and jumping at it is his way of playing with it and fully experiencing it.

It is a good moment when I can approach something as if I have no story attached to the experience. No concept of ideas of how it is or will turn out.

joel
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Post by joel » Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:22 am

Sounds brilliant to me! :D

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The tree is unknowable

Post by Vpopov81 » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:04 am

I was listening to an Alan Watts lecture where he talks about a professor holding a book of matches and asking his students what it was. One student said "its a matchbook" and the teacher said "Well no matchbook is a sound you make, this is what it is" and he throws the matchbook at the student. Ultimately nothing is what we call it, the words just point to it. I dont think looking at things without labeling them should be so much of an experience as it should be knowledge that will soon be commonplace. Is that the tree isnt really a tree, tree is a word. Look at it touch it, smell it , thats what it is. No profound experience necessary, although experiences can be pretty cool. The real experience is the simplicity of the moment without the mind.

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Post by Webwanderer » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:18 am

Vpop Wrote:
The real experience is the simplicity of the moment without the mind.
Nice touch there Vpop. Welcome.

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Post by BillyPLed » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:23 am

I wrote this on my Zaadz blog a few days ago. Very interesting that Simon and I came to a similar conclusion in our seemingly different ways. The Work is a process of self-inquiry developed by Byron Katie for those who are not familiar:

What I am finding as I live The Work more and more is that I am less sure of my assessments of others and am slow to categorize, label, pigeonhole. I have never really been the type that placed much value in labels anyway. One of the most “traumatic” stories that I have told myself is the story of literally being labeled “a liar” on two green poster boards hung over my shoulders by my then step-father. I was six. I have always been sensitive when it comes to labels.

However, it seems that The Work is taking me even a few steps further away from this tendency that most of us seem to have. I am finding that I seem to be seeing people for the first time - literally. I am seeing people more and more without my stories about them. As I look at them I see a grace and beauty that I have never seen before. I do not see this way all of the time. But, I am seeing this way more regularly as I continue to question my beliefs.

The best way for me to explain this new way of seeing is that it is more open, more welcoming, more allowing, more clear. My vision is not as muddied with thoughts, beliefs and stories. My heart/mind is open, and I seem to be more fully present with the people that I am with. I just do not seem to have as many thoughts about them.

What I am discovering is that with The Work we are not trading one way of thinking for another way of thinking. We are trading a way of thinking for a way of being. This is a way of being that is open, welcoming of all things, spacious - a way of being that is peace, freedom, love. With The Work we are left with less of our story and are thus able to see Reality more clearly. And, as Byron Katie says, “Reality is always kinder than the story we tell about it.”
Billy in Lousiana

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Post by simple » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:08 am

Interesting story Pondle.

Not drawing a label to what you are is another interesting experience to try and that surprises.

It is impossible to put into words unfortunately.

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