Labelling life for fear of not knowing

To label any aspect of life is to limit our already restricted perception of it. It is to distort a reality previously manipulated by our senses, by our mind and by our consciousness. Even if labels help us to travel paths in which we temporarily find meaning as the avid learning beings that we are, our excessive identification with them is at least dangerous. This means restricting our creativity, our imagination and our flexibility when considering other equally valid alternatives in a world of infinite interpretations. In this way we soon learn to reject any reality that differs from the one in which we have been reflected.

Many of us fall into the madness of assigning the whole meaning of our life to one of them, because we consider that it defines our identity. How much value of life does one single label make? How can we even dare to judge it through it? Once we have established a reality in which we feel comfortable (our basic needs satisfied), it is usual to settle down, so why invest time and energy in considering other horizons? We already know how the world works. We have the rules of the game on the table and we have decided to believe in them. The problem is that we only know how to live in the version of the world that exists under our “life patches”. Why do we fall into the trap of labels if they bring so much suffering? Because we believe that the reward is greater than the price to be paid: to stop feeling lost. That explains why so many of us continue to play by the same rules all our lives.

Money, work, origin, religion, material objects, family, partner, social status, hobbies, personality, memories, goals or dreams if lived from lack of consciousness can easily become labels.

There are not many of us who dare to question them, and what is worse, imagine a new day without them. Labels are patches to our pain, and as such, they abound in every human life. We fear that our existence is meaningless. Even the bravest resort to labels to take a break, to take the luxury of not doubting and believing in the established. Swimming against the tide is not suitable for patchy lives, for they have allowed themselves to be so lost in it that the chances of finding themselves following the same path are remote. They have deeply forgotten who they are. But the suffering behind the contingency of having those labels taken away ends up coming. Sooner or later, the dreaded moment comes when one of them falls. It is the law of life. This is wisely warned by ancient traditions and knowledge:

Nothing is forever but change.

Buddha

As one after another disappears, we begin to lose confidence in “our living arrangements” that still stand. How much can we bet on them? How can we continue to sustain ourselves? These are moments of deep disorientation. And while it may be frightening to realize that we have never known anything, it is probably the best gift we can give ourselves. Being aware that we have always been wonderfully lost allows us to enjoy the process of finding that which we lost ourselves in seeking. In the realization lies enormous power. Knowing that you don’t know and being okay with it, is the first step in an exciting journey where we endure the feared and bittersweet uncertainty. Surely that is when you can experience the greatest expressions of vitality, when you begin to feel the authentic sensation of vibrating with life, of being free with it.

In total solitude, on the top of a mountain, in the middle of the forest, who are you really?

Shimriti, Jorge Bucay.

In nature we find representation of change where our eyes embrace. The sweeping of the seasons, stealthy and beautiful in the landscape while shaping the human spirit, has inspired countless lives of people. They have created memories, traditions, habits, rituals, art… And well the seasons are a beautiful example of impermanence, of the ephemeral nature of life. Everything living and non-living resigns itself to this law with joy. They do not doubt, they do not fight, they do not reject. They simply live, they simply are. The human being is the only one who has decided to face them repeatedly with nostalgia, in view of our fear of time, a close simile of death. We are the only species that fears change.

The seasons are a reminder of the cycle of life, an endless cycle in which we do not fully understand where our place is. They bring melancholy to lives too busy to escape the passage of time and the awareness of uncomfortable mortality. It is not easy to acquire enough courage to discover what it means to live. That is why no one can blame anyone for having filled their life with patches; I myself find mine amply decorated by them. But to learn to live, it is necessary to recognize the paths one does not want to follow. Change and the ephemeral are an essential part of life and are here to bring us back, as nature wisely teaches. It is therefore in a deep connection with nature that we will observe how our most attached labels waver until they melt into a serene acceptance of the future. There, at least in my humble opinion, is where we will be able to say that life begins.

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