Labeling ourselves and our world, and then believing these labels to be real, is the greatest obstruction to the open door of consciousness.
We perceive something, and instead of observing it as a stream of consciousness, we label it, identify with it, resist it, and then crystallize the moment, person, or event.
I once met a Chinese teacher at a time when I needed to gain a deeper understanding of ego. My intuition told me that I was to meet someone to learn something, but I had no idea who that was or how this meeting would come about. I prayed and asked for help, and the very next day, a client handed me a check for $1000 and said, “Take a trip.” I accepted the gift with gratitude but had no idea where to go. The following day, “Arizona” flashed through my mind and so I booked and boarded a flight to Scottsdale. There I rented an apartment and waited. After a few days, I accepted an invitation from an acquaintance, who asked me to accompany her to meet with a Chinese Chi Gong master. Walking into the room, I saw a powerful Chinese woman who reminded me of a fire goddess. She looked at me intently and a surge of power passed between us. I will always remember her core teaching: “The ego grabs the garbage.”
In the short time that I was with her, I reached a new understanding that our thoughts about who we are or what our present circumstances mean, or what is right or what is wrong, pass by constantly, not unlike clouds or radio waves. If we have a negative thought, it is not a problem. It’s what we do with such thought forms that gives rise to painful emotions or a limited negative reality. When we grab hold of a passing thought and say, “Yes, this is me, I am bad, I am unworthy,” then our consciousness reflects that belief and we experience a reality of unworthiness.
To become free of labels is to become a Master, witness- ing the movement of consciousness as the clouds go by, knowing that blue sky exists eternally in the back- ground. We need to identify ourselves with the blue sky, not the clouds that constantly dissipate and change. When we don’t witness our thoughts and judgments, we become the labels and live in our egos. The problems begin when we believe that every thought, feeling, and sensation that appears belongs to us – when we tell ourselves that this is my feeling, my thought, my body, my image… These emotions, feelings, thoughts, and bodies no more belong to us than a cloud belongs to the sky. Imagine the blue sky perceiving a passing cloud, and then contracting itself and saying, “I am not this expansiveness; I am that cloud!” Absurd though it is, we do it continually. “I am not Love and pure consciousness, I am a woman,” or “I am a wealthy entrepreneur,” or “I am a sad person,” or “I am a good and happy person,” or “I am an alcoholic,” or “I am an intellectual”…
We are so identified with our labels, that we often deny and misunderstand ego, assuming it to mean self-aggrandizement. We think that to view ourselves to be Love and pure consciousness means that we are conceited. However, ego is anything that makes us believe that we are just a cloud separate from that clear blue sky of consciousness; this includes beliefs about our unworthiness as well as beliefs about being more special than others. As we remove the labels by not grabbing hold of them as they stream through our thoughts, we may still experience old, toxic labels we’ve previously grabbed. These labels may have become fixed and are now being mirrored by people in everyday situations. Recognizing that the appearance of these reflections, feelings, thoughts, and/or physical sensations reflects a cleansing of our energy field can help us release them. Discharging these old, heavy identities is like allowing poison to leave our system, freeing us to feel light and joyful like the infinite blue sky that we know ourselves to be.
Removing the Labels Think of one negative thought about yourself that you
have believed to be true.
Spend a few moments contemplating this negative thought form that you have chosen.
Let yourself fully experience the belief that you really are that thought form. Notice the emotional state that it produces within you.
Now return again to who you were before the label or thought form arose. Witness the sequence of events that takes place:
The thought passes through.
The ego grabs the thought and identifies with it.
You now believe you are bad, ugly, unloving or stupid or whatever the negative label or thought form may be. Emotion wells up and you feel terrible.
You feel worthless and abandoned by God.
Now start over again.
The thought passes through.
Witness it passing through you like a cloud and let it pass.
Don’t grab it.
Recognize that this is where true freedom lies!