Nonduality & Living Without Labels: Stop being Defined by Thought

Posted on December 18th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

Our minds love to label things. From a very young age we start airing our opinions, such as by saying, “We like this,” “We don’t like that,” “That’s ugly,” “That’s beautiful,” or “That’s disgusting!”

Language is a mental tool based on opposites, and it is used by the mind. Once we start speaking and labeling, the mind separates ourselves from that which is. In reality, however, there just is. Once we label it, we separate ourselves from it because when we label something we are really taking away from what it really is. Words carry distinctions and oppositions. But in reality, what is exists beyond words and descriptions. It is indescribable even though that word is trying to describe something.

The best way to understand what is is to just be. We can best experience what is through silence; through silent awareness, when we are without words, labels, or distinctions. In this truth, everything that I’m saying here is wrong because although I’m trying to describe the ultimate reality of what we are, once I start labeling it I create a distinction and opposition that removes us from what is.

In the beginning, all is one. In the end, all becomes one. But once we start talking, we create two, not one. All of our suffering, fears and desires come from this distinction. If we can just be and flow with life, we lose all mental commentary and life actually becomes very beautiful, loving, peaceful and blissful.

The most wonderful thing about this is that it’s so easy to experience. You just have to be, without any labels. Then you are able to exist in the eternal now. All thoughts, the past and the present all come out of beingness. Because they are transitory and impermanent, they cannot be the ultimate reality. Even what we are experiencing ultimately cannot be the reality of what is. We are what is. We are the ultimate reality, but we’ve sadly identified ourselves with our humanness so that it has caused us to suffer.

We should try to stop identifying with labels even just for moments throughout the day; we should stop creating labels with everything around us and instead just be. Be silent and still; be present. What we’ll discover is that life goes pretty well when we stop creating and having distinctions. Our lives will become far more childlike. We become fascinated with life because it is always new. It is not labeled and discarded; instead, we have a fascination with all these distinctions.

Simultaneously, we rest in who we are: the witness to the distinctions, until the distinctions stop. They are able to stop when we sleep at night and when we die. We don’t fear sleep so we don’t need to fear dying. We just need to be. We always will be. But we can enjoy our lives and experience so much more when we lose the distinctions; when we just flow and experience what is, without labeling.

Take it a breath and moment at a time, and just be. Be silent and still so that life can be love. Life is beautiful but at the very core, life is. It just is. We have such an addiction to labeling everything, to discarding, to separating things into good and bad. But if we can just be, then life flows. We also flow with life in the eternal now, and life is able to move much better. The only way to experience this is to quiet the mind and watch what it does.

The mind is going to continue making noises, but if we don’t identify with those noises and we see them as just being part of the duality of our lives that was created when we were young and it is just something that has been reinforced throughout our lives, then we learn not to identify with this egoic brain talk. We are in a position to observe it as well as ourselves, and we can watch the world as a silent witness. Life then flows well.

Let’s just be and work towards not engaging with our thoughts. Let’s stop labeling. It’s a lot like being in a large city. We can bump into every person that we see when we walk down a busy street or we can just walk through the crowd and not bump into anyone. We realize that they are there but we don’t have to engage with them. We can just flow.

Our thoughts are a lot like this example. They are like the people walking down the street. They are not us. They have never been who we are. They’re really just images or dreams. If we don’t participate in them and we just flow, then life can be beautiful right now.

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Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, international speaker, and meditation expert who has been counseling individuals, families, nonprofits, and businesses for over twenty years. A contributing writer to Psychology Today, he has authored numerous books, including Spiritual Enlightenment: Awakening to the Supreme Reality and creates a weekly podcasts and articles on enlightenment, spiritual enlightenment, nonduality, Advaita Vedanta at:

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