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Transcending Labels

The meaning of words holds within it much promise not only for clearer communication but also for a better understanding of ourselves and others.

As each human being is a world unto itself, the commonality of similar expression belies the complexity and variety of meaning which is inherently hed by the individual. Just as there are many degrees of fear and types of fear and differences in each human ability to handle fear, this also means that fear is not a term with a standard value across everyone who uses it.

Another aspect of labels/words is that it creates the illusion of understanding what that label means. More often then not, we realise that sometimes a label exists for something which we have no idea what it really is.

Take the idea of sensitivity.  A common term that is being used as a judgement against someone.  When someone is accused as being sensitive, it could mean many things from many perspectives;

1. That some individual takes offence easily. (Have we ever explored that person’s past to understand whether he is generally sensitive or only in certain specific context? And why the individual is reacting this way? And if the accuser is placed in the same life experience and situation will he be not experience sensitivityas well?

2. Is being sensitive the  exclusive fault of the person reacting? What if the person calling him sensitive is biased or perhaps possess poor communication skill? At which point does the responsibility lies with the accuser/speaker as opposed to the subject.

When explored deeply we realised that we might not actually understand the label called ‘sensitive’. It could easily be a weapon by individuals who doesn’t take responsibility for their own communication.

When we take the time to explore the exact meaning of words, we will realise that various other words/labels might not have as clear a meaning as we once thought. When it comes to words we use to understand ourselves, the clarity of meaning behind words becomes even more important. How could we how frequently have we heard the lament, ‘I dont know how to describe how I’m feeling’. When workingbwith yourself it might not be as important to be able to describe how you feel. This however becomes more important when you want to share how you feel to someone else. For how could you share how you feel when you are not able to describe the feeling with clarity.

Within the context of mindfulness practice,  mindfulness clearly holds primacy. In most instances, mindfulness leads the way as our semantic understanding and construct race along trying to find the right word to use to describe the experience that mindfulness is generating.