Warning: label

It occurred to me today on a drive back to Sydney from our nation’s capital that we humans tend to present a cognitive phenomenon whereby we feel that by labeling something we have solved it. If we categorise our experience, situations, emotions, etc, we can move past them and focus (our rampant egos) on the next challenge.

Ever wonder why most people lose the romance or sexual impulses, even the underlying connection that brought them together in the first place, when they get married? Perhaps it’s partially because marriage is a well-documented classification. Everyone knows what happens when two people get married and so the delicious ambiguity, the enigmatic magic of the whole thing, goes out the window. The looser term “partners”, on the other hand, could mean anything. It roughly approximates to people ‘being together’ but how that plays out is largely undefined, whereas marriage dictates specific behaviours and courses of action.

Notice that nobody has moved past religion? It would appear to be suitably ambiguous, and I think there’s something beautiful around faith (or negative capability if you prefer to ditch loaded terms) in here as well. Possibly it’s faith that helps us maintain a sense of wonder. Faith and categorisation would appear, in this context, to be antitheses of each other.

As much as I love language I think it’s time to at least experiment with relaxing the obsessive pigeon-holing and liberate ourselves into something closer to the “immaculate mess” a dear friend of mine is currently consciously cultivating. (Apologies for the alliteration.)

5 thoughts on “Warning: label

  1. You have brought up so many interesting topics in your dissolution of self my friend. I can’t even begin to start in one place; dating, sex, marriage, love, religion, feminism …

    May I preface by saying thank you for your candid admission of obsessing over women. Not from a stalking point of view of course but from mere appreciation of beauty and all it has to offer. Women do invest a lot of time and effort, it goes unsaid that it is nice to be noticed from across the bar, or wherever, end of story. Well maybe not quite the end… go up and talk to her!

    Why DO people get married these days? Is it still all about religion? And on the subject of religion, if you are not an atheist, and don’t believe in any set religion, but do believe in a higher power, being, god whatever you want to call it, what does that make you? Free? Lableless? Faith has nothing to do with marriage. What is there to have faith in in this day? We are all on the pathway to death, it just becomes a choice as to whether you want the same person in your life forever, or if you are more inclined for many life experiences. Sometimes you don’t even get to make that choice because someone else makes it for you. Is that what one wants to have faith in? Someone making a choice for them? Are we all heading in the direction of irresponsibility? We want choices but we’re unable to make them. We want marriage but we get bored, we want love and look for it with others rather than looking for it within ourselves. And this ties us into that sense of loss of masculinity, self worth etc. Loss of self because we are so projected outward and superficially. When was the last time anyone sat down in the silence of themselves? Really got to know who they were and what they could bring to the table.

    On the subject of feminism and loss of masuclinity, all i can say is bring back the art of opening a door for a lady… you never know what “door” you might open

    1. Hey CEB, thanks for finally posting your comments 😉

      In response to your questions, I can only really respond with what I think. Firstly, that religion and spirituality are two different things. I believe that whereas religion comprises a set of rules, loosely (these days) based on spirituality of some sort or another, spirituality is your connection with the divine. Religion may provide the rituals and means to walk you through the process of obtaining that connection, but it is not the connection itself and this is where potentially many religions suffer. We follow the rules blindly rather than use them as a means to know God.

      In answer to what believing in a higher power but not necessarily subscribing to any particular religion “makes you”, I’d have to say that only you can answer that question. Though as I love to drop my opinions I’d say it doesn’t “make you” anything. You already are what you already are: consciousness incarnate. Labeling is a mechanism of the ego (which I’m starting to understand is simply a problem-solving and sense-making tool which many of us have let run out of control).

      In relation to marriage, I asked a mate the other day why he got married, because I honestly don’t get it anymore. He said it was a way of affirming his commitment, but he did it because he was already committed. He caught himself in a logic loop, though, later stating that prior to getting married he wasn’t as committed as afterwards. My belief on this is that religion and government are largely the same thing and both are about fear-based control. In the West, the Catholic church took over union, making it ‘holy’ (making it fall solely under their dominion) as a means of controlling sex (one of our primal desires) and therefore ultimately controlling their followers. Given the integration of church ideals into the broader society now I feel people simply don’t question it. We are trained to comply, so we comply. We outsource our personal responsibility (i.e. pay taxes to have the government tell us what to do; pay the Church to have our place in heaven assured) and lose ourselves in the process. I feel that in giving up our responsibilities in this way, we actually subvert our own nature; our pride in ourselves and our fearlessness in facing the abundant universe.

      For example, even in questioning marriage you’ve conceded that union still means choosing one person ‘forever’ but there is no forever. There is only the present moment. Tell that to someone planning to have a child, or a woman who is already pregnant? If men acted like real men, and if we followed our forebears in the spirit of community we humans excel at, child-rearing would be a joy irrespective of the relationship status of the parents. It’s widely considered that children are raised to be better adults when they are raised by a community than by a sole individual or pair; and humans weren’t built – biologically – for monogamy. Not that I’m against it. I think monogamy is a brilliant idea, if only because polygamy, in the present age, gets bloody complicated and is largely unnecessary. For example, David Deida talks about men desiring other women, but offers an alternative to skirt-chasing, by simply breathing in the beauty and radiance and circulating it through your body. It’s fascinating to note the black and white way in which you paint having the ‘same person in your life forever’ or ‘life experiences’. I don’t think these are either/or. Certainly if you’ve chosen monogamy then it cuts down your number of partners to one at a time, but if you truly honour the moment and come together when things work (possibly read: are evolving roughly together) and part ways when they don’t (read: are in different places) then what life experiences are you missing? This might relate back to outsourcing responsibility again, where one compromises too heavily to have someone else lead the way for them?

      Faith, to me, is not about trusting other individuals but rather the larger unknowable patterns at work within the universe. It’s about having the maturity to sit with unanswerable questions without anxiety. In fact, I think it’s ultimately about reveling in the these things. At a practical level this plays out as delight when the day brings you good things, and peace to sit with and honour your unhappiness when it brings you bad. Even the notions of good and bad begin to disappear when you know peace with the whole spectrum of your emotions.

      I’m interested in how someone else makes a choice for you. Have you outsourced some level of responsibility? If you are truly, wholly responsible for yourself, how can anyone make a decision for you?

      Desire, where we want this and that, is something else again and comes to the Buddhist notion of suffering. Wanting to make choices, wanting marriage, wanting love – all of these are the basis of suffering. I will acknowledge that we humans are wired to love, but I would like to propose that if we can peel back the egoic constructs we put between ourselves and God (read: universe, love, etc), we will see that every flower, every animal, every person loves us. We blur our vision through constant fear-based societal training, resulting in low self worth (to enhance consumerism). I feel this low self worth is brought about solely by a filtered perception stopping us from seeing and feeling the love which surrounds us, supports us and holds us close, day in and day out. We lose sight of it such that we get to the point where no one can love us enough simply because we don’t see it, don’t know how to let it into our hearts. We’re literally drowning in love but refuse to acknowledge it.

      Silence is a beautiful thing, or rather stillness (not many silent places in the city these days). Ahh meditation. As to what anyone can bring to the table, I agree. But we are all consciousness, we are all amazing. The list of qualities we bring are also egoic and therefore ultimately illusion. I believe the challenge is rather “can we dissolve our sense of self (ego) until we are only consciousness?” It’s a process, that’s for sure.

      Finally, chivalry is definitely nice, but would you rather a string of outmoded rules be the basis of your relationships, or the complete attention of absolute presence? A partner who knows and honours themselves and therefore honours you? Someone who sees past the oil slick of skin, mind, and ego to the deep and eternal wonder of the consciousness that resides beneath it?

  2. Who said anything about chivalry? It’s interesting that the conclusion immediately jumped to chivalry at the thought of opening a door. All that was asked was to open “a” door, both literally and metaphorically. And yet one request leads the reader to immediately assume outmoded rules and relationships….I’m talking pure and simple door opening here. That is honor, it’s honoring the wishes, needs or just plain respect of/for someone.

    The decision i am referring to relates to the interesting phenomenon of marriage these days. It no longer is forever. And since it is no longer forever it leaves open the chance that the other will choose to walk away while your heart is still in it. I have met many a man (and woman) who just ooze this fear. Too many broken hearts out there and not enough love.

    On the subject of sex and relationships, where is the line drawn? What constitutes cheating? And does anyone really care if their partner cheats anymore, so long as they’re home for dinner…?

  3. Sorry CEB, when you said “bring back the art of opening a door for a lady” I thought we were talking chivalry? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalry (It’s on Wikipedia so it’s GOT to be accurate.) I will maintain my thinking on the subject, though, that one must respect and honour oneself before one can really, sincerely, respect and honour anyone else. Whatever, opening a door for a lady is a socially constructed concept based at least partly on the delicate nature of women, that they shouldn’t strain themselves. While I fully appreciate that equality doesn’t mean ‘same’, I do ask whether playing by the rules is more important than connections based on presence and consciousness. Personally I feel that the rules only offer people who do not know how to be genuine and honest a ritualistic and egoic means of achieving some equally ritualistic and egoic outcome. Like ticking the boxes gets you sex on the third date.

    And again on marriage, I challenge you to think beyond the social ideals that constructed these institutions. “No longer forever” means something very different if you consider it from a state of collapsed ego (where your mind no longer runs away with you, you remain in the present moment) rather than from inside the box (read: society, i.e. from a Catholic perspective: you burn in hell if you undo God’s union).

    And yes, on the subject of sex and relationships, where IS the line drawn? You and I have talked about this at length in the past. Where is it drawn for you? And why? When you think up why, ask yourself why you think that way. And then why you think that way. And so on, until you can’t ask yourself why anymore (and then explain why you can’t ask yourself why anymore). And then please post your stream of consciousness. 🙂

  4. Ok then, explain to me what a “relationship” is then. If one is in the present moment all the time, a relationship then becomes a product of choice does it not? A very unstable foundation for a couple, which is probably why there are so many broken relations these days. With the deterioration of religious influence or atheistic beliefs, choice is now becoming an acceptable and fundamental individual right in our society (and why not, but that’s for another day). We have people choosing their own power over the external. Charles Haanel will go so far as to say that this “god” or power is now manifesting within ourselves, we are an expression of God rather than god as an external being. God, power, choice, self

    So what’s my point? The point is, choice breads instability and lack of commitment. Hence my relationship question regarding monogamy…. can it exist anymore? No man will chose to be monogamous for the rest of their life given the opportunity. So then what’s the point of marriage? Because when you break it down, people are in relationships because of sex. That’s the only reason why. Ask a guy to be in a monogamous relationship with someone he can’t have sex with. Good luck. Ask a gay guy why they want to get married. The primary reason is their choice for sex. They’re gay for god sake!

    The beauty of marriage based on religious reasons is that the fear of god is present- the choice is made for you. It takes away your power, and presents you with unfounded fear of burning in hell should you chose to stray. But we all know that’s a load of crap too, look at the priests who choose to be pedophiles. Surely that won’t get them a ticket to heaven. None of it makes sense anymore

    I think I’ll call this absolutionofself.

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