- Religion and Philosophy
Labeling, Judging and Identification: Three Challenges in Practicing the I and the It Perspective
“The Tao is wide enough for contradictions …”
“The Tao is wide enough for contradictions, satisfying enough for discomforts, deep enough for the lowest.” –Ray Grigg
From my attempts at practicing the ideas from Enlightenment as a One-Step Procedure and related Quirinus articles, where we go about observing the ego-based it from the objective perspective of the I, I noted certain challenges. Among them, I will cite three which seem to be the most significant: labeling, judging and identification.
Labeling may be defined as using a word or phrase to assign a label to a person, animate or inanimate object or event. An example would be the words, “rich”, “poor”, “famous”, “successful”, “powerful”, etc.
Judging, which is very closely related to the activity of labeling, may be defined as considering something as good or bad, favorable or unfavorable, negative or positive, etc.
The difference between labeling and judging comes mostly from the labeling’s stereotyping use, mostly for us to put others and experiences into neat boxes or compartmentalized ideas to give us the impression that we can better understand the situation and so get a feeling of control.
Identification would be thinking that we are the role/s we play (for example, writer, mother, son, boss, employee, teacher, etc.), thinking that we are our thoughts or feelings, thinking that we are the accomplishments or failures, thinking that we are who others say or think we are, thinking that we are who we were in the past, thinking that we are the labels that the ego-based it, usually coming in the form of habitual thoughts, call “ourselves.”
All of the above are activities of the ego-based it, that strengthens a small but false sense of self and feeds on the ego, if unchecked. But as we practice being constantly present as the objective observer and extend the I’s love and compassion towards the it, we become more aware as these habitual thoughts arise. This gives us the opportunity to sift the false from the True. And by peeling away from the false self, we come face to face with our true Self, the I.
Initially, as in my present experience, the sense of the true Self are far and few in between. But as we persist in the practice of being conscious, observing the it instead of identifying with it or thinking it is who we are, the way lightens as Self shines through and is allowed to make its power become more concrete in our material experience.
Sample Scenario. Corie has started practicing the perspective of the objective I to observe the ego-based it. She understands that one needs to have an attitude of love and compassion towards one’s own it as well as that of the others. One time when she went to McDonald’s, when breakfast hours was about to begin, she inquired at the counter to make sure whether spaghetti is still available before she fell in line, so she doesn’t have to fall in line if spaghetti was not available. The counterperson said yes, a last serving is still available. Corie proceeded to fall in line and wait for her turn to be served. But another person, who heard her conversation with the counterperson insisted on getting the last serving instead. Corie automatically thinks, “What a greedy person. She only thought of asking for spaghetti because I wanted it.”
She then recalls the practice of the I and the it perspective, feels guilty and thinks, “It’s too late. I’m judgmental, not coming from the true self, the I which is loving and compassionate.”
Labeling: “greedy person”, “judgmental”
Judging: “too late”, an implicit I’m not practicing correctly
Identification: “I’m judgmental”, “I'm … not coming from the true self, the I”
In retrospect, Corie may come to realize that in the moment that she merely recalled to practice the I and the it perspective, she was actually already one step further in recognizing the ego-based it, meaning that she had already become one step more advanced in the development of consciousness or awareness (which is the opposite of the ego’s being caught in continuous stream of thinking unconscious or habitual thoughts). In deciding to continue to practice awareness, she will eventually have the next chance to practice refraining from labeling, judging and identifying.
Remember, most importantly, that it was not you, not your true Self that was doing the labeling, the judging and the identification. It was the ego-based it, which dissolves as soon as we bring the light of our awareness into the situation.
To simplify, during such moments, begin with the basic: acceptance.
Then we can (1) be aware of one’s it and think instead (2) “my it is interacting with the other’s it”, with number (2) as a possible tool to help refrain from labeling, judging and identification. You may notice that when interactions are taken from the objective I perspective, simply observing the ego-based it, liberating insights into the situation may arise.
(Note that the term “my it” has a sense of identification with it. The pronoun “this” can be used instead, to make “my it” “this it”. Words have a way of adding complexity to the actual subject. Please bear with me if I let you feel free to come up with your own terms for the I and the it, this it and the other’s it, etc.)
So then: “this it and the other’s it”. When viewed in this manner, the I that is the true Self, is set free to energize the situation with insights that invigorate the individual, in a very personal context based on the individual’s lifetime of experiences leading to this moment of enlightenment.
You have just made a soul connection.
Some helpful meditative practices are suggested at: