How easy is it for us to get lost in words? We often times become hypnotized into believing that we know what something is just because we have attached a word to it. For instance we would say, I am a human, that is a bird, that is a tree, that is a stone. Now we believe we understand those things just because we put a word to them. But the truth is that we usually don’t understand. We usually don’t take the time to look past the words. All we’re really doing with the words is attaching a label to it. So we put labels on these things which makes us believe that we understand them — but these things have so much more depth than a simple word could ever inhabit.
Now this is going to get deep and maybe even a little out there but stay with me here. I want you to imagine looking at a flower without putting a label on it. Forget that the word flower even exists. So don’t look at the flower and think, oh there’s another flower. I want you to really look at the flower and be with it without giving it a title. When you are fully present and sit with a flower, a sense of awe and wonder arises within you. That is why Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a ‘silent sermon’ once where he simply held a flower up and gazed at it. Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken you, even if only for a brief moment, to the beauty that is an essential part of your innermost being, you’re true nature.
Most humans are still able to do this with infants or small children. We see the true beauty with them. People stop and are in awe at the miracle that is a baby. They are able to see past the word. Imagine if you could do this with everything that you saw. Imagine if you were able to stop and see the true beauty in each person, in each living creature, in everything you see.
This is what great artists can sense and what they convey in their art. Van Gogh didn’t look at a chair and say, ‘that’s just another old chair.’ He looked, and looked, and looked. He got present with the chair and looked past the label. He saw the beauty in it. Then he sat in front of a canvas and took up the brush. The chair that he looked at was probably wort a few bucks. But that painting that attempted to portray the depth of that chair, would go for an excess of $25 million today.
There is a quote by a great Indian Spiritual Leader named Krishnamurti that says, “The day you teach a child the name of a bird, the child will never see that bird again.” And it’s so true. The first time the child sees a fluffy, alive, moving object, and he is awe-struck and you say to him, “that’s a squirrel.” Then tomorrow, when the child sees another fluffy, moving object similar to it he says, "Oh, a squirrel. I saw a squirrel yesterday. I'm bored by squirrels.” That magic is lost.
You see words reduce reality to something our minds can grasp. Language consists of 5 basic sounds produced by the vocal cords. They are the vowels a, e, i, o, u. The other sounds are consonants produced by air pressure. Do you believe that some combination of such basic sounds could ever explain who you are, or the purpose of life, or even a tree or a flower or a squirrel?
Take a moment today to stop and really sit with something that you might be quick to label or look past.
Stop covering up this mysterious and magical world with words and labels, and watch as a sense of the miraculous returns to your life!