The Challenge of Overcoming Duality in Our Words

words by Brian Thompson, photo by Jennifer Picard Photography.

When we attach labels onto things that appear in our life, they immediately become a roadblock to directly experiencing the Truth of the thing itself. Our labels impart an immediate bias onto things, which skews our impression, distorting our perception.

If we blindly accept the meaning of the words we attach onto things, then we also must accept the ignorance that comes along with the very act of labelling.

If it can be spoken, it is false.

Any attempt to define a thing—no matter if it’s an object, a group of people, an idea, an emotion, or even yourself—is immediately rendered untrue by the duality that’s inherent within every conceptualization.

Labels only serve to limit things—they attempt to capture a thing's essence and place it inside a tiny box, whose walls are built with mis-perceptions and one-sided understandings.

Words destroy the very nature of direct experience (or, true knowing). Any label we attempt to apply onto a thing will never replicate the living reality of the thing itself.

In terms of so-called “spirituality”, one of the infinite ways we are challenged by duality is when people label themselves as so-called “seekers”.

Why is this a problem?

If you identify yourself as being a “spiritual seeker”, then subconsciously you’re confirming with your true self that you will always be “looking”. With this as your personal identity, and the source of your entire sense of self, you will never be able to “find”. It goes against “who you are”—at least, who you perceive yourself to be.

Once you’ve subscribed your personality to a defined and limited parameter of belief, you’re stuck.

In order to see the truth of anything, we must first overcome the attachment to the language we use. We mustn’t let our labels, concepts, and words grow into absolute beliefs. Once a belief has become cemented inside our minds it becomes incredibly difficult to scrape it away, becoming extremely painful even if we try.

In the quest for clarity, truth and ultimate understanding, no words of discernment or identification can stand in our way.

We may say we want to transcend the mind, for instance, to be free from delusion and suffering, but that in itself is a desire that comes from the mind. When we desire to no longer desire, we still have desire. Again, the duality of language and conceptual thought ensnares us.

Mind will always get in mind’s way.

Only when all wanting and seeking ends will the truth be revealed to us. All seeking must end!

Everything we cling to must fall away completely—including all of our attachments to language, culture, belief, concept, identity, emotion, personal history, experience, memory, and knowledge.

All of them. Cast them away!

When we let go of conceptually grappling with everything, including life itself, all that is false falls away, and all that remains, is Truth—and that’s one hell of a beautiful place to reside.