The more labels we try to put on ourselves and on others, the more obstacles we are placing On our way to freedom, peace, and understanding.
For example, even though I’ve been teaching for several years, I don’t consider myself a teacher, I’m just a person who works as a teacher. But I had many other jobs before teaching and will have many different ones in the future. If I were to say “I am a teacher” instead of “I work as a teacher”, that would mean I can only work as a teacher, and I would be closing the doors to many other things I would like or would need to do in the future.
Even though I don’t usually eat meat and try to avoid dairy products, I don’t consider myself a vegan or a vegetarian, because there are some situations where you just can’t choose or you don’t have any money and you eat whatever people give you. In some other situation is better to eat the meat than to see it go to waste. And if I see the chickens running free and happy, I wouldn’t think twice about eating their eggs. In most cases, it would be much more beneficial for the animals and the environment if I just eat whatever has been already discarded by society (dumpster diving) than having all these specially made vegan products produced and transported just for me to eat them. But if I were a vegan or a vegetarian, I would have to respect my ethical code even though my instincts and common sense tell me otherwise And I would be closing the door to the fact that ethics are not as black and white as vegans see them.
Even though I don’t believe in any gods or the paranormal in general, I can not call myself an atheist Because that would mean closing the door to a lot of amazing stuff. For example, about 80% of Buddhist teachings Are practical things that I can apply in my daily life to be happier, improve my life and the lives of others. The other 20% are the outdated stuff, How does karma work? MAGIC! how does reincarnation works? MAGIC! So there’s no way I could close the door to that 80% of amazing stuff I really need just because earlier in life I had decided to label myself as an atheist.
And even Christianity has a lot of amazing stuff if you really Get into IT, Like art, poetry, philosophy But IT all gets obfuscated By the dark side of Christianity, The bigotry, the racism, the pedophilia, the corruption, etc. During my trips I have been hosted and helped by so many Christians, especially in Australia, in Korea and in the Philippines, But if I said I am an atheist that would automatically put me against them And I would be closing the door to A lot of great experiences from the ones I could really benefit from.
By the same token, there are no criminals in prison. There are just people who committed crimes. There are no murders or thieves there are people who have murdered and people who have stolen.
There are people who made mistakes. There are people who were desperate, People who did what they could under the circumstances and people who felt prey of a corrupt system based on scarcity, competition, and inequality, But if we choose to label them as criminals we’re closing the doors to forgiveness and understanding.
There are no crazy people. There are people who have mental problems, and if we decide to label them as schizophrenic, paranoid or bipolar we are closing the doors To the healing process That can arise from focusing on the sane part of that person Instead of the sick one.
By not labeling ourselves and others We are allowing a deeper thought process to take place, In the one, we can sincerely understand and accept each other, Understand ourselves and accepting that responsibility That comes along with understanding.
The responsibility of dealing more kindly with one another.