In reflecting further, I realized that there was almost nothing that I experienced, even in a state of dispassion, that my mind didn’t apply a label to. For example, the weather was lovely, rather than the temperature was moderate and there was a breeze. Or the light was special, rather than the light was crisp and clear. Or that a painting was pretty, rather than the painting was in harmony rather than discordant and the artist knew how to use and reflect light.
I think part of this is just the mind’s laziness ... it’s easier and quicker to say something is nice or pretty, rather than objectively state what you are actually observing. But a large part of it is the mind’s habit-energy of applying labels to everything. These weren’t negative, and they weren’t romanticizing or demonizing, but they were still labels, and I knew that if I wasn’t vigilant on freeing myself from all labels then other harmful labels would continue to arise as well.
I decided that as an experiment, I would consciously try to only use objective facts in describing or noting my experience of things. I was surprised at how much extra effort it took, and for some things how I really had to search for ways to describe my experience without using judgmental rather than factual labels.
This is an experiment that I will need to continue. Judgmental labels need to be discarded from my mental and verbal vocabulary. They of course will still arise, as with all thoughts, but I will hopefully be aware, present, and stop and reflect on what really is.
The Buddha said, “this teaching leads to dispassion, to fading of lust, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment.” Being able to experience things with dispassion is an important step, but it is not the last step.