The good ol’ art of presence.

Jay Mavani
2 min readApr 17, 2024

Rediscovering the world beyond labels.

In a world overloaded with information and steeped in the habits of labelling + categorizing, there exists a profound yet often overlooked phenomenon: the act of looking at reality without trying to label it.

This practice, seemingly simple in its essence, carries profound implications for our perception and understanding of the world around us.

From a young age, we are taught and conditioned to immediately categorize + connect what we see in nature to a culture-bound word library.

A flower becomes a “rose,” a tree morphs into an “oak,” and a bird transforms into a “sparrow.” These labels, while convenient for communication and understanding, also serve as mental barriers that can obscure our direct experience of reality.

Jiddu Krishnamurti’s poignant quote, “The day you teach the child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again,” encapsulates this idea succinctly.

When we attach a label to something, we inadvertently limit our perception of it. Our minds, conditioned by language and cultural constructs, cease to see the bird as it truly is, with its unique colours, movements, and essence.

Instead, we see only the conceptual framework imposed upon it by words.

To truly be present, to fully engage with the richness of existence, we must unlearn this tendency of snap-labelling all that we see. We must cultivate a mindset of curiosity and wonder, akin to that of a child encountering the world for the first time.

In the eyes of a child, everything is new and undiscovered, free from the constraints of preconceived notions and linguistic boundaries.

Embracing this childlike perspective requires a deliberate act of unlearning.

It entails letting go of the habitual urge to categorize and instead, simply observe everything with fresh eyes and an open mind. It means allowing ourselves to be fully immersed in the moment, without the filter of language or the burden of interpretation.

In this state of pure observation, we may rediscover the beauty and complexity of the world around us. We may find ourselves marvelling at the intricate patterns of a leaf, the graceful dance of a butterfly, or the melodious song of a bird.

We may experience a profound sense of interconnectedness with all living beings, unmediated by the constraints of language or cultural conditioning.

In essence, looking at reality without trying to label it is an invitation to rediscover the magic and wonder of existence.

It is a journey of unlearning that leads us back to the raw, unfiltered experience of the present moment. And in embracing this journey, we may find that the world, stripped of labels and categories, is infinitely more vibrant, mysterious, and alive.

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Jay Mavani

Jay Mavani (aka jaymavs) loves to express his passion for problem-solving, creativity, philosophy and humour by playing with various canvases.