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Messiness, unlabelling, unknowing

“Drop the labels that most affect your peace of mind and effectiveness in life. Learn how you can change your experience in real time around real issues using unlabelling.”

Dear Toby,

This weeks article explores how you can change your experience by becoming aware of and dropping your labels. Enjoy!
I will be doing the Sunday and Wednesday online meditations on the subject of the article, mindfully unlabelling.
Then on Tuesday evening the live and online session at One Heart will be the Online Monthly Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session.

In the spirit of unlabelling,


PS: you can also watch my short video on mindful unlabeling.


Messiness, unlabelling, unknowing

My messy life
Right now my life feels vey messy and dis-organnized. We are two months into the arrival of a new member of the family, and the arrival of the baby has meant a fair amount of scrambling around, trying to get things done and often failing! There are small piles of unfolded laundry in my office, objects strewn over the different tables and surfaces of the house. Workwise I have different threads unfinished, deadlines that I’m having to be flexible about. All of my relationships, family, friends, colleagues are all in flux. Sometimes my mind is just screaming “this is all too messy, I need order!” it feels difficult to live with.

Where does the ‘messiness’ really come from?
On a deeper level, rather than the problem being the messiness, its really more about my relationship to the messiness. Its not that the untidiness of my apartment is inherently unbearable, its that my idea of what messy is and what it means is conflicting and stressful.

The quickest and most effective way out of my problem with messiness is simply to drop my idea and mental label of things being ‘messy’. As soon as I drop the mental label, then the ‘problem’ of my messy apartment disappears(!) The thing here is not that I have changed my external environment, but that I have stopped projecting my labels upon it. From its own side my apartment isn’t messy or tidy, it just IS exactly what it is. With my apartment and life exactly as it is right now, I have a place of peace and stability I can go to and relax in simply by dropping my labels. This is important because it means I can tolerate difficult, messy situations without it stressing me out.

Unlabelling and primal meditation
In chapter one of Lau Tsu’s Tao Te Ching he says “The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things”* . When you drop your naming and labelling process, you drop into a space of label-less, name-less, though-tless unknowing that puts you directly in touch with our experiential reality. This opens up a whole new way of participating in life, that most people loose at quite an early age.

Sitting with “unlabelled unknowing”
So, as a meditation you can start getting some experience of this practice by doing the following:

  • Sit and notice the way in which your mind is projecting names and labels on everything around you and within you.
  • Practice putting those labels down, and relaxing into a state of experiential ‘unlabelled unknowing’
  • Do it not just momentarily, but for gradually extended periods

Practicing with specific labels and challenges
It’s a good idea to practice this with things that are a real challenge for you, like me and my ‘messiness’. Drop the labels that most affect your peace of mind and effectiveness in life. Learn how you can change your experience in real time around real issues using unlabelling.

Watch Tobys’ short video on mindful unlabeling:

*Stephen Mitchell translation. Alternative translation by Gia-Fu Feng “The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things”.

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2020. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact  

Tuesday 4th August, 7.30-8.30pm – Online Monthly Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session

This meditation, done on or around the full moon capitalises on the heightened lunar energies at this time of the month to:

  • Bring energy and health to our physical body
  • Increase benevolent, life affirming emotions such as appreciation, joy and gratitude
  • Release patterns of energy, thinking and feeling that are no longer serving us
  • Focus on clarifying our intentions and manifesting our current life-goal

Read full details

Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?

Read full details

Stress-transformation coaching with Toby

Stress, anxiety, fear, pressure, anger, attachment – Ordinarily we see these states of mind and emotion as negative; things that get in the way of our happiness and well-being, and prevent us from achieving the goals and quality of life that we would like.

But what if there was a way in which we could learn to work with these negative and difficult energies in such a way that we could transform and redirect them, making them sources of positive and empowering energy, helping us to accomplish our goals and awaken to a new level of fulfillment?

Stress transformation coaching with Toby is exactly that; it shows you how you can transform your stress, anxiety and other difficult emotions into forces for the good in your life…
Read full details


Online Integral Meditation & Mindfulness classes

Build focus, beat stress, cultivate wellbeing!

Each session involves simple practices that you can apply to make a real difference to your wellbeing and effectiveness in life…full details of classes


At a glance: All upcoming classes and workshops for at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Tuesday’s at 12.30-1.20 – Ongoing Tuesday Lunchtime meditation class @Space2B

Tuesday 4th August, 7.30-8.30pm – Online Monthly Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session

Coming soon – High performance bootcamp: Using mindfulness to operate at your peak without burning out

Integral Meditation Asia

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