“By not holding onto fixed ideas, the one who is pure in heart will be clear in perception, and freed from sensory desires, not born again in this world.” – Metta Sutta
The piece of text quoted above comes from a metta sutta. It is song of Buddhist monks. Various beliefs are woven into the text that come from Buddhism. A while ago I saw a metta sutta. When I started reading, I felt myself become lighter. The sentences flowed softly through my mind and let all perfectionist thoughts fade away. The last few sentences of the text touched me and made me think. I thought about the words “fixed ideas.” It is actually true. We think in boxes and labels.
Modern society is used to put boxes or labels on people and things. I will mention a few examples:
- If a boy likes dolls and fancy dresses, he is gay.
- A boy and a girl cannot be friends with each other, because this always leads to a love affair.
- If someone only wears black clothes and has piercings, he or she will do self-harm.
That way I can think of a few more. The above statements are based on what society thinks. A boy who likes to play with dolls and to dress up as a princess is still developing. This does not necessarily mean that he is gay. Boys and girls can be great friends without being in love with each other. They can also be intimate with each other without falling in love. Finally, a person who only wears black clothes and has piercings does not have to do self-harm. He or she can also just like black clothes and feel comfortable in them.
Society puts labels on people because they think everyone should belong. If you do not belong to anything, then that is immediately seen as negative. I myself think that by thinking in labels or boxes, more bullying behavior is shown and that it creates unnecessary stress and uncertainty. This leads to more mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety disorders. So why can’t we stop it?
I have learned through the metta sutta that I feel much more relaxed when I don’t think in labels and release fixed ideas. When it comes to a relationship, a boy and a girl or two people of the same sex are in love with each other and are intimate with each other. But what if you really care about someone but are not in love with that person? I started to wonder about this. And the more I thought about it, the more stressed I am about it, because I couldn’t find a label. When I read the sentence in the metta sutta I thought: YES! You don’t have to think in terms of labels, boxes or fixed ideas because society does this. You live your own life, so you can choose how you handle things like this. The world will look a lot more peaceful and loving if everyone would let go of labels. It is unrealistic to think that this will happen in a few years. But it is realistic to think that perhaps there is one person on this planet every year who decides for himself not to think in terms of labels. This also makes the world a better place!