“We were born into the here and now, and also into every label about the here and now. I look at you and say, ‘man, woman, audience, lecturer,’ whatever the game is, they are just labels. They all take us away from the here and now.” – Ram Dass
In the Bahiya Sutta, the Buddha goes over very briefly what it means to be awakened. He says, “In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognize —When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.” What does it all mean? Both quotes are pointing towards the reality of this very moment, free from labels, commentaries, or elaboration. The Buddha is suggesting that we practice perception of an event as it is, no need to overlay ideas or cognize it. Ram Dass suggests the same, yet points out there is nothing wrong with the labels we superimpose, so long as we don’t take them to be real. Re-connect to basic perception - can you hear a sound without mentally commenting on it? Can you experience the world without your concepts? Give it a try.
It is as it is.