One of Shakespeare’s most famous quote is found in Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This quote, in reality, actually states something that many people would agree is true. The name we gives to things is just a name, and doesn’t constitute the essence of what something is or isn’t. Call an apple a tree and, a tree a seed, and a seed an apple their functions won’t change, the seed is the beginning of the tree, which will still be the origin of the apple. Nevertheless, when looking at this from a spiritual perspective, there is a two fold aspect to this thought. On one hand we are at our bare selves, the pure Truth of our existence, we a spiritual students accept our divinity. We accept that the stuff that made all the cosmos in the Universe and the Universe itself, or God, is a very real part of who we are. This thought should remind us of the fruitlessness of the labels. However, in our humanness, we are aware that what we call ourselves manifest in our reality, and therefore the labels matter.
How do reconcile these somewhat 2 contradictory beliefs? I believe it is in the recognition in that what doesn’t change and trying to live according to that principle, that Law, or Lord (Law Metaphysically). In the Bible at Malachi 3:6 it says “I the Lord do not change…” God or Spirit is constant. This is a force that has no need to change. We assume that it does and it evolves where in reality everything around it evolves, but “Christ (consciousness) has been the same yesterday, today, and however” (Hebrews 13:8). To understand this, think of a time when life was not as much of a happy experience, wasn’t God always there, didn’t somehow in that you still felt hope, love, and peace? We also know from many spiritual text that Spirit shows up as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22). This are constantly manifested in our lives, or if forgotten we always have access to them.
Yet, in our human walk we attach ourselves to those things we see outside ourselves. We label ourselves according to our experiences. We are male or female, gay or straight, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, Black, White or Other, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist. While these are just each persons experience, we label them, and they become who we believe we are. When in reality most of these things are always changing, and hardly ever constant in our lives. However, we focus on these things as our true essence and this leads to all kinds of conflict, EVEN WAR! Even worse we find other labels that we call ourselves or we accept about ourselves to become our truth, like unintelligent, ugly, useless, wrong, and evil. We take on these things even though they contradict our TRUTH which is Spirit.
Many ancient civilizations and tribes valued the process of giving one a name. It was generally considered the first major ritual of that person’s life. Many Native American groups in particular, give a person a name at the beginning and at several points in their lives based on their experiences and these names are descriptive. What is the value of this? This is to remind the person of their experiences, their evolution, but it is also a reminder of the how temporal this human experience is. There has to be an ability to live in the present, but also to let go when it is time to let go. None of our labels are permanent. So, how could we possibly fight or kill over them? It is pointless. We should strip away these labels and see that with unites and not divide us.
Why don’t we begin to remember our constant essence of Spirit and if we must label ourselves, then we should do it in line with the unchangeable things of God. I AM JOY, I AM PEACE, I AM LOVE!