Podcast Series 2, Episode 5: Viewing Without Verbalizing Exercise

Woman facing away - Viewing Without Verbalizing

Viewing Without Verbalizing Exercise

If you say it, you don’t see it. If you see it, don’t say it. This Viewing Without Verbalizing exercise explains why and how.

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Welcome to a series of podcasts on how to achieve a peaceful and mindful state, by using simple, short exercises. 

Each episode focuses upon a particular element of our being, and will reveal exercises designed to expand our awareness, and build up a gradual sense of inner calm and alertness.

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Today, we’re going to talk about an exercise called “Viewing Without Verbalising”. 

Another exercise I learned from a fellow in Texas. 

Breaking the labels of the Formatory Apparatus

This exercise is designed to break the labels of what is called the “formatory apparatus”.

The formatory apparatus is a part of the Intellectual Center that defines the world by attaching labels to everything.

It doesn’t know what things are, it only knows their labels.

Unfortunately, the formatory apparatus labels everything.

And furthermore, once the formatory apparatus labels something, we can’t think about it anymore. All we think about is its label. 

In life, there are many models and systems presented, that seek to compartmentalise people into types, numbers, codes or any combination thereof. 

Be it zodiac signs, racial or cultural stereotypes, and a multitude of personality profiles or other demographic types. 

Many of these are supported and encouraged by global organisations and groups, using extensive and intensive systematic structures. 

Indeed, people can even gain qualifications and accreditations in these things. 

All based upon someone’s pre-defined labels.

However, once labelled, people cease to see any deviations that fall outside the given label. 

For example, once someone is labelled as a “this” or “that”, even through simple gossip or hearsay, they can make a thousand manifestations that are not of a “this” or “that” nature. 

But, the one time they make a manifestation that fits someone’s preconceived or attached label of what a “this” or “that” is, they say, “See, I told you! They’re a ‘this’ or ‘that’”. 

We only see the labels

They cannot see anything else. They can only see their label. 

For instance, if someone has the label, “All dogs bite”, they will not see that dogs are loyal, they will lick you, wag their tail, and are generally kind; and, most dogs, therefore, don’t bite. 

They will only see their label, “All dogs bite.” 

Well, how are we going to stop the formatory apparatus if all it does is label; knowing, that the moment it labels something it cannot think about it, apart from its assigned label.

In order to stop it, we want to practice an exercise called Viewing Without Verbalizing. 

You start by looking around at things, and see if you can see them without labelling them. 

See if you can see them without saying what they are – for instance, that is a phone, a red wall, a TV, an idiot, a bigot, a racist, a light, a tree or anything. 

See if you can just look at these things and see them but not say anything about them, not give them a label. 

Because the moment that you give them their label you cannot see the thing itself. 

You only see the label you put on it. 

So, if we have a label, “That that particular so-and-so is lazy”, and we put that label on them, then every time we meet them, even if they’re working hard, we will only see them when they take a break, and say, “Yep, they’re lazy”.

That is, we only see them when they manifest according to the label we put on them.

Viewing fast at first

So, in order to view without verbalizing, we may have to go fast at first. 

We may have to get our eyes going quick enough, so that there is not enough time to label what we see. 

But, as we get good at it, we will be able to look at a tree and see the tree, and not the label we put on it. 

We will be able to look at something and see it for what it really is.

Whereas, before, we would have labeled it, and not have been able to see it objectively.

We will only see the label we have affixed.

So, practice this whenever you have a moment where you find yourself looking around at the world, to see if you can see the world without any labels.

Just look, don’t label.

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That is the “Viewing Without Verbalising” exercise.

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Thank you for listening.

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Goodbye until next time.



Teachings based upon the works of R. A. Smith and G. I. Gurdjieff.

All material © 2020 THEDOG Publishing

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