Black and White, Grayscale, and Color Thinking

He uses colorful language. That’s colorful thinking. The world is so gray today. He sees the world in black and white. Such a colorful perspective! In bubble awareness, I visually sense a range of frequencies, amplitudes, and conditions. These match closely to modes of thinking.

Black and White

I’ve experienced the world in black or white binary in which I insist on only this way or that way. Once I was job hunting and went to an interview with the owner of a shop I wanted to work in. The owner told me, “There’s only two ways in this shop: my way or the highway.” I looked elsewhere for a job. Both he and I were viewing our world in the duality of binary thinking. On OR off, zero OR one, this OR that.

Right OR wrong thinking is one dimensional: the world of “only.” To the degree I MUST be right, proper, or justified, I’ll see the world in only black or white. This way of thinking limits my world to the contrast of borders that define my reality.


Monochrome grayscale adds more flexibility to binary thinking. In grayscale, I can experience how much. I can experience some anger, some happiness, some agreement, some of this or some of that. Grayscale thinking adds the shading of intensity to my world.


Color adds emotion to monochrome that may represent the conflicts I experience as I work to defend binary thinking in terms of inclusion – this and that. You see (pardon the pun), color perception includes elements of binary and monochrome – definition and intensity and relationship.

In digital terms:

  • I can express black or white in terms of zero OR one on a scale of 1. ex: 0=black, 1=white on a scale of 0-1
  • Grayscale in terms of zero or one on a scale greater than one. ex: 00=black, 11=dark gray, 22= light gray, 33=white on a scale of 0-3 in each position
  • Color in terms of zeroes and ones on a scale greater than 1. ex: 001=dark blue, 010=dark green, 500=bright red, 550=bright yellow, and etc. on a scale of 0-5 in each position rrr-ggg-bbb

In psychological terms, I ask questions in order after encountering something:

  1. Black and white – Is that which I’ve encountered a threat or benefit to me/us (Yes/No)?
  2. Monochrome – How much of a threat or benefit is it (on an imaginary scale based on values)?
  3. Color – when items 1 and 2 are satisfied, what are nuances of interest, such as emotion and wonder?

Black may be considered the construct upon which all else builds. It’s the zero condition, nothingness, primal. Anything added to black, other than black, builds something.

White is what one gets when they add all colors together – it represents all. To get monochrome or color, one must subtract from white or add to black.

Because I see color, I realize that I see less than all and more than nothingness. I see separation from poles – the middle way.

Where Oh Where Is Love?

The 1968 musical, Oliver!, made a long-lasting impression on me from the first time I viewed it on the big screen. One song in particular touched me deeply. “Where is Love?” portrayed a commonly-held belief of the time: that one must seek and earn love, that although esoteric in nature, it is an object that can be obtained, held, and controlled:

“Where is love?
Does it fall from skies above?
Is it underneath the willow tree
That I’ve been dreaming of?”

The poet, Jalal ad-Din Mohammed Balkhi (Rumi), puts another spin on the search when he realized centuries ago that,

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere, they’re in each other all along.” (Coleman Barks, Essential Rumi)

Carol suggests a fruitlessness in the search when she wrote about the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness condition:

“When you look for love you will never find it. When you love without looking, you will never lose it.” (Perspectrum, manuscript)

Perhaps it’s not about seeking. Maybe it’s not about finding. Could I be seeking what cannot be found? Am I in search of a ghost, a figment of my imagination?

What Is Love?

Ask and you’ll probably get as many different definitions as there are people to provide them. I got my definitions – yes, I have more than one – mostly from others, like my parents, my friends, my intimate relationships. For the most part, my definitions are based on my experience of relationships. I have no one-size-fits-all definition – though I use the same word to describe a large variety of experiences, needs, and desires.

I recognize my need for affection, kindness, respect, and appreciation. So, I seek them from others – not recognizing them within me already. Maybe the fact that it is already within me, seeking will not result in finding UNLESS I search within. Of course, that’s likely to result in not finding, too, because I cannot find me by looking for me outside me. Perhaps that is the blindness Rumi speaks of when he wrote:

“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.” (Rumi)

Could Marc Almond be correct when he penned the words to his hit song, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?

It’s lovely there where love becomes
A drug to fill your need
Just believe in you!
And learn to love yourself

Has it been there in me all along? Did I not find it because I was looking in all the wrong places? Hmm. I wonder.

What Will You Allow Your Catalysts to Do for You Today?

I want to be in control of my experiences, yet, what I get is a catalyst that challenges that want. Catalysts can be like roadblocks that confront my mobility or they can be fuel to enhance it. I intend that a catalyst provoke introspection – to cause me to question who I am and what I want.

Nature reflects back to me what I fear and love. Catalysts confront my misconceptions that are always about my fear or love of self. My unresolved thoughts perpetuate misunderstandings, which trigger catalysts that I will probable interpret as threats. Like an alarm clock, catalysts stimulate my desire to wake up when I most want to sleep. They encourage me, sometimes strongly, to choose again.

What is the benefit of choosing again?

What would life be like without catalysts, a means for questioning our choices? I know that when I’m defending negative choices or seeming positive ones, I’m trying to control me by controlling my experiences. When I go against myself I don’t get what I want… control.

Catalysts work best where intention favors understanding. When a catalyst reveals my choice and asks for another, I learn what options may work better for my highest good.

Sometimes I blame others, situations, and things for my sense of failure and pain. This behavior perpetuates my misunderstanding of me, which implies that I don’t want to know me. When I allow catalysts to teach me by offering a conscious look at feedback for my creations, the lights tend to come on!

A conscious look at feedback

From an ego perspective, I should always get what I want without question or any unsupportive feedback. This way of existing leaves me feeling satisfied and yet, unsatisfied. This same school of thought leaves out any constructive means for understanding through trial and error. This type of defense is as limiting as a border, boundary, or gated property one cannot see or move beyond.

My need to be right without the benefit of understanding is a fool’s errand… and… fertile ground for catalysts.

What will you allow your catalysts can do for you today? Choose… and choose again…

Perfection and the Never Good Enough Perspective

Essential to First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness is the concept of competition and defense. In that awareness, I’m ever seeking that which is “better” – never arriving at perfection, “best,” or even “good enough.” There is always something or someone better.

One might say that bubble awareness embodies the essence of the 7 Deadly Sins. These “sins” point out the comparative nature of the bubble. First, I define “sin” as “short of the mark” or “less than perfect.” (Wikipedia) I have some favorites:

Greed seems to me to illustrate the essence of the “never good enough perspective” – I define greed as:

a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed. (Webster)

From this perspective, more is always better than less. I, you, they can always do better. “Enough” sits out there in a time that can never arrive an achievable goal that can never be achieved. Think Escher’s Penrose Stairs drawing.

I’ve been guilty of stuffing my stomach with far more than “is needed” then felt hungry afterwards. Sounds a lot like gluttony, another of the 7 deadly sins:

the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. (Wikipedia)

And yet, even when over-indulged there is a sense that it’s not quite enough. My lust for more and better does not like to hear the words “diet” and “budget.” I think of gluttony as lack on steroids. I wastefully indulge and consume as a defense against a sense of an ever-growing void.

And then there is envy, defined as:

a sad or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else. (Wikipedia)

“I hate her because she’s so beautiful.” My envy makes my life appear to come up short – lacking – compared to an impossible standard that is someone else.  Then I defend my perception of lack by externalizing it with feeling. Envy is a hole that gets deeper the more I work at filling the one next to it.

Sometimes the sense of lack motivates me to take action to correct a perceived shortcoming. In the end, however, because I fundamentally believe in lack, I’ll never attain the level of happiness, joy, wealth, and etc. that I think someone else has. Why? Because that “someone else” is MY imagining of “them” – not them.

What if I Do “Lack Consciousness” on Purpose?

These “sins” illustrate a fundamental and essential element of bubble awareness: competition. The bubble perspective is one of lack – compared to wholeness. I even imagine my mythical “wholeness” as short of whatever is “above,” “beyond,” or “better” than it. “What is beyond the edge of the universe?” From this imagined perspective, every goal has another goal beyond it – forever short of.

I defend this perspective by acknowledging lack as a fact in an unlimited universe. Sound crazy? Yeah, I though so, too. Until I remembered that this “short of perfection” thing is what gives me an experience of separation from ONENESS. In other words – dammit – it’s my desire and intention!

Thus, the usefulness of getting to know and accept myself. As I gain a handle on who I am, I begin to appreciate my intention to experience something less than all. That I like, need, and intend the separation that forms the foundation of comparison. From that lack-within-wholeness perspective, everything falls into place – one cohesive universe of infinite separate parts.

A world of sin. Just as I intend it to be. Egad!

Intention and Fulfillment

No matter how determined the baby is, it won’t derive nourishment from sucking its thumb. No matter how determined an intention may be, it can’t fulfill a want without an appropriate action.

My Intention turns What into Why

You may believe you know what you want and how to get it. Yet, when frustrations come, you may not know to ask why you didn’t get what you wanted. Once I establish routine patterns of thoughts and actions, questioning them becomes difficult. We may live with routine frustration and failure, never knowing why we hurt or how we lost our sense of purpose. Our behaviors tell more about us than our thoughts and feelings. Yet, once acceptance of failure and frustration have been implemented there seems no need to question them – “It simply is what it is.”

There is always an intention with every action, though you may not be aware of it. The results of your intentions and actions is feedback to your understanding.

Sometimes I interpret feedback as frustration. Yet, frustration and failure need not be the focus. Understanding your intentions helps you accept accountability for them. Meditate on these four questions to illuminate your hidden intentions:

  • What do I need and deny in this experience?
  • How does this experience illustrate that need and denial?
  • Why do I need and deny this?
  • Who am I because of my need and denial?

The answers to why we think, feel, and do as we do may stem from one cause, one specific intention. Knowing that cause is the smoking gun of opportunity, which offers us power over frustration and failure! Intentions may be a natural characteristic of life, yet, their fulfillment requires a clearer understanding of them.

When I question why I believe I am who I am, I reveal my intention, and the frustration and failure I felt transforms into –

I love who I am.