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.

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!

Attention Feeds My Fear

What I give attention to grows! I have a problem-solving mind. And because of this, my mind seems to forever need problems to solve. Sometimes I feel I’m creating the very problems I then must solve.

In my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness, I focus my attention on that which I fear. I fear what and who I perceive “I’M NOT.” It’s automatic and a problem that must be solved!

That fear adds a perceived value to what and who “I’M NOT”- a value I feel I’m missing. Problem! I may feel I gain a sense of being complete when I add that perceived value to an external substitute – like a loved one, pet or new gadget. Yet, that sense of wholeness is a temporary condition that convinces me that the addition completes my value. Problem solved! Or have I just created another problem?

Each problem I think I’m solving creates a drain on my energy and resources. This drain I call a fear-feed on my attention. Because I feel dependent on external value, I always have this unwhole problem to solve. This distracts my attention from those interests that validate my wholeness. I can take charge of my attention and focus it where my consciousness takes me – beyond measurable value.

A thought has no feed value without attention. The objective of fear is to capture and feed on my attention.

In bubble awareness, I associate fear with survival. In this survival state-of-mind, fear offers me a way to silence my need to survive by convincing me to accept and follow a simple equation:

Me + Not Me = Wholeness

In bubble awareness, fear rules my consciousness. I imagine someone or something holds a value I perceive is missing in me, a value I need in order to feel complete. Once I attain that which I believe completes me, I enjoy a high of feeling OK. Yet, after a while, that artificial high wares off and I’m back to feeling fearful and incomplete. More than anything I want to feel whole and complete, yet fear pulls my attention back to the “I’m Not” problem that I feel needs solving.

Beyond Fear

While I keep my imagination firmly locked within bubble awareness, I continue to allow the fear process to nibble away at my energies until my body and mind can no longer sustain the feed.

One cannot escape bubble awareness using bubble awareness. One cannot use fear to cure fear. I must look elsewhere. I must look within… take charge of my attention… and…

Imagine beyond…

Bridging Dimensions with Imagination

Within my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness, my imagination creates equations to help me span a broad spectrum of phenomena that appear to be unrelated. Then, I bridge the physical and nonphysical dimensions with these equations to derive meaning. My equations weave forms and their functions into a tapestry of perspective that holds my story together.

Meaningful Equations

Dimensions that have nothing in common can interact with each other through my imagination. Thus, my imagined equations help me cross realities to form one story. They can also separate one story into many realities as I desire. Equations are two-way streets. Nice!

For example, I might break my physical leg, which physical injury may present a metaphor for my psychological world. The literal experience, though separate and apart from my psychological experience of it, combines to form one meaningful story. Thanks to imagination, separate and apart come together as one cohesive story.

One example of such an equation –
An old house is capable of being physically abandoned = I am capable of being emotionally abandoned. I’ve spanned the equation with MEANING.

More examples in which I bridge physical to non-physical forms and functions with equations of meaning:

  • Physical – Meaning – Non-physical
  • House – Home – Sense of security
  • People – Connection – Relationship
  • School building – Potential – Learning
  • Coin – Value – Money

Identity Fuels my Need for Meaning

My need for meaning fuels my imagination that spans dimensions. This reconciles the apparent impossible merging of disparate realities into a single experience. Thus confirming who I believe I am from who I believe I am not. Logic solved!

I set up imaginary barriers to contain my sense of being out of control. To give me a sense of separation between who I am vs who I am not (me vs not me), I do the same. Through imagination, my equations make sense out of this chaos. A means of satisfying my need to be safe by imagining I am in control of the impossible equation.

Equations allow me to feel for anything in the physical world as though it were literally me – all the while keeping physical identities separate. For example, sometimes I project my humanity onto non-human entities like pets, cars, and houses. I’m not my pet. Yet, I can imagine how my pet feels. Thus I turn different species into same species as me. As for my car… well, just don’t hurt her, okay?

I’m grateful for my ability to span across dimensions of reality simply by imagining it. Wow! What a marvelous tool is imagination! Imagine what you could do with it. I’m wandering through realms of wonder right now…

Fear and Discipline Impact Perspective

Where I focus attention determines what I experience. When I focus my attention on fear, my perspective changes to give me an experience of threat as reality. Discipline changes that formula.

To the undisciplined mind, fear seeks to prove inadequacy as rightness. Rightness is a need that must be defended within the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble. Certainty about my fear solidifies its image in the mirror, making it real and threatening. My need to deal with threats pops up and takes over my awareness, focusing my attention on solving an illusory problem. Attention I divert from other, perhaps more useful, subjects – like gratitude, enlightenment, connection, and awakening.

About Disciplined Attention

Focusing on fear narrows awareness of options, resulting in suffering in the form of lack of confidence, perception of deprivation, and poverty consciousness. When I’m convinced I’m right, I narrow every perception, every judgment, every opportunity, to fit within the boundaries of that right path. “There’s only one way out!” says the hero. Well, yeah, maybe there is only one way out IF you know of no others or IF you’re so terrified that you can’t think properly. Yeah, then maybe there’s only one way.

To the disciplined mind, fear represents one among many options for attention. I can appreciate and respect the power of the fire without short-circuiting my brain with fear about it. The narrowing effect that fear has on my thinking abilities strongly influences my chances for survival in an emergency. This is the reasoning behind the rigorous training first-responders get. Much of it focused on managing their fear so they can retain that wondrous faculty for effective action we can bring about with a disciplined mind.

Mental discipline provides awareness of options, resulting in a sense of confidence, trust, gratitude, strength, and expanding consciousness. There are many effective methods for managing fears. Within the bubble, mental discipline requires practice – lots of practice. Perhaps a lifetime of practice.

What happens when I’m “late to the game” of mental discipline or don’t have time to devote to all that practice? What then? Am I just SOL?

Awareness and the Bubble

Imagine a soap bubble. Does it take a lot of work to open it? No, a simple pin will do the trick. What about illusory bubbles? What kind of effort, practice, study, physical strength, strategy, or instrumentation does it take to open one of those?

Perhaps awareness is the key to disciplining the mind over fear. Maybe bursting the fear bubble only requires awareness that the bubble is not real. When faced with a fear, sometimes I’ll shout to myself inside to, “stop!” Then I’ll take an inventory of here and now – ground myself in time and space. Sometimes counting items I see or feel helps. Then I’ll revisit the object of my fear – now that my mind has settled down a bit.

Yeah, my method is a sort of “trick” – that demonstrates how quickly, easily, and effortlessly a mind can be disciplined and brought into order. The mind gets sharper the more bubbles it pops.

Think about it.