It’s as if we’re victims of our collective mentality…
I still fall prey to and surrender to my own self-judgements, and it’s not always symptoms of my mental conditions. A lot of us tell ourselves: I’m not good enough for this or that, I won’t be accepted if I don’t buy this product or buy into that idea. Frankly, I believe most of it is due to the oft dogmatic precept that we’re fundamentally incomplete. We must discover who we’re meant to be, before the world tells us who we’re supposed to be. Cultural conditioning often hinders the brilliant, uniquely vibrant spirit in us – even with our best intentions at living, we come up short in the human experience.
There’s a concept in art called grayscale. It’s defined as a scale of achromatic colors having several, equal gradations, from white to black (Dictionary.com). Artists use it to test the shades of color between white and black. It took me years to comprehend the metaphorical black and white of things and the cognitive dangers that type of thinking presented. Indeed, the world is countless shades of gray, and we’re not really trained to detect its hidden and multilayered meanings.
My modus operandi was to jump to conclusions or make assumptions about a person or a situation. It was an automatic mindset that seized my ability to adequately problem-solve. I was highly reactive, verbally abusive, and unreasonably angry. Mindfulness meditation taught me to let go, release, and recognize a distinct wholeness independent of any need for validation. With dialectical behavioral therapy, I learned the tools to question automatic assumptions and see that there was usually no evidence for those thoughts. It was simply easier to buy into my own irrational viewpoints.
I believe this grayscale mindset is a gateway to construct multiple perceptions, identify underlying problems, and formulate viable solutions for most daily challenges. We not only need a collective evolution in thought, but a renaissance and beholding of fresh, innovative ideas. Grasping the gray empowered me to uncover the beautiful Technicolor of life. I think this quote from the American poet, painter, and author, E.E. Cummings is appropriate: “The Artist is no other than he who unlearns what he has learned, in order to know himself”. We must practice curiosity over assumption, communication over apathy.
Our world offers diverse interpretation, illuminating a remarkable range and precious power of possibility. Discovery, knowledge, and wisdom are priceless and vital to progress. What’s your canvas? How will you paint it?
By Kim Bragado for The Authentic Thinker