Living in Grey

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greyjpegAs I think about and encourage people I work with to take personal lifestyle inventories before attempting to make big changes, I am reminded of the ways we are programmed to think rigidly, dualistically and competitively.

Through our many institutions: the nightly news, schools, testing, media, religion, sports, the job market, the judicial system etc., we are organized and trained to compete, to find fault in ourselves and others, to look through lenses of right or wrong, black or white, and good or bad in all situations. As a result, we have not been encouraged to live in or explore the grey where much of human reality lies.

When assessing our personal lifestyles, we often overlook our gifts, positive contributions to ourselves and to the world. For example, when thinking about our diets or exercise habits, we can ignore anything healthy we’re doing or have done. Instead we may create negative judgements or go into a denial and justify the junk we consume, the lack of physical movement, uses of our creativity, etc.

Practice: I would like to offer you a meditation: Think about some part of your life today and spend ten minutes holding a grey consciousness. See how it feels and notice what floats before your eyes, any images, feelings, or words? Please share anything you care to. I welcome your comments and contributions. Thank you.

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10 Replies to “Living in Grey”

  1. I’m a walking gray space. To be transgender challenges people to think, feel and love out of the box. I think that’s why it’s so hard for some people to be nonjudgemental, rigid, and emotionally dangerous.

  2. It’s a good exercise — I often think of maturity as being bound up somehow with being able to embrace contradictory truths. I’m not sure that’s the same as “grey”, but it’s at least black AND white, rather than black OR white.

    • T, Yes I agree, embracing contradictions and multiple truths. Thanks for reading and spending time with the idea.

  3. I have been hearing a lot recently about our critical mind. The mind we have cultivated since childhood to get us through school, society etc. We have paid so dearly to develop a critical persona that really abnegates our gentler, accepting, flexible, compassionate nature. More and more people I interact with are willing to be less critical of their reality, their limitations, their fears and successes;)
    Without judgement, I am free to be me, to be mindful, present and gradually, more intimate with whatever actually is right here, this moment. Sometimes bliss sometimes less so, but that acknowledgment feel far more authentic than insisting on good, better, more.

    • Hi Emily. I like what you said especially about being gradually more intimate with what is right here. thank you, Deborah

  4. You are so right, we were raised to be robots, trained to be judgmental, bombarded by media, often bigoted, through whatever station of life in which we experienced, and were reprimanded if we ventured left or right……….what a buzz kill and how stifling creatively.

    I’ve been venturing toward the grey, it’s not always easy but as you get closer, it sure is more comfortable and less stressful, even if for a fleeting moment. My personal offering is yoga. It’s one of the few opportunities we have to still our minds and focus on a mental/physical activity. It’s non-competitive, and when you finish a posture you totally let it go, something we seldom do. This type of meditation is neither black or white, it’s in the grey consciousness. It may not be for everyone, but it’s one to add to the mix. For me, it’s a never ending practice taking me closer toward the grey reality of life.

    • Francine, Thanks for giving us a piece of yourself and what works for you. It’s appreciated a lot. As far as yoga goes, I can easily become judgmental around what postures I can and can’t do, especially when in a class with much younger, more physically flexible folk. I’ll keep the grey in mind next time I venture into a yoga class. I love your writing. Deborah

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