Writing Grey Words

In my last post, I played with using a grey colour (#999999) for all words that represent things that aren’t real — that is, they exist only as constructs of the mind, and in the absence of anyone, they simply don’t exist. It’s actually an extraordinarily large list. Our languages are built around the reality of these non-existent things, which is probably why wild creatures, absent their need or capacity for abstract mental constructs, have no need or capacity for abstract languages.

On the other hand, the list of what is actually real (ie what exists independent of the mind), which I showed in green (#008000) in my last post, is pretty small. For a start, these things are merely pointers; what is actually real cannot be known or understood by the separate person. And what really is, is both real and unreal; it is an appearance out of nothing. Aggravatingly to the separate person, one of these words that point to what is real-and-unreal, is ‘everything’.

So just for fun (or perhaps annoyingly) here are some words in each category:

Words that represent what is not actually real, but only a mental construct:

    • All pronouns (I, me, my, mine, you, your, yours, he, him, his, she, her, hers, one, they, them, theirs, and words including the term self, person, individual or similar subjective entity)
    • Forms of the verb ‘to be’ (am, are, is, was, were, will be, have been etc) that refer to something perceived as separate
    • Qualities, assessments, aspirations and aversions of perceived separate persons (eg enlightened, stupid, liberation, equanimity, war etc)
    • Words that describe things and actions that separate persons conceive or perceive to exist or happen in space and/or time:
      • Ideas (eg life, death, here, there, now, past, present, future, love, relationship)
      • Labels of a separate object (eg chair, face)
      • People, places and things, individual or group (eg Trump, his Towers, his lies and his stuff)
      • Qualities of perceived things or actions (eg happy, dark, quickly, annoyingly)
      • Actions involving causality, relationship or agency (eg led to, talked to, helped to)
      • Abstract concepts and perceptions of the (illusory) self (eg purpose, meaning, self-control, personal free will, individual choice; personal beliefs, thoughts, feelings and sensations; expectations, experiences, judgements, responsibilities etc)
Words that represent what is both apparently real and unreal, ie appearances out of nothing:

  • Words that describe what isthis, everything, nothing, unconditional love, oneness, what is actually happening
  • Gerunds that describe appearances rather than things (eg sitting rather than chair)
  • Also gerunds that describe what we have no words for in our languages because we don’t recognize their possibility eg wall-ing (what is apparently actually happening) rather than wall (which is the self’s mistaken perception of reality, a ‘psychosomatic misunderstanding’)

The problem with restricting conversation or writing to only what is both apparently real and unreal (ie actually real), is that you are limited to tautologies: All there is, is this. Everything is perfect, just as it is. It’s complete. Everything is unconditional love. There is no ‘you’. In languages where meaning (to the individual) is everything, such communications are, tautologically, meaningless, useless.

So what is the radically non-dual writer to do? Just be aware, I suppose, of what is written that refers to what doesn’t really exist. Write grey words, but accept that they describe only illusion, as compelling and as prevalent and as excruciatingly persistent as that illusion is.

And then, in oral conversation, and in thought, do the same: recognize when you are speaking, and thinking, grey words.

Aha.

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6 Responses to Writing Grey Words

  1. Bob Lasiewicz says:

    Love this post. Maybe you could share about receiving communications from others.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Interesting idea, Bob. When the self falls away (I am told) the character that is left seems mostly unchanged, except for being pretty much uncompromising (“The only compassion is the compassion to reveal what is completely unreal.”) and less equivocal and neurotic. That can come across as a bit cold if you aren’t paying attention or are unsympathetic to there possibly being no self. David Foster Wallace made the point that if we have any choice at all in this world it’s the choice of what to give our attention to (the world’s beauty). Receiving communications, including communications that are mostly Grey Words, might therefore be about giving honest attention, and not arguing or debating (that’s futile). Sometimes all people want and need is just to be heard. Is that what you meant by your comment?

  3. HowardGandy says:

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  4. Bob Lasiewicz says:

    Hi Dave. It was a challenge writing my first comment. I tried to trim grey words out of the first line. I was almost left with only the word “Love” but decided it need “this post” to be comprehensible. Enjoyed and felt moved to respond to your thoughts in response to my request. As to receiving communications, it seems that the less freighted they are with Grey Words, the easier to receive the emotional/intuitive content. And if they are overloaded with them, probably the best aspect to respond to and with. Namaste, Bob

  5. 1in7.7B says:

    The Clever Ape needs “Grey Words”.
    It has no grey matter. ;-)

  6. Paul says:

    I am both fascinated and confused. Might I learn what is real or unreal using your color scheme? One possibility is that my thinking is too stuck in ruts to change. Another possibility is that your claim to discern real from unreal is too ambitious, you are wrong half the time. Anyway, I will read future posts with interest. (Forgive the gray though it’s not shown, I have no choice but to communicate this!)

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