Are you paying attention to the colours around you? The world in all its multi-hued brilliance goes unnoticed, unappreciated as we race from dawn to dusk. The colours we take for granted hold secret meanings within them. Ever noticed how, in filmmaking, past events are depicted as black and white, or sepia- tinted? Or when the filmmaker needs to have an object or person stand out in a scene, it is given a bright appearance while the rest of the scene merges together in tones of grey or brown? In movies, bright colours are used as subconscious indicators of pleasantness or progressiveness, while dull, dark tones signify suppression or outright negativity. In real life, too, the colours one chooses to surround oneself with form subtle non-verbal cues about the personality.
Interestingly, cultural attributions of colour meanings change subconscious perceptions through conditioning. Black, in one culture, could signifiy power and in another one, stand for mourning and protest. While at one end of the world blushing brides are decked in snowy white, at the other it stands for widowhood. The range of meanings is vast and often complicated. But far more perplexing is the effect of colours on our life.
Here’s an anecdote about a painter who had a creative idea for his home interiors: To paint his drawing room walls grey so that “when people sit against them with their multi-coloured clothing, it would create the effect of jewels sparkling in the light.” The idea was brilliant but very soon, the effects of ‘grey’ began to manifest themselves — the artist and most of his friends sensed that mood seemed to move downhill every time they sat together in that room. Fortunately, the painter realised the “grey effect” and had the walls repainted. Funnily enough, with colours back in the room, good cheer returned!
Practitioners of chromotherapy swear by the healing powers of colour, as they attempt to restore balance within the human body through the use of colours in white light. The idea is that colours are part of the physical self, manifested in the aura. Although the aura and its existence are matters of metaphysical conjecture, the effect of colours on your mood and well-being does lend some credence to the concept. The aura, defined as an outer covering of light enveloping our bodies, is composed of specific colours mirroring the exact shades of an individual’s personality.
The concept of physical “personal space” is very closely linked to the aura: because the auric egg extends a few feet beyond our body, we feel uncomfortable having strangers too close even if they aren’t physically touching us: their “aura” is actually jostling ours. That explains the joy derived from snuggling up to the ones we love — their auras are in sync with ours — and the calm felt in the presence of spiritually evolved souls. Getting “bad vibes” from someone falls under the same category.
Interestingly, the auric egg is supposed to be electromagnetic, so over the day it picks up bits and pieces of the auric texture of others, turning dull and dirty, its colours muddied beyond recognition. That’s why a shower is proposed as remedy for a “black mood”— water cleansing the aura of the unwanted bits. The same showering effect is created in the presence of people with positive energy. So perhaps one small contribution to humanity would be to make yourself a positive person — who heals others and lends them energy with the mere brightness of her or his aura. That is, perhaps, the easiest way to make a difference.
Zehra Naqvi