Color Your Life
Color matters. Seeing, wearing, or being exposed to a color - whether in the form of cloth or pigment or light - affects you below the level of your conscious mind. It can make you feel happy or sad, aggressive or peaceful, determined or indifferent. Each color has its own personality, and appears to offer a particular quality of energy for work as well.
Researchers have found, for instance, that the color green can help provide 'elasticity of will' which makes you able to persist despite opposition or setbacks to finish a task. Exposure to green can also enhance your sense of self-esteem. Red's "workforce" is different altogether. The color red represents the power of will to strive for effective action, and exposure to it can help develop the will power. Yellow, the other color particularly useful for work, brings the spontaneous enjoyment of action and the ability to project yourself beyond your present work goal towards the future.
Colors also have strong emotional or symbolic qualities. Blue symbolizes the feminine and the mystic. It is a color that tends to make people feel peaceful and calm. Red incites sensuality, voluptuousness and sometimes anger. Yellow makes you more cheerful. Violet symbolizes the magical; black, renunciation. And color's affects are not just psychological either. Because of the complex way in which exposure to various colors acts via the brain upon the autonomic nervous system, exposure to a specific color can even alter physiological measurements such as blood pressure, electrical skin resistance, and glandular functions in your body.
color as energy
Like both light and heat, color is an easily defined part of a whole gamut of energy, which comes to us from the sun and other sources. It is the part that makes itself easily perceptible to the human senses by reflecting off or interacting with matter. While heat is the perceptible effect of disturbed oscillation of atomic particles, light is the visible reflection off the particles in the atmosphere. Color makes up a band of these light wave frequencies from red at 1/33,000th's of an inch wavelength to violet at 1/67,000 of an inch wavelength. Below red lie infrared and radio waves; above it you find the invisible ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays. The colors we see are nothing more than the vibrationary rebound of frequencies which a particular object has refused to absorb. For instance, black hair absorbs all the color rays and gives back none, while snow rejects them giving them all back. That is why it appears white. A red flower has absorbed all except that which we interpret as red, and so on. The colors we see are wavelengths of energy that our brain interprets as seven basic shades or hues: red, yellow, green, blue, white, black and violet. And the experience of these frequency rebounds affects us profoundly and subliminally. As one highly respected color researcher puts it: Colors are not only and usually, not even primarily 'recognized', but they are felt, as exciting or soothing, dissonant or harmonious... joyous or somber, warm or cool, disturbing and distracting, or conductive to concentration and tranquility. And one of the remarkable things about the affective and biochemical powers of color is that they do not appear to be dependent on a person or animal seeing a color for it to work its magic. Russian scientists experimenting with the blind have found that earlobes and fingertips are highly sensitive to color. So probably are other parts of the body. And many studies show that even a blindfolded animal or person exposed to specific colors by having pigments rubbed on them, by shining light on the skin, or even being made to live in an environment of a carefully chosen shade will register predictable physiological and psychological responses.
Learning about color's affective qualities and putting color to use can not only enhance your spirits and improve your looks; it may even improve your health and expand your consciousness.
ancient color practices
Although color effects are now beginning to be studied and described in biochemical terms or in the language of modern physics, the health benefits and consciousness-altering effects of color being used by these color therapists are not a new discovery. Celsus, the famous Roman physician of the first century AD, used colored plasters on the skin to promote healing, and prescribed medicines in specific colors to treat different ailments. In the Middle Ages different colored rooms were "prescribed" to heal various sicknesses. And ancient religious traditions reflect a clear awareness of the energy variations we now measure as wavelengths of different colors. They knew, for instance, that red has the slowest rate of vibration and the longest wavelength, while violet was energy vibrating at the highest rate with the shortest wavelength. And they associated the different colors and their vibrations with the specific energy centers or chakras in the body - three dimensional pulsating wheels which can be seen by clairvoyants, and are said to be centers in the energy body that govern physical and emotional changes in a person.
Chakras are much represented in Eastern religions. (Even Christian art traditions acknowledge chakra energy when they depict saints radiating a halo from the head.) The halo represents the highest chakra - what the Buddhists call the "Thousand Petal Lotus" - but there are said to be seven chakras in all, each believed to be responsible for regulating energy in specific systems and parts of the body. Red is said govern the lowest reproductive chakra at the base of the body, and to impart a strong physical energy. The orange related chakra at the navel is concerned with digestion, while the yellow chakra at the solar plexus is said to be linked with certain emotional states and associated with the functions of organs such as the pancreas and the liver. Green is the color linked to the heart chakra, and with the qualities of courage and love. The blue center in the throat is known as the chakra of higher creativity and of self- expression. The color indigo belongs to the brow chakra, and is said to be concerned with such qualities as intuition, and right-brain-dominated thinking. The violet chakra, which is supposed to be situated at the crown of the head, is said to be linked with the body via the pituitary gland and the endocrine system as a whole.
And, while color therapists who claim to work with chakra energies are quick to point out that many different colors can appear in the various chakras at the same time, visualizing or being exposed to the colors most associated with each, they say, can dramatically improve the functioning of that chakra and those physical and psychic links with it. We use color a great deal in our lives - to change our moods or to intensify them, and to explore different kinds of feeling and response. Following the ancient color chakra guidelines, you can buy color gels and place then on lights or windows where the natural light shining through creates wonderful prisms. You can experiment with different colors of fabric stretched over home made frames, or with huge pieces of brightly colored paper hung on the walls and changed frequently. You can play with color changes in what you wear and see how different this makes you feel and how different colors seem to bring out different parts of your nature. We like to color old tee shirts using fabric dyes in different shades such as clear green, yellow, apricot and brilliant orange.
It is remarkable how changing the colors you wear can alter the way you feel and your sense of your self. And not only is exploring the effects of color rewarding in terms of exploring your own physical and psychic energies, the experience of playing with color can be sheer delight.