Influence of colors on the mind
When viewed from outside the earth’s atmosphere, the color of the sun is white. It appears reddish or yellowish due to the atmospheric scattering of some of the constituent colors of the visible light spectrum. Isaac Newton first demonstrated that white light contains all the colors in the visible light spectrum, using a prism to split white light into its seven constituent colors and another one to reconstitute them back to white light. Every object absorbs and reflects light in varying amounts, and this produces our colorful world. For instance, a leaf appears green as it reflects the green spectrum while absorbing the rest of the colors. When reflected light from an object falls on the eyes, it triggers a cascade of nerve impulses which reach the parts of the brain involved in light and color perception, and we perceive the color and shape of that object. Perception of color makes our lives more enjoyable and exciting. Spring is the most colorful time of the year, and incidentally, it is also the time of the year which also elevates our mood.
Even with our eyes closed, we can visualize colors, evidenced in the recall of any vivid image, such as a beautiful sunset. The picture we recall on the screen of the mind also has light and color. Greater our imagination and more focused our concentration, clearer and brighter are the images and colors visualized with closed eyes. The fact that we can recall and imagine colors in the mind suggests that there are light and color in our thoughts and memories. Most of us dream in color. Color likely play an important role in the mind.
White light, and hence the composite of colors we see are a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our eyes pick up the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Every object reflects light of a different frequency and hence their color. A complex range of colors is produced in the brain. The mind is the screen on which these shapes and colors are projected for further interpretation and processing into experiences and memory. The mind is a very sensitive screen. It “soaks” up light and colors we see, and they linger long after the light impulse from the outside has passed.
Thoughts are like pixels on the mind’s screen, and they are the carriers of light and color. Even though an outer experience such as a sunrise may have passed, those images may continue to linger in the mind, minutes or hours later. Light and color from these images are imprinted on thoughts which serve as vehicles that carry such imprints into the deeper layers of the subconscious. Perhaps other sensory impulses, such as sound, touch, taste, and smell are also transformed into unique color patterns for storage. This transformation of sensory impulses into color patterns may be occurring beyond the reach of the conscious mind. Some people have a conscious crossover of sensory impressions from one sensory organ which stimulates an unrelated sensory pathway. A condition referred to as synesthesia. For instance, a particular smell may simultaneously be perceived as patterns of colors. In people with synesthesia, other sensory impulses such as music and sounds are also perceived as colorful light.
Colors offer infinite permutations and combinations and are perhaps the most efficient method of storage of information for the mind, rather than discrete images, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch sensations. There may be a mechanism in the mind that functions like a QR code generator, turning discrete experiences into color patterns and another mechanism that deciphers those picture codes and translating them back into experiences we encountered in the past.
The different colors of the visible light spectrum oscillate at different frequencies. When white light splits into a rainbow of colors, namely violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, the frequency of the color violet is different from that of red. The frequency of the color violet is 750 trillion Hertz, and that is red is 430 trillion Hertz. The electromagnetic spectrum extends above and below these frequencies.
When no light is reflected, we perceive black. Based on the colors perceived by the brain receptors, we see meaningful colors and shapes of objects on the screen of the mind. In a state of unconsciousness, there is no perception of light, colors, etc. There are many parts of the mind we are not conscious of, and these parts appear black to us when we close our eyes. Parts of the mind that are accessible to conscious perception may demonstrate light and color. Frequently these are in the form of thoughts that course through the mind.
The patterns of thoughts and the information they carry vary from minute to minute making the mind an ever-changing landscape. Our awareness gets easily scattered trying to make sense of all the floating palettes of light, color, and forms moving in the mind. Scattered awareness produces restlessness in the mind. In the big picture, the mind is part of the whole and not the whole. Our awareness is trained to “see” the mind and nothing else. Just like the visible light spectrum is a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum (it works out to be 0.0035%), the mind may be a small part of our inner being.
Colors may help us in streamlining our mind, making it more concentrated and focused. For instance, if we mentally visualize the color red and concentrate on perceiving that color inwardly, thoughts that carry other colors may perhaps move into the background, making the mind more uniform. This uniformity may help mitigate a restless mind. We associate the color red with danger and hence fear. In that sense, red is limiting.
In contrast, we associate the blue color of the sky with freedom and openness. Blue is of much higher frequency than red. Through such association for example and focus on certain colors in our mind, we can move from limitations to more expansion. We need not necessarily associate the color red with danger. Through intention, we can create new associations, and by visualizing corresponding colors that we predetermine, the mind may be toned and made supple. A strong yet flexible mind is a great asset.
If we can train the mind to hold visualizations of seven different colors of visible light, perhaps we can consolidate the scattered energies of the mind and make it a more effective instrument. A light bulb emits light as does a laser. The difference is that a laser emits light in a very narrow and amplified beam which gives it the ability to become a high precision tool. Similarly, if the mind can be focused and concentrated and thoughts trained to function synchronously, the power of the mind may be significantly amplified. Through a focus on colors, the mind may be seen in an entirely new light.