In modern psychology we tend to look at people from three aspects. These are thinking or cognition, feeling or emotion and behaviour or doing. In the Ayurvedic system people are seen to have eight aspects or facets, that are denoted by the chakras or colours of the spectrum, red to violet plus magenta. This blog is an audit of these different faces or colours of you and a chance to consider each part of yourself and decide what you might need or like to do about each or all of them.
The one gift that Covid has given us is the opportunity for self reflection. For many of us life is generally so busy that we have little time to think about ourselves or our wellbeing. Those people that get involved in mindfulness learn to take some time to observe themselves and the world around them and are subsequently more likely to be attentive to their own needs as well as the needs of others.
When looking at these colour, or facets of your self, you may find that some are more important to you than others. In fact some may have no importance at all. The magic of being a human being is that we have all of these colours within us. If you think of them as lights then the colours that are working strongest will shine with the brightest light while those that are not used so much will be a dim light. As these colours mix we can see that although we are all composed of the same facets they are mixed in such a way that we have individuality. In the Ayurvedic systems when all of the lights are shining at their brightest so that we are full of light we would be described as ‘enlightened’.
Because some facets or colours shine brighter and are more natural for us to access the Rishis, or scientists, developed the eight paths of Yoga one for each colour. Yoga means to yoke or gather together. All yogic paths are designed to lead, eventually, to the same place of enlightenment. The yogas are Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Raja Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.
What are the colours of you?
So here are some questions to ponder and decide which colours are strongest in yourself. It is important to remember that you can develop any, or all, of the facets or colours of you, at any time if you wish to. When you look at yourself in this way there may be things that you can see that you need to change or develop. It may be that you need help to do this from a teacher, coaches, therapists and so on.
During lockdown and covid restrictions paying attention to our needs on every level or facet of ourself is very important.
Red – Physical – Karma Yoga
Your Red world is about what you do and how you act. Karma is the consequence of how you have acted. Karma is neither good nor bad just simply the consequence. The counterpart to Karma is Dharma. Dharma is to do the right thing or to act in the right way. Those that act Dharmically do not create so many negative Karmas. Related to the body, the greatest Karma that we all have to face is how have we treated our body? What we eat, how we exercise, how we work and so on will all take a toll on our body and in the end will dictate how we live, how long we live and how we will die. For the Karma Yogi their body is the temple of their soul that they treat with great respect and gratitude. Related to our body are other bodies. How do you treat you own body, how do you treat other people’s bodies, how do you treat the environment and the world around you? These are all aspects of the Red facet.
- Are you fit, are you healthy?
- What exercise do you do?
- Do you eat a good diet?
- Do you look after your immediate environment?
- Do you consider the wider environment of the world?
- Do you care for other people’s physical wellbeing?
- Do you physically bully or intimidate other people?
- What do you need to change in your red facet to improve your body and your behaviour?
Orange – Social – Hatha Yoga
Your orange world is about vital energy. Red bodies live in groups that we call families, communities, societies, cultures, nations or even the whole of humanity. What holds people together is the ‘glue’ energy. Orange energy is called bio-energy, prana, chi. Ki and so on. When that energy is in tune we have harmony. When the energy goes out of tune we have conflict and problems. The balance of energy starts within us and then moves out to others. Hatha Yoga is the balancing of personal internal energies. Ha and Tha is positive and negative, symbolised by sun and moon, also described as yin and yang or Purusha and Prakritti. Hatha Yoga is the balance of energies. In our families, communities and society we need a balance of social energies to create collective harmony, wellbeing and happiness.
- When and how do you come together with your family and friends?
- Do you have enough friend time?
- Do you have enough family time?
- What do you do to ensure the happiness of those around you?
- What do you expect from those around you to make you happy?
- What do you give to those around you that need your support at this time?
- How could you help them?
- What do you need to change in your orange facet to feel more connected with those around you?
Yellow – Experience/Intellect – Jnana Yoga
The magic of the intellect is its ability to discriminate. If you present the yellow facet with a list of pros it will instantly come up with a list of cons and visa versa. The intellect is the tool of perception unlike the blue conceptual world of thought. Yellow is external observation and blue is internal construction.
Jñāna yoga, also known as Jnanamarga, is one of the several spiritual paths in Hinduism, which emphasises the “path of knowledge”, also known as the “path of self-realisation”. It is one of the three classical paths for moksha [is a word used in many disciplines to denote enlightenment]. The other two are karma yoga and Bhakti yoga. Wikipedia
In the everyday sense the Yellow world of experience is all about having fun. It is okay going out for a good Orange social jolly but unless you have a good flowing Yellow facet to your personality it may not be that much fun.
- Is you life fun?
- When did you last have fun?
- What were you doing?
- When did you last have a new experience or go somewhere completely new?
- What are you reading at the moment?
- What are you studying at the moment?
- If you could go anywhere and do anything where and what would it be?
Green – Emotion – Power – Service – Bhakti Yoga
The Green facet is about self power, self esteem and self worth. When you can go to the mirror look yourself in the eyes and say ‘I love you”, and mean it, your Green esteem is shining. This should not be mistaken with arrogance that is when we expect other people to tell us that they love us and that over all we feel that we are better than them. Green is about the ego and how I see me. The interesting fact is that some peoples egos are so large that they can include other people within them. Mother Theresa of Calcutta had an ego that was so big she could include all the poor of Calcutta within it and treat them as if they were herself. That is Bhakti Yoga the Yoga of Service. The obvious famous ones are people such as Gandhi, though they are everywhere all around us doing what they can to help others. When the ego goes the other way it becomes self serving and egotistical, demanding attention, needing to be showered with admiration. This is a problem exhibited by many celebrities and politicians.
The Green facet for us includes money and power but also the power of emotion. The Matriarch may dominate the family but it is mostly through positive power of green love. Often when we look at love we are looking at Greenness and the easy sharing of emotions.
- Do you have self confidence and self esteem?
- Do you like yourself?
- If yes what is that you like and why?
- If not, why not and what can you do to make this better?
- How do you know that you are loved?
- Do you feel loved?
- How do show someone that you love them?
- Who do you include in your ego bubble?
- Who would you look after as though they were yourself?
- What can you do to increase your sense of self esteem?
Blue – cognition – thinking – organisation – status – Mantra Yoga
The Blue world is the internalisation of the Yellow world. Yellow is built of Percepts and the Blue is built of Concepts. Precepts are what we perceive out there as our experience. Concepts are what we internalise as our thoughts and our memories. Internalisation requires ordering and organising. The mind can be like a filing cabinet. If you have a good Blue facet you will be able to recall events going back many years you will be able to order your thoughts and feelings and present them in a calm and logical way that may baffle those that are more emotional.
The Blue world likes status and position. The honours system was designed to fulfil this Blue need for status and position. For Green the currency is power but for the Blue it is status. When someone calls you and says ‘this is Mr Sean Orford’ they are claiming a simple title and not simple being Sean Orford. If the handle could be bigger than Mr perhaps, Doctor, Director, Manager, Duke, Lord, Lady it would maybe gain more status. When someone asks you ‘Who are you’ we normally respond by giving them a list of what we do and from this list they will give us status. The important point here is that we give ourselves and other people status, not by who they are but by what they do.
- How would you describe yourself?
- What roles do you play in life?
- Do you feel that what you do gives you status in your own eyes?
- Do you feel that what you do gives you status in the eyes of others?
- Would you like more status?
- What would give you more status?
- How could you do this?
Indigo – Intuition – Meaning – Raja Yoga
For any one of us to feel right and a sense of wellbeing our Indigo facet needs to be at least functioning and preferably shining. Indigo is meaning. What is it all about? Up to this point our different facets are concerned with questions of ‘what’ and ‘how’. When we get to Indigo the question changes to ‘Why?’ Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you go to work? In fact, why do you do anything? When life has meaning we are motivated towards doing things. When the meaning has gone we become depressed or even suicidal, ‘what is the point?’ The currency on the Indigo world is intuition. It is that sense of knowing without needing to know why, you just know. That knowing can include the reason why you are alive or your life purpose.
This intuitive facet is introspective. It can be reached and developed in practices such as mindful meditation. Unlike the previous facets that are often active and even noisy Indigo is often silent. This is a knowing silence in which you can hear the answer to your questions and your problems. The self audit at this level maybe a bit challenging and often creates the need to talk about our deep intuitive feelings and thoughts.
- Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
- What is the purpose and meaning of life?
- What is the purpose and meaning of your life?
- What do you believe happens when you die?
- Does the answer to the above question affect how you act or live?
- Do you meditate?
- Would you like to learn to meditate?
- What could you do to create more calm, tranquility and silence in your life?
Violet – Imagination – Creativity – Tantra Yoga
Let me start by saying that when most people hear the word Tantra their first thought is sex! Well, the word Tantra in Sanskrit simply means to weave together or to become as one. The sexual act is a good way of understanding how two people could weave together to become as one. Imagine if a family, society, community, culture, nation, group of nations, or even the whole of humanity could become Tantric and be as one. There would be no wars, no starving, no prejudice, no unhappiness. When I say ‘if we all look after each other we will all be okay’ I am describing this Tantric relationship.
Imagination is the key. In modern psychology we use phrases such as ‘what you think about you bring about’ or ‘what you feel you create’. What we really mean is ‘what you imagine you will create’. When we wake in the morning we will imagine the day ahead, we will see it in pictures on the screen in our mind. These pictures create a forward memory that we then go and play out. The Violet facet is the script writer of our life. When faced with a problem we can imagine ourself overcoming it or we can imagine ourself failing. The image creates the action and the outcome.
Project forward to your birthday ten years from now. Someone is reading out a speech about your life and your achievements. The speech that they read is your forward memory, it is your imagination in action, it is your script. Write that speech now so that the speech says exactly what you would want to hear then, now go and live your life and create what you want it to be.
Magenta – Fantasy – Doesn’t exist
We all dream and we all daydream. None of the dreams are real. The dreams that do become real are really the images of the Violet facet. A Magenta dream is just a fantasy. It may be a good light fantasy or a dark negative fantasy. The whole point is that it is not real it doesn’t exist. Yet, we have the ability to take these fantasies and play with them in our mind and feed them and develop them so that they feel so real that the dominate and overwhelm our lives.
The vast, vast, majority of anxiety is nothing more than a Magenta fantasy. Our worries and fears about what other people may think about us, how they see us, that they are talking about us, that the plane will crash, the bus will be late, we won’t get the job, we will all…. fill in the blank. Once this Magenta facet becomes activated it has no limits from monsters under the bed to every conspiracy theory you have ever heard. Obviously, some rumours (Orange) will have a basis in truth and some report (Yellow) will be true. However much of what we hear on the news and read on social media is Magenta and needs to be taken with a pinch of salt unless it is backed by research or facts (Blue).
We all have this Magenta fantasy facet, It is really good for informal stress management and you walk away from the boss who has just told you off and you replay the conversation in your head but use Magenta to change it so that you told him where to go and exactly what you thought about him.
- Keep a daydream and a night dream diary and enjoy what you are dreaming about?
- If your dreams becomes dark, negative or violent you might be holding unresolved issues and need some psychotherapy.
- Become an active dreamer or day dreamer and create the fantasies that make you happy and enjoy them.
- Write a book. Many ideas for books began as a daydream or a fantasy.
During this time, we have a rare chance to examine ourselves in ways we have not been able to before and may never be able to again. Many of us have time and that is when the mind wanders. All the different facets of ourself that we have looked at in this block could do with some attention, some more than others. Take the time that you have to do a bit of positive self examination and develop the bits of you that could do with some attention.
Be whole and be happy.