4 min read

colors of life

If you happen to have a curious mind, you would have most definitely experienced its overthinking states. I have. A lot. And at such times I, for one, find myself itching to come up with an answer, an explanation, for whatever quest my mind has put itself in. The sad part of this story, however, is that it isn’t always easy to stumble upon a solution. After all, life operates in its own mysterious ways.

And how do you get around that?

By being more observant. Absorbing. And reflecting. I find these to be must have traits for all curious souls. In fact, I can’t really imagine anyone being inquisitive in the first place if they are not keen observers and mindful about their surroundings. It all goes hand in hand.

Haven’t we spoken about this earlier as well?

Yeah, I hear you. Sounds repetitive. I also used to think that these are just redundant words which we’ve grown to use casually every time we find ourselves in a fix and cannot seem to think our way through. “Relax, take it easy, be patient…you are missing the bigger picture…” We keep hearing this. And of course, not having any other choice, we comply anyways.

The whole idea did, however, made more sense to me when I made this one observation.

Well, care to share?

It’s about colors!


Yes, the different colors that we see all around us every day. The color of your shirt, for instance, color of that wall at your back, color of the nail paint you want to buy next, color of the cover of that book you are reading these days, I mean the color of everything around you – each of those carries a deep lesson of life for us!

Oh, so now we are on to deep lessons! That too based on colors!

Will you just stop and listen? Have you ever thought what makes us see these colors? How does it work? I am sure the answer for you is as simple as, “We see these colors through our eyes. Just like we see everything else!” This simple explanation knocks it right out of the park. Correct?

Well not really. What I am getting at is that it all has to do with the absorption and reflection of light.

Now you see, light travels in waveforms of different frequencies, where each frequency defines how the respective light will be seen, if at all. There are invisible frequencies, and visible ones too. Red, for instance, is presented by 430 trillion hertz and is the lowest end of the visible frequency range of light. Highest point of visible frequencies is the color violet at 750 trillion hertz. Does VIBGYOR ring a bell, anyone?

And then there are some colorless but visible frequencies as well which we just call 'white' because their color is a combination of all the colors in the visible range and our eye cannot perceive it. Our beloved day light, for example!

Ah! I get it! All objects emit light of some visible frequency which matches a particular color and that’s how we get to see their colors.

Hmmm…not really. It’s a bit more interesting than this. Actually, no object has any light of its own to throw out at us (not unless there is some kind of a chemical reaction going on – like on the sun, which in return lights our days). Everything simply reflects the colorless light, which is almost always there in some quantity all around us, after altering it a bit.

What do you mean by light being altered before it is reflected back?

Good point! Someone seems to be listening today.

What it means is that before being reflected, some frequencies of light get absorbed by objects. It is this absorption that ultimately produces a particular color. So, that blue car you drooled over last week looked blue because its paint absorbed all other colors from the clear white day light and reduced it to just the blue which it then reflected back for your eye to perceive and fall in love with. That red wall behind you is exactly doing the same by absorbing all frequencies from the surrounding light except red, which is then being thrown back at you. Same goes for your new nail paint!

Oh and, of course, there’s that classic example of how leaves absorb light and only reflect back green to get their characteristic color.

So, everything around us gets its color by absorbing some frequencies from the surrounding light and reflecting back the remaining, which show the respective color?

Correct. Wow, you actually understood it, didn’t you?

Well, to be honest, not the part where you relate this to us being observant and absorbent and reflective and whatever.

Hmmm…let me try now.

By default, we humans are nobody – just bland – we don’t have any personality, neither character. It’s by absorbing from life around us, over the years, that our persona takes its shape and starts reflecting outwardly for others to see.

In passing through different situations of life, meeting different people, gathering experiences, in learning all sorts of things, we continue to take in bits which subconsciously add up to form our individual being. In this process, whatever we absorb to keep inside and whatever we reflect back for others to observe defines us.


Just like the way all our favorite colors work so actively to make our life beautiful by presenting their best hue while subtracting every other shade, it only makes sense that we learn and follow suit by observing closely, absorbing wisely, and reflecting back responsibly to everyone else too.

It is, after all, on us to present the best image of ourselves to the world and in turn make it a beautiful place.

Happy living!