Part Three

The Colors of Light

Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud-- We in ourselves rejoice! And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight, All melodies the echoes of that voice, All colors a suffusion from that light.


As long as I've suggested you experiment with light, let me tell you about the colors of light, too. Certain colors have certain effects on many people.

This is probably not surprising. You may have felt a difference between walking into, say, an all-yellow room and walking into an all-blue room. The investigation of color and its effects on people is now considered by many a legitimate scientific study.

The white light contains all colors. With paints, all colors mixed together form a sort of murky green-brown. When you combine all colors of direct light, however, it makes white. On a color TV, for example, when the screen is white, all the primary colors are on. The absence of all colors is black.

You've probably seen light go through a prism and become the colors of the rainbow. Rainbows are formed, in fact, by water molecules in the air acting as billions of tiny prisms.

When you want the benefit of all colors, use white. When you're looking for specific results, you can use specific colors.

Red is the color of intense, physical energy. When you need a powerful burst of energy, imagine red or look at something red. Coke does not put caffeine in its cola and paint the cans bright red for nothing. They're selling energy--raw, physical energy. The Real Thing! The Pause That Refreshes! Coke Is It!

This powerful physical energy, if overemphasized, sometimes leads to delusions of grandeur. As Edmond Rostand noted, "I fall back dazzled at beholding myself all rosy red, / At having, I myself, caused the sun to rise."

When the red gets rowdy, it's often associated with mischief: "Three jolly gentlemen, / In coats of red, / Rode their horses / Up to bed" (Walter de la Mare). If the physical actions go too far, red becomes associated with crime: "caught red-handed" or "My case is bad. Lord, be my advocate. / My sin is red: I'm under God's arrest" (Edward Taylor).

For memory has painted this perfect day With colors that never fade, And we find at the end of a perfect day The soul of a friend we've made.


The intense physical energy is also why red is the color often associated with sexuality: red-light districts and scarlet letters. As John Boyle O'Reilly wrote, "The red rose whispers of passion / And the white rose breathes of love; / O, the red rose is a falcon, / And the white rose is a dove."

Orange is the next color in the spectrum. Orange is a color of energy, too, but a quieter, more sustaining energy. You'd use red if you needed a burst of energy; orange, for more enduring physical strength.

"The red earth" of the South is really more orange in color. ("The orange earth of Tara" doesn't sound too romantic.) Edward Markham's description of ABRAHAM LINCOLN incorporates the orange quality of abiding strength: "The color of the ground was in him, the red earth, / The smack and tang of elemental things."

Yellow is the color of the mind, of joyful, purifying, mental energy. It's the color of lemons (so what?), smile buttons, and Joy dishwashing detergent. (Lily Tomlin: "A friend of mine asked her four-year-old daughter, `Do you know what joy is?' and the daughter answered, `Yes. It's what gets your dishes so spotlessly clean you can see yourself.'") Yes, yellow light does bring clarity.

The thing we most often associate with yellow is the sun. The sun has been described as "glorious" (Shakespeare or Coleridge, take your pick) and "colossal" (Wallace Stevens)--qualities we could certainly apply to the mind (on a good day).

As Daniel Webster observed, "Knowledge, in truth, is the great sun in the firmament. Life and power are scattered with all its beams." Or, as Theodore Roethke said, "The sun! The sun! And all we can become!"

Dear friend, all theory is gray, And green the golden tree of life.


Green is the color of healing and the color of learning--brilliant, emerald green. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters" (Psalm 23: 1-2). "That happy place, the green groves of the dwelling of the blest" (Virgil).

Andrew Marvell marveled (sorry) in 1651, "Annihilating all that's made / To a green thought in a green shade." The "annihilation" is that of illness when the ease of green confronts dis-ease, or when the green of learning confronts ignorance. "Keep a green tree in your heart," states the Chinese proverb, "and perhaps the singing bird will come."

Of course, healing and learning are active processes. When you think of green, think of actively healing yourself, through physical action and active visualizations. Think of vigorously learning all you can about yourself and your life. "April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go" (Christopher Morley).

"Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight." John Ruskin said it in 1853 better than I could today. Blue is a color of spirit, of calm, of peace. "Blue, darkly, deeply, beautifully blue" (Robert Southey).

As the sun is yellow and usually associated withsunny thoughts, so the sky is high and blue, and the sea is deep and blue. High and deep: two good descriptions of a life fully lived. "The spacious firmament on high, / With all the blue ethereal sky" (Joseph Addison). "The sea! the sea! the open sea! / The blue, the fresh, the ever free" (Barry Cornwall).

The Apache have a chant: "Big Blue Mountain Spirit, / The home made of blue clouds / I am grateful for that mode of goodness there." And the final word on blue will go to Coleridge (dear Coleridge), who reminds us that "Saints will aid if men will call: / For the blue sky bends over all!"

Purple is the color of royalty--the inner royalty that is you and the outer royalty of the divine. We seem to associate purple with kings, queens, and the main color in stained-glass windows.

Use purple when you want to feel cloaked in the grand, majestic, stately One of the universe, or the grand, majestic, stately presence within you.

It's also fun mixing colors. If you have, say, "the blues," you might add the physical energy of red, which would make a more active purple. Or you could add to blue some mental energy (yellow), which would give you the green of healing.

And God smiled again, And the rainbow appeared, And curled itself around his shoulder.


If you were being a little too yellow--thinking too much at the expense of action (cowards, who sacrifice action for fearful thoughts, are often called "yellow")--you could add some highly physical red, which would give you steady, reliable orange to help carry out your physical tasks. Or you could add blue to the yellow to make green and be ready for some active healing or learning.

If you add too many colors, don't worry: unlike mixing paints, when you overmix light, the worst you can end up with is white.

Use the colors you feel drawn to. Think about them surrounding and filling you with their energy. You can also look at sheets of colored paper, or wear clothes of the colors you want to imbue yourself with. As always, ask for them to impart their energy for your highest good and the highest good of all concerned.

Make a Sanctuary

My special place. It's a place no amount of hurt and anger Can deface. I put things back together there It all falls right in place-- In my special space My special place.


If you wanted to learn wood crafting, you'd probably want not just tools, but a workroom. If you wanted to become an artist, you'd probably want not just paints, but a studio. If you wanted to become a gourmet cook, you would probably want not just pots and pans, but a kitchen.

If you want to become a "gourmet visualizer," you might want not just the techniques of visualization, but also a place for you to use them. I call this place a sanctuary.

A sanctuary is a place you build in your imagination. It's an inner place for you to go to visualize, contemplate, meditate, affirm, do spiritual exercises, solve problems, get advice, heal yourself, relax, have fun, hang out, and communicate with yourself and others.

I call it a sanctuary because the word seems to incorporate the qualities of preciousness (sanctity), retreat, getting away from it all, safety, and refuge. You can call your inner place whatever you choose. Some call it a workshop; others, a shrine or an inner sanctum. The name is not important. Building and using it is.

You build a sanctuary in your imagination. The nice thing about building in your imagination is that the wait between design and construction is nonexistent. You can try something out, see how you like it, change it, see how you like that, and change your changes, all in a very short time.

To show you how quickly this can happen: imagine the Statue of Liberty. See the right arm holding up the torch and the left arm holding the tablets.

Imagine that Lady Liberty has gotten tired of holding up her right arm all these years. (She is a she, by the way--the artist's mother posed for the statue.) Imagine her switching the tablets to her right arm and the torch to her left. Then see her holding aloft the torch in her left hand while holding the tablets in her right.

That didn't take long. Can you imagine how long that would have taken to do in real life? Heck, it took them two years and Lee Iacocca just to clean the thing.

As I mentioned earlier, some people see clear pictures; others have a vague sense; while others don't see much, but listen carefully and "know" something happened.

A harbor, even if it is a little harbor, is a good thing, since adventures come into it as well as go out, and the life in it grows strong, because it takes something from the world and has something to give in return.


If I asked you to draw a very rough sketch of the Statue of Liberty with the torch in her left hand, you could probably do it, even though you had never seen a left-handed Liberty before. You would be drawing your visualization of it, from your creative imagination.

In constructing your sanctuary, keep this in mind: Moss Hart, the playwright and director, bought an estate outside New York and began landscaping it. He moved a large hill from one location to another, redirected the course of a stream, and rearranged trees so the effect would be aesthetically pleasing. When George S. Kaufman came to visit and saw the changes Hart had made, he commented, "This is what God would do if He only had money."

When building your sanctuary, be a god with lots of money--because in your imagination, you are.

You can have as many workers as you want, or you can snap your fingers and things will just appear. Want to change the color of the whole place? Snap your fingers, it's done. Want to make it twice as large? Snap, it's larger.

I'll give you the basic outline for a sanctuary. Keep in mind that it's your sanctuary. You can add anything else you like. There are no limitations other than the ones you place there. I, naturally, recommend limitlessness.

Can success change the human mechanism so completely between one dawn and another? Can it make one feel taller, more alive, handsomer, uncommonly gifted and indomitably secure with the certainty that this is the way life will always be? It can and it does!.


I'll suggest uses for the sanctuary later, but for now I'll just describe their basic function. Their size, shape, design, and so on, are entirely up to you. Ready? Here we go.

Location. Your first choice is location. Where would you like your sanctuary to be? It can be anyplace, real or imagined: on a mountaintop, floating over the ocean, on the moon, in a valley.

Outside. What do you want the outside of the sanctuary to look like? Choose a size (from enormous to moderate to cozy), shape (cathedral to cottage to geodesic dome), color (the full spectrum, plus colors we can't physically see). Landscape it as you please: add rivers, rock formations, galaxies, and shrubbery galore.

Entry Way. The entry way to your sanctuary permits only you to enter. How does it know it's you? Do you have a special key? Does it read your handprint? Do you have secret words, such as "Open sez me"? Or does it just automatically recognize you?

White Light. Just inside the doorway, create a perpetual white light. Whenever you enter or exit your sanctuary, automatically pass through a column of pure, white light. As you do, you are surrounded, filled, protected, and healed by this light, and only that which is for your highest good and the highest good of all concerned takes place while you're in your sanctuary.

Main Room. How would you like the main room of your sanctuary to be? Large? Small? Carpeted? Wood floors? Grass? How about the walls, ceiling, windows? How is it decorated? Snap into place whatever you want. If you're not entirely satisfied, snap your fingers and create something else.

Information Retrieval System. This can be in the main room or in a special room by itself. It's a way of getting information on whatever you want to know. It could be a computer terminal, a staff of researchers, a telephone, or anything else. All you need is a method of asking questions and getting the answers.

Three things are to be looked to in a building: that it stand on the right spot; that it be securely founded; that it be successfully executed.


Video Screen. Again, this can be in the main room or in its own room. It can be any size, from hand-held to wall-size. Have some comfortable chairs in front of it so you can relax and watch. What will you watch? Mostly the story of your life. You're the star; everyone else is just bit players. You can also use the video screen to play videos from the information retrieval system. Surround the screen with a white light that can go off and on.

Ability Suit Closet. For every ability you have or would like to have--painting, flying, being rich, playing piano--there's a suit that, when you put it on, instantly gives you that ability. When you're done with the suit, throw it on the floor. It automatically hangs itself back in the closet. That's just a minor ability of the ability suits.

Ability Practice Area. This is where you can try different abilities on for size. You put on the ability suit for, say, gourmet cook, and the ability practice area becomes a master chef's kitchen. You can also use this area to practice abilities as you develop them.

People Mover. This is the way to invite others into your sanctuary. (Remember, only you can come and go by way of the main entrance.) It can be an escalator, a conveyer belt, one of those beam-me-up-Scotty devices from Star Trek, or whatever people-moving you can imagine.

White Light by People Mover. Place a perpetual white light over the entrance of the people mover. In this way, anyone who comes into your sanctuary is automatically surrounded, filled, and protected by the white light, and only that which is for his or her highest good and the highest good of all concerned can take place. Anyone visiting your sanctuary passes through this white light both on entering and on leaving.

Healing Center. This can be a multi-room wing of your sanctuary. Here, all the healing arts are practiced. You are attended by all known and imagined healers--past, present, and future. The latest and most ancient technologies are available, as of course are all future discoveries.

Sacred Room. This is a special room for you to commune with yourself--to meditate, contemplate, do spiritual exercises, visualize, or just be. If you like, you can invite special friends into this room of communion.

We must reserve a back shop all our own, entirely free, in which to establish our real liberty and our principal retreat and solitude.


Master Teacher. A special feature of your sanctuary is the presence of a special teacher, a friend, someone who knows everything about you, who cares for you totally, and who loves you unconditionally. How do you discover your Master Teacher? Easy. Just stand in front of the people mover and say, "Would my Master Teacher please come forth?" From the column of white light in front of the people mover will emerge your Master Teacher. Take some time. Get acquainted. Show off your sanctuary. Enjoy together the sacred room.

I'll leave you two alone for a while. See you both--whenever you get around to it--in the next chapter.


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Copyright © 1988-1996 Peter McWilliams & Prelude Press, Inc.

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