I was told a story the other day of a gathering of spiritual seekers in the city who came to see a famous Swami. Everyone came in wearing city clothing and most were dressed in some or all black. The Swami was there for a week. On the third day, he couldn’t take it any longer. At the end of the day he said, “And when you return tomorrow, would you please wear sattvic clothing!” He then explained and the next day the room looked very different.
In Ayurveda and Yoga, it is understood that color has a profound influence on the mind. Each color sends of a light vibration that is picked up by the eye and processed by the brain. Once absorbed it affects physiology of the mind and even the body. Thus, it is important to utilize the proper colors in one’s life; colors that help balance your dosha and create peace of mind. Sattvic colors are soft, light and bring peace to the mind. Some colors are rajasic. They bring agitation. Others are tamasic, they bring dullness or worse, they bring out the dark side.
The color black has a generally negative effect on the mind. It is the color of mystery and darkness and it can take the mind into darker places. It is a strong and powerful color. It is the color of mystery and the unknown. This is why some people are drawn to it. In addition, it is used by certain segments of society identify themselves. From the black robes of the Catholic priest to the black dress of the Goth subculture, black is a part of our society. For many, an evening out means dressing in black and formal events often requires black dress and black tie.
Most people wear colors that look good on them. They may even perceive dress and color as a source of fun. However, without a broader understanding of the effects of color, a person may unconsciously be affecting how their mind works, their thoughts and feelings.
Black creates separation from the world. When we wear black, we feel more isolated and mysterious and we feel a dark power. It is in isolation that our darker demons sometimes emerge. They can drive us to cause harm to ourselves or to others. This is not always the stuff of nightmares. A person with a healthy mind can use the power of black constructively, either as playful endeavor into the darkness or as a way to block out world. Many spiritual monks use black for just that purpose.
While black is mysterious, isolating and dark in its power, white is just the opposite. Its power comes from its purity. It is revealing, non -threatening and peaceful. It is the color of truth. Spiritual devotees often wear white to help purify the body and mind. It is the most sattvic of all the colors.
For more information about color, read my book, “Healing Your Life; Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda.” There, I share the physical, psychological and spiritual effects of each color.