Red. It is the color of Love. It is hot, vibrant, and intense. It is exciting and even aggressive. Red is passion, bold, provocative, seductive, sexy. It is also the color of extremes; the core symbol of power and spirituality, of protection and commitment. Our ancestors saw red as the color of fire and blood – energy and primal life forces – and most of red’s symbolism today arises from its powerful associations in the past. In Asia, red is the color of good luck. It is used to denote a rise in stock prices as opposed to Western stock markets where red is used to denote a negative drop in price. Red is also a magical and religious color. It symbolized super-human heroism to the Greeks and is the color of the Christian Pentecost. It symbolizes joy and the fire of the Holy Spirit. In Catholicism, Cardinals wear red symbolizing their willingness to die for their faith, while in Hindu communities, brides wear ceremonious red, and seal their married status with the pinch of red powder sindoor on their forehead. Red. It warns of danger and signals attention, with high visibility reflected in fire trucks and the logos of the Red Cross and Crescent. Red. It is powerful. It is the color of beating hearts that Love. And what can be more powerful than Love? It is the one universal language that speaks across cultural divides.
From our early school days we learned that there are 12 colors on the color wheel. There is a color theory which demonstrates all the different ways these colors (all 12) achieve harmony with one another. They balance each other with their differences in nuances, shades, hues, intensity or pallor. It doesn’t matter whether the colors are side by side or on opposite ends of the color wheel. They are different yet they “marry” each other well. As far as colors are concerned, opposites refine each other, balance each other, soothe each other and play off each other’s intensities. Because maximum contrasts create maximum stability. Why then can we not apply the same theory to our dealings with human relationships? Why don’t we consciously seek people who are different from us, who are opposite us to create that balance and harmony? Instead, we confine ourselves to familiar neighborhoods where people are similar to us, where we shop at the same grocery stores and send our kids to the same schools, attend the same church, listen to the same music, and remain in our comfort zones. We are not interested to be around people who are different from us much less people who are opposite from us. Yet we are taught to Love all humanity.
With all the lessons of love and tolerance and forgiveness we are taught, we must go below the topsoil of loving only those who are like us. The red color of love is a symbol of profound emotion signifying true love which can overcome all obstacles and challenges. What if we make a 100 or 1000 or tens of thousands part identity wheel which shows any and all possible ways in which we can identify ourselves through race, ethnicity, gender, profession, hobbies, religion, interests, political inclination, ideologies, sexuality, and so on? What if we put them all on a human identity wheel (like a color wheel) and then find our opposite…the ones who we don’t understand, the people with whom we have nothing in common, the ones who will be on the other side of the human wheel? What if we spend time with them, be with them, understand them, love them? Because there is truth in the theory that opposites attract and complement each other, therefore they can bring balance into our lives. As different as they are from you or me, they actually refine and stabilize the persons we are. Whether we seek one person in our lives or whether we seek a culture or a people or a nation on the opposite spectrum of the human wheel, it is in how we handle our differences that create the harmonious power of relationships. Just as colors reflect and bounce and harmonize intensities with their reflective light, so too must we reflect our light of love. We must go beneath the topsoil, go so deep that we discover, at last, that self-love and love for one another are one and the same.
Red. It is the color of love. Use it. Abundantly.
(Red is one of three primary colors. Blue and yellow are its primary companions. Blue is the color of sky and seas signifying depth and stability, confidence and balance. Yellow is the color of the sun. The sun shines on everyone. It does not discriminate.)