"THE STORY OF THE RAINBOW"
Once upon a time all the colours in the world started to quarrel; each claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, or the most favourite.
GREEN said: "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and hope. I was chosen for the grass, the trees and the leaves. Without me all the animals would die. Look out into the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."
BLUE interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and this is drawn up by the clouds from the blue sea. The sky gives space, and peace and serenity. Without my peace you would all be nothing but busybodies."
YELLOW chuckled: "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, and the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."
ORANGE started to blow its own trumpet: "I am the colour of health and strength. I may be scarce but I am precious because I serve the inner needs of human life. I carry all the important vitamins. Think of the carrots, the pumpkins and the oranges. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise, or give you a majestic sunset to admire, my beauty is so striking that no one ever gives another thought to any of you!"
RED could stand it no longer. Red shouted out, "I'm the ruler of you all. I am the colour of life's blood. I am the colour of danger and bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire in the blood. Without me the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the colour of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."
PURPLE then rose up to its full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the colour of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs and bishops have chosen me, for I am the sign of authority and of wisdom. People do not question me. They listen and obey."
INDIGO spoke more quietly than the others, but just as determinedly. "Think of me, I am the colour of silence. You hardly notice me but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep waters. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."
The colours went on boasting amongst each other, each convinced that they were the best. Their quarrelling grew louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of brilliant white lightning; thunder rolled and boomed out. The suddenly RAIN started to pour down relentlessly. The colours all crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.
Then RAIN spoke: "You foolish colours, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the other. Did you not know that the Creator made you all, each for a special purpose, unique and different? The Creator loves you all, he wants you all. Join hands with one another and come with me. He will stretch you across the sky in a great bow of colour as a reminder that He loves you all and it is possible for you to live together in peace.”
I love this story because it is a wonderful reminder that the beauty of life lies in its diversity. This story challenges us to live in peace together, honouring our differences and recognising the truth that we are all unique beings and of equal importance in the world. This is a call to put an end to war between individuals and between nations.
However I think it has implications for our own personal live too.
We often associate colour with mood. Red has associations with anger; green with jealousy; blue with sadness; yellow with joy; black with depression; grey with dullness and boredom. When we seek out only the emotions that we are happy with, that we have been told are acceptable and preferable then we are limiting our experience of life. Ultimately when we do this we are stopping ourselves from enjoying the experience of the rainbow manifesting itself in our lives.
What would it be like if we could allow and give room to every colour and hue of emotion, feeling and experience? What would our lives be like if we didn’t have to filter, exclude, alter, omit, change, delete or object to any of our life’s experiences?
In the rainbow all colours come together to form a radiant display of sheer beauty. Who amongst us has not been stopped in our tracks at the sight of a rainbow arching its way across the skies? Who has not been delighted by the array of colours and the effect it has of brightening up the sky? When confronted with the spectacle of a rainbow we immediately become childlike again – full of awe and wonder at the beauty before us.
Even our left sided brain with its ability to reason and analyse is brought to stillness when embraced by the beauty of the rainbow. Although we may know about the colour spectrum, about light and prisms and refraction – on the first sighting of a rainbow our first response is usually far removed from analytical thought and would rarely involve us giving a lecture on how rainbows are formed. Normally we respond from joy. We simply gaze in wonder and smile and possibly reach for the camera or a notepad in an attempt to capture the moment of sheer joy.
What if our lives where meant to be like that rainbow? What if we were meant to live a life that was a feast of colour knowing that each colour held its own meaning, purpose and spark of joy?
To make a rainbow you need light and raindrops. When light shines through the raindrops the colours of the spectrum appear. Now let us play with a metaphor for a while and imagine for the moment that that our physical bodies are the sky and the sun is our spirit. Let us imagine that the fluffy white clouds in the sky are our ‘good’ thoughts, feelings and experiences (the ones we are happy with) but the rain clouds are our negative ones, for example: anger, despair, sadness, boredom, apathy. If we do not allow ourselves to feel and express our negative emotions - that is if we do not let the rain clouds release their rain, then we are stopping the sun from being able to shine onto the raindrops to produce the rainbow. In this scenario we remain a sky full of white and black clouds but we do not experience the beauty of the rainbow. If however we allow ourselves to express our emotions and let the rain fall then we will realise (make real) the rainbow experience.
Rainbow living is about living with attention to the Spiritual dimension of Life. Spirit is all embracing. It has given us the gift of life and this is an unconditional gift. Spirit does not censor our lives – we do!
The beauty of rainbow living is that it allows all aspects of life room to breathe and just to be; here and now; in this present moment.
Without the rainbow beauty (the beauty of grace) then we are stuck in judgement – presuming that life should be a certain way and going to war with it when it isn’t. Or presuming that people should be a certain way and going to war with them when they aren’t.
Acceptance is the gift of the rainbow –it frees us to live our lives and to breathe loving attention over all our experiences. This is how our lives are transformed and how we find our way to the true beauty of who we are.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.