I saw a rainbow yesterday. It was beautiful, curving from one side of the landmass to another over the skies of the Cochin backwaters. As you may know, rainbow is formed when light bends — refracts — due to reduction in speed as it enters water droplets in the atmospheric air, followed by another bending as it picks up speed while leaving the water droplets, and in this process exhibiting the seven colors of Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red — VIBGYOR — in a beautiful fashion. There are no two opinions that rainbow is one of the most beautiful creations of Mother Nature.
Man is a microcosm of nature, and everything that nature has has a part of it in man. Going by this philosophy, I searched for the rainbow of our life. We, too, have a rainbow called personality which can also be beautiful like the nature’s one. The VIBGYOR of our personality-rainbow is Values, Intention, Benevolence, Gaiety, Youthfulness, Optimism and Reasonableness.
Man bereft of values is not a man but less-than-a-man. How do we define values? Value is a set of dos that unravels how one characterizes oneself through one’s behavior. It is the mix of absolute fundamentals of principles, standards and norms that governs the conduct of a person. Honesty is the principle of telling truth. Punctuality is the standard of being on time. It is a norm to be respectful toward others. There is nothing called more or less honest but honest as honesty is absolute; similarly nothing like less or more punctual; and more or less respecting or respectful. A point to be noted here is that showing more respect is a sign of deception or of vested interest of expecting something in return for that extra respect. Being penniless can be overcome through hard work, but being valueless can seldom be tided over. Values ought to be the axis around which a person builds up his/her character — the mooring of one’s personality. A life without values is meaningless as echoed in the Biblical words: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
Every action has an intention – purpose – irrespective of whether the person behind the action is aware of it or not. If the person is aware of the intent behind the action, the act is said to be purposeful; otherwise, we say it as an action resulting in unintended consequences. Why do I do what I do? This is probably the most important question one should ask oneself. The question can be paraphrased in a better way; what is the purpose of what I am doing or going to do? If you do not have an answer for this question, you are like an engine-failed boat drifting directionless in the ocean — you are adrift and afloat without knowing the beachline. The sum total of the intentions of your life decides the overall purpose of your life. Life will reward as you intent and act — good giving back good and bad returning bad. Be purposeful — purposeful with good intentions.
There is a saying that humility is the mother of all virtues. Kindness is the first in the list of the virtues. Benevolence is the actualization of kindness. If kindness is a theory, then benevolence is the practical side of it. One can be sensitive to human sufferings but do nothing to ameliorate it — this is being kindful but not benevolent. A person can also be insensitive to human suffering, which is callousness. Showing kindness and acting on that kindness to mitigate the suffering is benevolence. Benevolence has no outer perimeter, it can even go to the highest level of giving up one’s happiness for the happiness of others. And there is no happiness better than the happiness of giving up one’s happiness for someone’s happiness — the ultimate gain from a benevolent act. Though it sounds ironical, giving up happiness gives happiness provided that foregoing has an underlying, self-satisfying cause. Everyone is not benevolent as being benevolent is driven by a cause(s). We need to differentiate between benevolence and the camera-pausing charity gimmicks as the latter do not reflect happiness but pleasure. Pleasure and happiness are different. Pleasure is an effervescence that gives temporary feel-goodness but fades away over a period of time. On the other hand, happiness is the feeling inundated within you from doing a good thing, and it is stable and long-lasting. Be benevolent!
Literarily, gaiety means light-hearted and cheerful behavior. The most beautiful part of this literary meaning is that one cannot be on cheerful mood if one is not light-hearted. Light-heartedness and cheerfulness are mutually inclusive. Light-heartedness is the product of the continuous practice of letting go things which are unproductive as well as have the potential to tie you down to indignation. It is impossible to be cheerful when you hold back and live with ill-feelings. Letting go is the key to light-heartedness as it frees one from the fruitless pain of having a heart that is laden with unwanted and useless feelings. Can you smile at yourself while standing in front of a mirror? That is the beginning of the road to ‘let go.’
Youthfulness is the mindset of having the feel of possessing the vigor and trigger of younger age. It is possible that an young man is for want of this feeling while an elderly man is effervescent with youthfulness. A man is only as old as he thinks. Irrespective of age, there is youthfulness in everyone, with only its levels varying from person to person. Be youthful in your thoughts as thinking so does not demand proof of age.
There is no feeling more rewarding than optimism because it radiates hope, the kindle that keeps one moving forward. Have you ever noticed someone while him/her telling that it is a hopeless situation? If yes, you would have seen an energy-drained, frowned and disappointed face! Optimism is the radiance that keeps you moving. One of the most difficult things in life is to remain optimistic during pessimistic times. Be optimistic as it keeps you going.
Reasonableness is being on the side of the reason, not any reason. There is a natural reason or a set of reasons behind the events and incidents with which we get involved, and being on the side of that or those reasons makes us reasonable. In other words, reasonableness is being in harmony with the natural reasons. Being in harmony with the underlying reasons makes you fair in your interactions with people. And being reasonable with oneself is the beginning of showing reasonableness toward others.
Light is made up of electromagnetic waves, each wavelength representing a colour. VIBGYOR is what is visible to our eyes, with the rest colours being outside our retina. Violet represents the shortest wavelength, so it bends the most as light enters and exits the water droplets while Red’s wavelength is the longest one, bending the least. And Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange bending in decreasing fashion, thus, making VIBGYOR of rainbow. Violet is the base while Red adorns the surface of the rainbow. The VIBGYOR of our personality-rainbow also has a similar make with Values forming the base and Reasonableness being the outer layer of our character, along with Intention, Benevolence, Gaiety, Youthfulness and Optimism playing their parts. Introvert or extrovert, one’s rainbow of personality will be displayed as one passes through the water droplets of interactions with others, with its beauty or lack of it representing the nature of one’s personality traits. In your life, you would have come across people about whom you said: I like his/her personality or I do not like his/her personality. Either of these statements reveals one thing: you knowingly or unknowingly noticed the traits — colours — of his/her personality — rainbow. Have a rainbow-personality which is as beautiful as the nature’s one.