WHAT IS A MANDALA?
A mandala is an intricate geometric composition created in a circular formation. The word “mandala” literally means “circle”. They have a deep spiritual meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism because they represent the whole of the universe, and they can be used as an exercise or for meditation.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
In most cultures, the circle is a symbol of unity, wholeness, and oneness. It can also symbolize the womb, motherhood, and the act of nurturing. Experts believe that in mandalas, the circle symbolizes both new beginnings and a state of completion.
The Mandala, in the sense of circular representations of the universe, of unity, or of human life, can be found in a number of civilizations, such as in Christianity, Islam, Mayan, and Aztec cultures. In western society, the basic idea of drawing a radial pattern has been also adopted as a tool for therapy or simply for relaxation.
HOW CAN MANDALAS HELP ME?
In Western society, the basic idea of drawing a radial pattern has been also adopted as a tool for therapy or simply for relaxation. Famed psychologist, Carl Jung discovered that often when patients were asked to draw spontaneously, the circle was the form that appeared most frequently. Jung was familiar with Eastern spirituality and felt that the creation of circular patterns was a way that patients tried to order their thoughts and make sense of their world. He believes that the circle itself is symbolic of the wholeness of the man, and it represents the entirety of our psyche, to exhibit the divinity of the Self.
The intricate look of a mandala comes from following a rhythm of repeated patterns. It can be very relaxing, as it lets you stay in the moment, which is why a great practice is to treat it as a meditation session.
HOW DO I MAKE MY OWN MANDALA?
Sit comfortably in a quiet place, with or without some pleasant music, and focus on this one activity.
The key is to not focus on how it's going to look when you finish, or how people will react when they see it. Don't treat it as a test of your drawing skill or self-worth, and don’t scold yourself for mistakes. Let the rhythm take you around each circle, and lose yourself in it. There's no good or bad—just the rhythm, lines, and contrast.
When you create your own mandala, think of it as an echo of your soul. You can design a mandala to symbolize a state of mind that you would like to achieve and use it for future meditations.
If you aren’t confident in your ability to maintain a perfect circle freehand, you can find printable mandala grids on the internet, or create your own with a compass and a pencil.
You can use as many or as few colors as you’d like. This is your meditation and your artwork! Let it represent whatever you would like it to, and how you would like it to.
Start at the center point and let it symbolize the start of a journey. Using the lines in the grid as a template, you can draw shapes such as circles, triangles, loops, teardrops, flower petals, etc. The important part is the repetition in the pattern, which is the key element to a mandala.
Take it slow, drawing one shape at a time. You can then build on that shape by drawing other shapes around it, making the mandala more and more complex.
WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MANDALA ONCE IT IS FINISHED?
It’s your art, you can do whatever you’d like! Use it as something to focus on for future meditations, hang it on your wall to infuse the area with the mandala’s intent, make copies to share with friends…the possibilities are endless.