What is a Mandala?
The word “mandala” (pronunciation mon- dah- lah) is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle.” It is a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. It is a circle that usually has one identifiable center that emanates repeated geometric or organic patterns, marks, shapes, and forms. A mandala represents wholeness, a cosmic diagram reminding us of our relation to infinity, extending beyond and within our bodies and minds. The mandala appears to us in all aspects of life, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and more obviously the circles of life encompassing friends, family and communities.
Mandala art has been used throughout history in various religions, cultures, and spiritual realms. Tibetan Buddhism employed mandala art to capture the universe including countless gods and demons which both uplift and plague humanity. For thousands of years, Buddhists used mandala art as an aid to meditation.
Navajo Indians use mandala art in healing rituals. The Medicine Wheel is a mandala form engaged to connect to the wisdom of nature and earth energies.
How to Utilize Mandala Art
The design of the mandala is supposed to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that irritating thoughts are unable to get through and a spiritual essence surrounds the individual observing the mandala, which in turn allows the individual a higher consciousness or awareness. This allows the busy mind to take a break while the creative mind is allowed to run free.
Basically this means when you feel tense, overwhelmed, anxious, taking a 10 minute break to color a mandala will help relieve these negative feelings and thoughts. How can coloring do this? Well there are physiological reasons of course, but I’m not going to go into that here. Basically, your mind is going in all directions and thinking multiple negative thoughts when you are tense, overwhelmed, or anxious. Focusing your mind on coloring a mandala directs your mind to this pleasant shape and colors. It will also focus your mind on being creative and choosing colors and making patterns. This engages the creative, right side of your brain. Always a good thing!
I have used mandalas in various ways with clients and in my personal life. I have a basket with mandala color books in my office so clients can color while we talk. This helps them feel at ease when talking about difficult things.
I must admit that I do not make them, as in actually drawing them, as there are so many pre-drawn ones available to color. There are so many mandala coloring books out in just about every store. You can also find ones online to download free.
This is a wonderful way to take a break and relax. Try it! You will be surprised!