A mandala represents wholeness, a cosmic diagram reminding us of our relation to infinity, extending beyond and within our bodies and minds.
The word Mandala comes from the classical Sanskrit language. It means ‘circle’ or ‘wheel’ and represents wholeness and unity. At their very basic, mandalas are a circular art form. They have been used over thousands of years and across many nations. seen by Tibetans as a diagram of the cosmos. It is used by Native Americans in healing rituals and in Christian cathedrals the labyrinth is a mandalic pattern used as a tool for meditation. An archetypal symbol of wholeness, the mandala was used as a therapeutic art tool by psychologist Carl Jung, who believed creating mandalas helped patients to make the unconscious conscious.
They are an inner reflection of who we are, and they connect us with the universe of which we are a part. Mandalas help us to reach deeper levels of our unconscious, especially when created in tandem with meditation. Mandalas are the perfect bringing together of mind, body and spirit. They represent a union between the scientific realm and the religious realm by putting spiritual meaning onto scientific concepts.
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The sun, moon, circles, stars, spiral galaxies, circular movement of planets, flowers, snowflakes, the cross-section of a tree, and the Earth itself are all examples of mandalas found in nature. All of these things (and more!) show a pattern of growth moving outward from a central point/SOURCE. This is what makes them Mandalas.
Why Create a Mandala?
Because it can regenerate the powers of the mind that have been tucked away due to routine behavior and societal stressors. The meditative process helps to focus and open the heart to the healing power of unconditional love. Because it has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body, thus focusing and strengthening the will to heal. Because it can bring joy as it facilitates the healing of a sense of psychological fragmentation. (In other words, things become clearer).
A mandala is a picture that tells a story, the story of a journey that we can follow. We all seek happiness and fulfillment, and Mandalas are a tool that can guide us straight to the heart of this search. In following the path through a mandala we are seeking to find the wholeness that lies at the core of us, the stillness that always remains no matter what storms may surround us.
The symbols and visual images inscribed in a mandala vary from culture to culture. Some traditions portray pictures of gods and goddesses, some use color and shape, whilst others use natural objects. However, although each may use a different “language”, the mandalas of all cultures describe the same cosmos as our own. Irrespective of their historical and cultural origins, if we let them resonate with us deeply enough, mandalas can lead us on the journey to finding our own inner truth.
By studying a mandala in sufficient detail, we can connect with our inner selves and look out from the center of our being. A mandala may be elegant and intricate, laden with symbols and vibrating with color, or it may simple and sparse. Either way it contains its own wisdom and truth. To unlock its secrets we must look past the first superficial impression and appreciate the detail within each tiny aspect of the pattern.
If we understand the message of each symbol, shape and color it will help change something inside of us and bring us closer to a place of peace. This intricate way of seeing, of always looking more deeply into things, brings an original and fresh way of experiencing the world around us.