A mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol of the universe. Monks use mandalas to gain enlightenment, but we can all use this art form as a tool to gain wisdom and compassion. As many art-as-therapies, the mandala allows individuals to openly self-express within a safe structure. The circle represents wholeness and infinity, and represents an integrated view of the world. It can help the artist see the self, the planet, and their life purpose. Carl Jung said it symbolizes a “safe refuge of inner reconciliation.” Think about all the circles found in nature, in the body, in the sky.
The process of creating a mandala is just as important as the final product. As you color, your busy mind takes a break and your creative mind is set free. Self-awareness is gained by staying in the moment; if the mind wanders, focus back on the mandala.
You can choose mandalas with specific meanings, and set an intention for the process- when you’re done, you can leave it up on your wall as a reminder of your goals. You can notice elements within the mandala that may represent symbols of things going on in your life, and look into meanings of different colors.
Tibetan monks create intricate mandalas with colored sand as a spiritual practice. At the end, they sweep it into a jar and empty it into water as a blessing. Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen the Ron Fricke “Samsara”, I highly recommend it. This was such a moving couple of scenes…