There are moments when we are too confused, agitated or overwhelmed to even meditate. When this happens, try mandalas.
Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle and center. It refers to the physical shape (or, at least a sense of symmetry) and the process of centering yourself and meditating as you create the intricate geometric patterns within it. For many cultures (including Tibetan, Japanese, Hindi and Native American) mandalas were symbols of protection and healing.
What is a mandala?
Mandalas were said to be a small diagram of the universe, and a symbol of eternity, wholeness, and inner peace. Many contain symbolic images; others have geometric shapes and patterns. Others are an explosion of colors and lines, random and unplanned, but beautiful and unique, and an expression of a moment.
Traditionally, the person making the mandala would chant a mantra, which would guide him as he drew the details. However, you can substitute a mantra with calming music or an inspiring image which you hold in your head and heart. The point is that you are tapping into an intuition or spiritual connection, which guides you as you draw the mandala.
But you are not just drawing or looking at a circle. Focusing on the mandala helps you withdraw from negative thoughts and turbulent emotions and find your ‘Core.’ This is the part of you that stays still and calm no matter what happens. Some people call it the ‘Inner Self’ or others call it ‘the part that knows that I am a child of God.’ You can call it whatever you want, but you will recognize it immediately as a feeling of peace and oneness with the world.
Where can I find Mandalas?
There are thousands of mandala meditations on Youtube (try this one)The colors and music can be soothing and inspiring. Watch them for about 15 to 20 minutes. (Note: many experts believe that if you are new to mandals, it is better to stick to one for one week to one month.)
You can also draw your own mandala (see photo just below, from eyepopart.blogspot.com Start with a simple design (such as cross in a circle, or a simple symbol or letter that’s significant to you) or a pattern that you can repeat. If you don’t feel like drawing, milliande.com has printable mandala pages that you can color instead. Carl Jung, the great psychologist, actually made his patients make mandalas to help them tap their unconscious.
What do I do with the Mandala?
Tibetan priests would make mandalas in sand and then destroy them, symbolizing the impermanence of the world. You can try burning or throwing your paper, as a sign of letting go or releasing a negative emotion.
Or you can adopt the opposite view of other practitioners: frame or laminate the mandala and look at it frequently, using it as an ‘anchor to the Truth’ or a focal point for meditation.
Photo from healing.about.com