The topic for today was mandalas. Cathy’s colleague Jackie Sargent, an art therapist, was presenting. Not knowing too much about Mandalas and wanting to be prepared, I went to the trusty Wikipedia to learn the basics. According to this source, Mandalas represent the Universe and can be used as a tool to focus attention, to guide the spirit and to establish a sacred space.
After a brief discussion, we designed our own mandala. We could either start from scratch or use a pre-printed version. I went for the pre-printed because I actually like the symmetry and perfection of mandalas. I chose one of the simplest ones I could find, not because I didn’t want to color an intricate design, but because I’m feeling calm, open and peaceful.
Mandalas used bright colors in symmetrical ways starting at the center and moving toward the edges. Then, I felt a pull to go out of the circle. While the center point of the circle is a traditional focal point, I was feeling like going beyond the container today and found myself extending beyond the framework.
And then something happened. I drew four little crosses. That actually surprised me. The subconscious has a way of appearing in these things. I got curious about what that was. My interpretation is that the crosses represent the spirit. I’ve been working a lot on my spirit self lately and found it very interesting how that showed up in my mandala.
Then I drew these crazy pink waves. For some reason, I felt compelled to have them converge toward each other instead of drawing them all facing one direction. Then it dawned on me that my meditations have been centered around “oneness.” I’ve been focused on integrating and bringing things together.
So my mandala to me represents calmness and simplicity in the core with a reaching toward the spirit self and integration into oneness. That’s a lot from a little circle painted with watercolor! And that’s the beauty of the mandala. It just comes out without thought or effort and it becomes a tool that can shed light on the unseen.
Carl Jung used mandalas to help him explore his own psyche. “My mandalas were cryptograms…in which I saw the self—that is, my whole being—actively at work.”
Go on. Give it a try. There are countless mandalas you can print from the Internet, or you can go freestyle and do one on your own. What will you find as you add color to the shapes?