The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.As and artist and a herbalist, I find holistic approaches to life have a deeper meaning to me than to some others sometimes. Now I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool lobbyist for alternative practices, but I do believe that they have a place in life alongside Western medicine and consistantly debate the use of herbal remedies against Western pharmaceuticals whenever I see my own doctor.
Its a natural progression to look to art for a calming influence and see how its original origins can spill over into the 21st century in the form of mandalas. The creation of a mandala is a class that I will offer later this year for adults. It will be an exploration of self, almost a symbolic self portrait for each individual and to serve as a stress reducer and relaxant.
Representing the universe itself, a mandala is both the microcosm and the macrocosm, and we are all part of its intricate design. The mandala is more than an image seen with our eyes; it is an actual moment in time. It can be can be used as a vehicle to explore art, science, religion and life itself. The mandala contains an encyclopedia of the finite and a road map to infinity.Have you created a mandala? If so, what was the experience like and how to you and others view the completed mandala? I will be creating my own personal mandala and look forward to the process of drawing and adding colour to it.
Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes "a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness." It is "a synthesis of distinctive elements in a unified scheme representing the basic nature of existence." Jung used the mandala for his own personal growth and wrote about his experiences.
It is said by Tibetan Buddhists that a mandala consists of five "excellencies":The teacher • The message • The audience • The site • The time
An audience or "viewer" is necessary to create a mandala. Where there is no you, there is no mandala. (from: You Are the Eyes of the World, by Longchenpa, translated by Lipman and Peterson).
Here is a good starting point to learn more about mandalas
The Mandala Project
And a great sample of the relaxation factor in this virtual mandala or labyrinthe.
Online Finger Meditation