The Mandala: Good Medicine for Feeling Fractured

Five Ways the Mandala is Good Medicine for Feeling Fractured:    

Rose WIndow, Notre Dame

Whether you’re gazing at a rose window in Notre Dame or looking up the trunk of a palm tree, you are absorbing the numinous energy of the sacred circle. Mandala is a Sanskrit word which translates as “circle.”

Advertisers have long known the comforting appeal of the circle. Look at the logos of Starbucks, Coke, Mercedes and countless others. But the history of the circle predates commercial advertising by centuries when religious motifs in the symmetrical shape of a circle were used to both instruct and comfort spiritual seekers.

The mandala is anything in art, architecture and nature that draws the viewer’s experience of it toward the center. Begin to see mandalas everywhere you look!

1.    Mandalas speak of wholeness to anyone who seeks self-actualization. Our culture places emphasis on surface awareness, which is artificial, full of illusion and misrepresents the vastness of who we really are. We don’t have to understand the how of it to trust that looking at a Buddhist mandala or the cross section of a nautilus shell suggests we must go beyond our limited perceptions of consciousness.

Tibetan Buddhist Thangka

2.    The image of a mandala held in the inner eye helps deepen one’s meditation. Find a mandala that appeals to you; memorize the colors, symbols and shapes, and then stay focused on the image in your mind’s eye as you sit quietly and breathe.

3.    Walking a labyrinth offers the body-mind connection an actual experience of the moving in toward the mysterious center of our Beingness.

4.    Drawing your own mandalas also creates that hands-on experience of the mystery of moving toward one’s center. One can causally doodle mandalas, or create paintings or drawings of a more serious nature. Carl Jung instructed his patients to draw mandalas as a way of promoting  healing in the unconscious mind and working toward wholeness.

A mandala by one of Jung's patients

5.    Nature offers us the most exquisite of mandalas of all: roses, pinecones, sunflowers, clover, the cross section of a tree trunk or tomato, seashells and starfish. When you really begin to see the design of beauty radiating out from the center everywhere in nature, you’ll be blessed every time you’re outdoors with a superabundance of symbols for wholeness.

Share your favorite mandalas in comments.

Passion Flower

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