Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mandalas

I have been coloring and creating mandalas for several months, and I’d like to share what I’m doing with you.
A mandala is at its very basic a circle. According to the book “Mandalas in Nature,” by Sonia Waleyla, and other sources, the word mandala is Sanskrit for “circle.”
The circle is used by many religions and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity.
According to Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala, spiritual traditions may use the circles for such practices as focusing attention, teaching spiritual lessons and meditation.
May stained glass windows in churches can be considered to be mandalas.
The many pictures of mandalas that I’ve seen use different shapes, figures and other drawings, some of them symbolic.
I started coloring mandalas when my cat Waddles became very ill last fall. I had trouble sleeping, reading or focusing on much of anything. Full of anxiety, I sat beside her.
I can’t remember why I turned to mandalas, but I found some free ones on the Internet and printed them out, got out my colored pencils and started coloring.
It gave me something constructive to do when I faced the loss of my Wa but couldn’t yet face the emotions it brought up.
I continue to color mandalas. It is relaxing to me. When I am focused on coloring, especially small areas of the mandala where I have to concentrate, I don’t dwell so much on what I’m worried about. If symbols are involved in the drawing, then I think about those. And looking at the finished product soothes me.
I am making a collection of my mandalas to use in my meditation practice.
As I learned more, I started making my own mandalas with symbols that mean something to me.
I have expanded my collection of pre-drawn mandalas. Those and the mandalas that I downloaded and printed from the Internet are much better drawn than the ones I create, but because of copyright concerns, I didn’t want to post those on my blog.
So here are some that I have drawn.
The first is a mandala that includes symbols of the most important things in my life. God and my spiritual life, my husband, my cats and my writing are the most important. Other important aspects of my life are music, animal welfare and animal rights, nature and the spreading of peace.



The second is an illustration of mindfulness. I got the idea for this one from Jon Kabat-Zinn's book "Wherever You Go, There You Are," where he writes, "In every moment, we find ourselves at the crossroad of here and now." (p. 7 in e-edition).



The third is just a collection of pretty things.

If you’d like to learn more about mandalas, one resource is The Mandala Project at http://www.mandalaproject.org/.

9 comments:

  1. I love this idea. Your mandalas are beautiful.

    I used to try to stare at the mandalas in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Mandalas-Inspiring-Meditations-Soothe/dp/1844836169/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328558075&sr=8-1

    in order to try and calm my mind. It never worked and I still have the book. You have inspired me though to try it from another point of view... perhaps I should try coloring them!

    Great post!

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  2. Thank you, Elizabeth!

    I think the active coloring part is more helpful to me than just looking at them. I've always liked to color, and I like choosing different colors, using the pencils, trying to make the coloring smooth, trying to stay between the lines, etc. It pleases me aesthetically and soothes me. With your artistic and craft talents, I bet you would be good at this! And, most importantly, it might be calming too.

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  3. I spent a lot of time over the past 2 yrs coloring with my little daughter, together, in different coloring books. I even bot a pack of 64 crayons just for me/ us at this time.(that kind of didn't last, so now i have less then 64 left). I did this as a fun activity for the 2 of us, but you are right. Coloring is a soothing, calming activity. I never thot of it like that before. I just knew i like doing it.Maybe i recognized that intuitively because it was a chance for her to calm down also.

    I have a harry potter coloring book :)

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    1. Karin, Thanks for your comment! I love to color too, not just mandalas. It's a chance for me to get out of my head.

      I think I am the only person around who has not yet read the Harry Potter books. Maybe someday!

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  4. PS. Your mandalas are beautiful!

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  5. I should get into this! I love to doodle. I can't really draw all that well, I like to just let whatever happens happen when I start doodling. But this would be a great direction...

    This sort of thing is great for taking your mind out of the past and out of the future and focusing it on the task right at hand. Something about marking up a piece of paper...creating....seeing a direct result of your action right before your eyes....

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    1. Hello, Al_One, thank you for commenting! I like your description of "taking your mind out of the past and out of the future"--it's so hard to do, but I find that it gives my mind a much needed respite! I hope you will try some mandalas!

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  6. The ones you drew are just lovely! I never thought of drawing my own. I love your blog...just found it! :)

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    1. Wynick, Thank you! I hope you will visit again.

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