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/.