A mandala is a geometric design, often circular, that symbolises the universe. The Sanskrit term is loosely translated as “circle” or “essence” in English. The mandala is used as a sacred symbol in Hindu and Buddhist rituals and is also a visual tool that helps focus attention during meditation.
The mandala is recognisable by the intricate concentric circles and other geometric designs, which are constructed starting from the exact point in the center, this represents the beginning or in a religious context, a specific divine being. Focusing on the designs during yoga practice or times of relaxation has a calming affect on the mind, shutting out the outside world and allowing the person to concentrate during meditation by contemplating the significance of the various shapes and colours.
Interestingly, each geometric figure within the mandala has symbolic significance:
Square = stability and balance
Star = spirituality and freedom
Circle = wholeness, integrity and unity
Triangle pointed upward = aspirations towards the universal
Triangle pointed downward = aspirations toward the earthly
Likewise, the colours, too, have meaning:
Green = nature, growth and hope
White = purity and unity
Blue = protection and tranquillity
Pink for love, intuition and the feminine
Red = fire, passion
Yellow = power, light and joy
Purple for all things spiritual Black for mystery, deep thinking and individuality
How to use a mandala
There are many uses for a mandala. The design of the mandala is supposed to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that irritating thoughts are unable to get through and a spiritual essence surrounds the individual observing the mandala, which in turn allows the individual a higher consciousness or awareness, almost as though being hypnotized. This allows the busy mind to take a break while the creative mind is allowed to run free.
Having said that, the mandala is primarily used as a form of meditation to gain knowledge from within.
Select a mandala that appeals to you. You should know the meaning of the mandala you have chosen or set your own meaning before using it for meditation.
Once the intention has been set, you can begin focussing on the mandala. Allow yourself to take in the lovely designs, allow your mind to wander. If your mind starts to think about the usual mundane things, simply bring your focus and attention back to the beauty of the mandala. Let the mandala absorb all your attention by falling into it and gazing into the colours, swim in its patterns. As you begin to fall into the mandala, you will experience a feeling of lightness and intuitive thoughts may arise. Relax, let thoughts and feelings come to you. Float with it. If you begin to feel panic, feel lost, uncomfortable or if you start thinking about those "mundane" things again, just relax and refocus your attention back to the mandala.
Everyone experiences different feelings. But if you have a relaxed demeanour whilst focussed on the mandala you have obviously achieved what was intended. You should come away with clarity of the intention you or the particular mandala set before the meditation.
How to draw your own mandala.
1. Choose a selection of coloured paints or pencils, perhaps play some music to help you relax.
2. Set your intention, such as working towards a specific goal and think about that intention for as long as is comfortable, consider how good you will feel when it happens.
3. Once you're settled in mind and body, focus on the colours you feel are relevant for your purpose and compelled to use, get them ready.
4. Focus on your intention as you begin to draw. It might help to repeat the words that express your intention as you do so. Start in the center of your page. You can pre draw grid lines to help you or simply free flow your design.
5. Let the drawing flow as it connects you to the creative source, as though it has a life of its own. You may feel inspired to use certain shapes, words or symbols as the basis for your manifestation mandala, or just let it evolve.
6. Continue to draw, focusing only on your intention and how you'll feel as you ultimately achieve your goal. Stop drawing if you become distracted by other thoughts or you notice the energy falling away. Give yourself a moment and take a few deep, relaxing breaths. When the energy connection returns, continue drawing.
7. Mandalas should be allowed to emerge effortlessly, with enjoyment and creativity. Leave any judgement to one side and let your mandala develop, however long it takes.
8. Look at the mandala and feel its energy. It will be alive with the intention you made at the start. When you contemplate the drawing, you may notice elements you didn't see while creating it. This confirms you were in right-brain, intuitive activity - always a good sign. The meaning of these elements will come to you in time through contemplation, and often in surprising ways.
9. Once you've created your mandala, put it somewhere you'll see it every day - on the wall, or as a screen saver on your phone, computer or laptop - so that it can work its powerful magic on your life.