February 3, 2009

Drawing a Mandala: peace for the chaotic mind.

How are you feeling today? Is your mind thinking at 1,000 miles per hour? Are you overwhelmed with the speed of life around you and the stress created by thinking about your bank account, your work, your politics, your disfunctional relationships, your illness and all the other “yours” of the modern life? Are you begging for some peace of mind and calmness to all your craziness but can’t find the determination or peace to sit still in meditation?

Draw a Mandala!

A Mandala is a geometric design that starts with a dot. Mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit. Triangles, squares and circles. Triangles for geometrical wisdom, squares for the 4 Direction and circles for deity perfection. We can see its pattern in all life around us: flowers, water, the sky, the universe. The design of a circle with a center (the atom is a mandala) and the  creation  around it brings us to a realization of perfection in all natural creation. A Mandala is an expression of the organizational structure of life and our reflection in its micro and macro cosmos.

In the Rig Veda literature, a mandala is the term for a collection of mantras or verse hymns chanted in Vedic ceremonies. The universe was believed to originate from these hymns, whose sacred sounds contained the genetic patterns of beings and things, so there is already a clear sense of mandala as world-model.

The origin of the mandala is the center, a dot. The center gathers the outside energies, and the artist’s own energies unfold and are also drawn.  Its purpose in the Buddhist tradition is to remove the object-subject dichotomy. In the process, the mandala is consecrated to a deity.

The mandala has been utilized in different traditions within different rituals of religious and cultural expression; Before a monk is permitted to work on constructing a mandala he must undergo a long period of technical artistic training and memorization, learning how to draw all the various symbols and studying related philosophical concepts; a Christian nun in the 12th century, created many beautiful mandalas to express her visions and beliefs; In the Americas, Indians have created medicine wheels and sand mandalas; The circular Aztec calendar was both a timekeeping device and a religious expression of ancient Aztecs and the Mayan calendar is the most exact calendar in human history; In Asia, the Taoist “yin-yang” symbol represents opposition as well as interdependence.; Tibetan mandalas are often highly intricate illustrations of religious significance that are used for meditation. Both Navajo Indians and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life.

With that said, the study of Mandala tradition is recommended to fully incorporate its techniques and  experience its peaceful effect on the mind while it integrates with body and spirit, for its creation brings you to present awareness and present awareness clears the mind from nonstop and repetitive thinking and gives your body a rest from the stress we create by worrying about past and future.

Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the lessons of drawing a Mandala (as with everything else) come from practice and here are some simple details to remember while you draw yours.


* Choose your colors
* Choose your design dedicating your mandala drawing to a feeling
* Meditate on it, look at your canvas, or at your note book, or at your wall, basically create your sacred space in meditation, music, sounds, vibrations, the intention in your heart
* Visualize what you are wanting to create to the level you are paying attention at your sensations in the body through the observation of the breath as you do it.
* At some point, you’ll feel that you are ready tu start and you will probably be
* Use your pencil and draw a dot in the center and a circle around it. This space is the center of you mandala, where the deity’energy belongs ~ or the feeling you are dedicating your mandala to.
* Start drawing lines until they meet and form triangles
* Draw a square when it feels appropiate
* Contemplate
* When you are ready to use the colors start from the outside-in. Contemplate the center of your mandala facing it from outside of your geometrical design.
* Always paint facing the center, every side of your square represents one of the Directions, visualize yourself facing that direction as you paint facing the center from  each side of the square
* Take your time to relax, enjoy and learn about yourself while you have fun with the colors.
* Very important: when you feel this sudden sensation of beauty, stop. Knowing when to stop is as important and knowing when to start. If it still needs work, come back to it the next day.

The five excellencies of the Mandala according to Tibetan monks are : The teacher • The message • The audience • The site • The time

The Mandala is a life time study, why not live it painting?

. – .^[] . .

in color,


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