Meaning “circle” in Sanskrit, mandalas originated with Hindu and Buddhist spiritual symbolism as a representation of the Universe. They became ritual tools of spirituality with deep cultural meaning. Over time, the usefulness and beauty of mandalas have been created and explored by many, whether artists, yogis, psychologists, students of metaphysics, or those of other faiths.
The possibilities of the mandala are limitless. From their original, religiously symbolic designs to the contemporary versions, you will find every level of detail, and a spectrum of colors and shapes. While some are breathtakingly intricate, others are quite modern and simplistic. A person could spend a lifetime creating these geometric patterns and never repeat a design exactly.
In the way that the circular and repetitive nature of a mandala draws a person into it, sometimes pinpointing focus or other times spiraling it around and around until you reach the center, the mandala becomes an enormously helpful meditation tool. They can help us define our creative or sacred space and center our attention. Each mandala presenting the potential for it’s own very unique meditative experiences.
For many years now I have been teaching my advanced Light Source students how to create and utilize mandalas as a tool to manifest positive life aspects. The
simple exercise I’ve included here is an ideal meditation for anyone interested in trying it. No matter what level your spiritual awareness is at, you can have wonderful meditation experiences. It’s even a fun one to practice with your children, as it is basic enough for all ages.
Provided above are three different mandalas that I have personally created to share with you. If you click the thumbnails you will find a larger version that you can print out to use for your meditation. Why are they simple line drawings? Well this is part of your meditation. Not only are finished mandalas a perfect tool for meditation, but the creative experience of coloring in your own mandalas (or making one entirely on your own from the start) is a calming, peaceful meditation in itself. All you need is a pack of colored pencils, pens, markers, or paints.
Print out one of the three mandalas — the one that you are most intrigued by or drawn to at the moment. (Depending on your printers options, you can either print as you would normally, so the black lines will be clearly defined, or print in the “draft” version, so that once you color in your design you will see what you colors you apply, without such a defined outline.)
- Choose the kind of medium you’d like to use to color in your mandala. (Make sure you explain that “Mommy would just like to borrow your crayons for a little
while, then she will give them back.”)
- Put on some meditation music or nature sounds as background inspiration. If stuck for ideas, or just want to try something new or really different, how about some world music like: Rough Guide to Music Without Frontiers (Various Artists), 2014; or Classical Indian Flute and Violin (Mysore V. Srikanth & V.K. Raman), 2007; or , The Kitaro Quintessential (KITARO), 2013. Listen to these samples:
- Sit somewhere comfortable, with your paper and pencils, so you can fall into a deeper meditation while you are coloring if you wish. (If you opt for using paints of some sort it would probably be a good idea to separate your coloring and meditation into different sessions…otherwise, you might end up being the finished artwork, were you to fall asleep with your face on the paper.) If you don’t have time to finish coloring AND doing the meditation in one sitting, don’t worry. The initial part is really just meant for the purpose of peacefulness anyway. It will still work if you take even three or four sittings to color and then do the actual meditation later. Color your mandala, using colors you are drawn to, working from outside to inside. Feel free to add little details to make your mandala more personalized.
- Your Meditation: Once your mandala is colored in, your meditation can follow. Sit in a relaxed position, holding your mandala in front of you, being conscious of your breathing, allowing it to slow rhythmically. Gradually move your attention from your breathing to your mandala. Let your eyes follow the design and colors naturally, your vision softening in focus. Continue to follow the design until you feel you must close your eyes. Notice that when you do this, your mandala has become more vivid to you in a clairvoyant sense. You see it fully, even with your eyes completely closed. Allow this vision to lead you to the meditation experience that follows. A multitude of possibilities exist…. You may find yourself walking through the center of your mandala to go explore a place. You may find that the mandala unfolds or segments to reveal something new to you, or that it brings you to messages from the Universe. Just go with it, keeping a perspective of sensory attentiveness in an observational way, listening, seeing, feeling. When you are ready to finish your meditation, say Thank-You for what the Universe has shown you. Slowly return your focus to visualizing your mandala, and then to your actual paper mandala, before you open your eyes.
- Remember to journal your experience and keep your mandala either safely tucked in your journal, or displayed for your personal reminder as it may help you to manifest the positive things you explored or learned during your meditation.
When finished, please don’t forget:
7. Share your meditation experience by submitting it. It may be selected for a story in Blue Door or a future publication. Be sure to include the name of which mandala you selected and why. To submit, go to: Share My Meditation Story