Gorgeous captivating mandalas have piqued my interest and imagination in books, on the web, and across diverse art forms. Upon first sight of the mandala images, innerly I heard the word, “intention.” Originally, I was unaware of their purpose, but felt pulled to explore and research further. What emerged from my discoveries was that mandalas are actually significantly relevant to intention and personal spiritual development work. This surprising inspiration led me to creating an intention theme using mandalas for my monthly intention groups.
As the intention yearly cycle wrapped up across my groups this past September, it felt appropriate and natural to incorporate mandalas as we came full circle, and into a new season for the women’s circles. The beautifully stunning mandala images below were found conducting a simple Google image search for “mandalas.” One could spend hours searching the spectacular color saturated art and infinite combinations of designs.
The mandala below on the right reminds me of the Spirograph game I had as a child where you can create symmetrical circular images and designs. This creative “retro” classic game is having a revival and is currently available!
The meaning of “mandala” comes from Sanskrit meaning circle, cosmogram, or “world in harmony.” “Even though it may be dominated by squares or triangles, a mandala has a concentric structure. Mandalas offer balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony.” (Credit to: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/meaning-of-mandala.html)
The Dalai Lama calls mandalas, “Architecture for Enlightenment… and bridges into the metaphysical realm.” Carl Jung called the mandala his favorite psychological healing tool. Joseph Campbell suggests that mandalas are “tools for personal meditation, healing and self-realization” and that they “will coordinate your circle within the universal circle.”
What is a Mandala?
“Mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल Maṇḍala, ‘circle’) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T.Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.
In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
Mandala images present themselves across every time, culture, religions, and various spiritual paths “throughout history as a way to transmit energy and information.” Mandalas parallel our intention work on many levels and expand across diverse religions, spiritual paths, illustration, fine art, mosaic sculptures, sand art, tattoos and more. “They speak through sacred geometry, bio-geometry, and frequency directly to our infinite soul in a totally universal language.”
How are Mandalas commonly used?
- To focus in meditation
- To feel relaxed
- To direct energy to your intentions and areas of your life
- To quiet the mind, and allow insights, clarity and answers to arise
- To gain information while drawing your energy to the Mandala’s beautiful design.
“The design of the mandala is to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that chattering thoughts cease, and a more philosophic or spiritual essence envelopes the observer which in turn leads to higher consciousness or awareness. In short, a mandala can be seen as a hypnotic, letting the creative hemisphere of our mind run a little more free while our analytical mind takes a little nap.” (Credit to: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/meaning-of-mandala.html)
Mandalas and Intentions
Parallel to the energy and purpose of Mandalas, you can also connect this creative and insightful process to going deeper with your intentions. Setting an intention for the meditation session and using the mandala as a way to gain clarity, quiet your monkey mind and settle your busyness is another layer and use. On one level, Mandalas can be used for relaxation and to meditate on. Mandalas can also be used to create more self awareness, and lead to higher consciousness in a hypnotic state where we depart from our analytical minds and allow insight and information to pour through and reveal itself. They may also offer clarity, creativity, insight and guidance from your soul. Some set an intention before contemplating on the Mandala, on a particular feeling or issue and direct that intention to connect to Soul or Higher Self.
Or for a creative expression, and another meditative exercise, you can devise your own mandala from a quiet, contemplative place. See what patterns or symbols emerge. Be open and allow your unique image to blossom. Mandalas are phenomenal art forms. They may be broad with large patterns, with little detail or complicated, and intricate with harmonious intertwining patterns, symmetrical designs that beautifully fold into one another. Or perhaps there are animal, nature, or symbolic images embedded.
You can divide one mandala into sections and dedicate a section for each intention and focus on it as a whole. Or while focusing your energy on the mandala, shift your energy to each area for each intention or whatever feels right for you and your intention. You can also assign each intention to its own mandala for your alter, sacred space or journal and write your intention, along with desired feelings and pictures on the mandala.
We will each discover the relevance, and meaning Mandalas provide us on our unique intention journeys and integrate them within our own process. For as many infinite patterns of mandalas, there will be infinite ways to also interpret and incorporate your own individual approach, application and preference.
Here is an example mandala related to the chakras: