Mandala – making
“Mandala -making is a sacred art form. It is a sacred archetypal mirror that reflects our history and future in the unfolding of the immediate experience of life which is timeless and inexpressible. It is both an innate external and internal manifestation of the process of rigorous self-inquiry and self-observation with a silent mind. A silent mind cultivates a deep sense of compassion, respect and reverence towards self, all sentient beings and nature. It is in that sense that we create order, which is silence that manifests as beauty, balance, and bliss”.
In general terms, “mandala” refers to an arrangement of patterns around a center point, which operates as an ordering-principle, from the cyclical movement in the natural world to the most abstract or transpersonal insights of ‘being’ and ‘becoming.’
The Mandala as a Living Experience
The mandala is the primordial form of timeless reality, which we experience within us from the beginningless past and which reverberates within us if we have developed our inner sense of sensing through a still(innocent)mind. It is the transcendental form (image, symbol, archetype, metaphor, rhythm) of a natural law of all things – where this law becomes the expression of evolution in nature, cultures, and individuals.
I have done a doctoral dissertation on the mandala in the late eighty’s early nineties. Since then, my life as an artist, poet, and psychoanalyst has been a circumambulation around the many manifestations of this primordial form in nature and the human experience on earth.
A Western psychoanalyst (C G Jung) is drawing a small circular drawing in a notebook and discovers that the mandala is… the Self, the wholeness of the personality, a universal path to transformation.
A two-year-old child in Africa selects a crayon and joyfully scribbles on a piece of paper, repeatedly moving her hand in a circular fashion. She points to the closed circle and says: ‘That is me’.
In England, a physicist is performing an experiment that results in the understanding of the structure of the atom, as particles revolving around a center or nucleus, a pattern that is replicated on a grand scale throughout the universe in biological forms, meteorological forms, waveforms, animal forms and the human form – the structuring ordering principle of the mandala.
A pilgrim is circumambulating the Buddhist Temple, Borobudur as if climbing the sacred Mount Meru, the mythical center of the universe in Buddhism, to re-enact the path of Self-realization. This temple is a magnificent architectural expression of the mandala.
A Tibetan monk takes brush in hand to begin his morning meditation: painting a traditional circular mandala to create order in his confused mind.
A German tourist is walking around in the Blue Mosque in Turkey, a perfect mandala of light and color, a place of worship of the perfection of Allah, perceived as an embodiment of divine unity.
An archeologist is looking at the circle-mandalas in prehistoric rock art, which appears to be a ritual object of a shamanic journey.
A Native American healer in Arizona is creating a circle in the sand. It is a medicine wheel, which he uses as both a huge cosmic diagram and solar calendar, to help his patient to orientate herself.
A Benedictine nun draws her visions of the unity of God’s mind in the form of a translucent spherical mandala.
A Hopi Indian is building a circular structure in South Africa, a Medicine Wheel, to share the teachings of World Health and Peace and the idea of Unity in Diversity.