Today I begin the Mandala-a-Day Project.
Each day for the next 366 days (a year & a day) I will color, create, or create and color a mandala as a way to learn about and heal what diminishes and blocks my connection with Spirit-the very essence of life.
I hope you will join me on this journey of discovery and find healing in the wonder of exploring, connecting with, and sharing the sacred universe (seen & unseen) physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. We will explore the landscape inside and out.
“The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.” Mandalas have been used as tolls for understanding cultural and personal cosmology of throughout the world and across time.
In Buddhist traditions mandalas are tools for gaining wisdom and compassion (for self and other). Creating the mandala structure and filling in that structure are methods used to focus the mind and body and are used for the purpose of healing self and other. I first became acquainted with the mandala through an introduction to the traditional meditation images via my Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhist practice. I became fascinated by the mandalas. Gazing at them touched a mysterious place deep inside of me. I especially loved the sand mandalas that were painted by monastics over the course of days and then ceremoniously destroyed and dispersed in water so as to send all of the blessings created by their construction out into the world.
In Native American traditions the “sacred hoop,” represented by a medicine wheel is a mandala. The medicine wheel teaches that “all things and beings on the earth are related and, therefore, must be in harmony for the earth to be balanced”. I was first introduced to the medicine wheel and it’s rich spirit and life lesson history via the work of Sun Bear, sacred teacher of Chippewa descent, in his book Dancing with the Wheel. Working with the medicine wheel is a daily practice that approaches life from all directions and perspectives to understand where relationships with the sacredness of life are broken and to mend those relationships. Says Grandmother Margaret Behan, one of the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers , “The principles in the medicine wheel are the pathway to balance and harmony within and without. The medicine wheel means relationship. It is a gate, the doorway to the spirituality of our life.” (1)
How do I understand the mandala? I understand the mandala as a representation of the universe, the seen and unseen (physical and spiritual) united and the healing and blessings that can take place during this uniting of flesh and spirit. This is how I begin to explore this ancient means of healing, working with the mandala as a daily practice to learn where my relationship to Spirit, to life, to life purpose, is broken and to mend that broken relationship.
What will I learn and discover during the project? That of course remains to be ‘seen’ and discovered as I engage each day with the known and unknown via this ancient sacred method of exploring Spirit and sacred space. We will learn more together as the days emerge…
Today’s mandala design is from Mystical Mandala Coloring Book by Alberta Hutchinson, one of my favorite books to begin with.
May the ancient wisdom of the Grandmothers guide us on this healing journey…