“A useful image to help us conceptualize the thread of personal unfoldment is the mandala. By mandala I mean a field with a midpoint, such as a sphere with a center. The field is the totality of your experience—your thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions, actions; it is the totality of your life at each moment. The center is where Being's dynamism touches your mandala. This is where the transformation experience begins, which then ripples through the whole field.”
I have been making mandalas for more than twenty years, and I've worked with counseling clients to make them, too. Mandalas can be simple or complex, and the only rule in making one is to begin in the center and build it outward. The mandala is perhaps the oldest symbol, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians; to the ouroboros, or the serpent biting its tail. And, even earlier, the most ancient symbol for the divine is a circle within a circle.
I'm not sure what happens when we create a personal mandala, but something on a very deep level shifts. Pema Chodron expressed it this way: “Each person's life is like a mandala—a great, limitless circle. We stand at the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear, and think forms the mandala of our life.” In every religion, and in nature itself, we find the circular form to be a central focus for connecting with our own center.
One of the most fundamental mandalas is the spiral. We see it in nature, and in architecture, and in art of all types. It is the symbol of growth, of movement. Most often when someone is asked to choose a favorite symbol from a group, they choose the spiral. It is based on the golden ratio; the same one that allows us to curl our fingers into a fist, and fold our bodies into a somersault. We relate to it on an instinctual level. You will find the spiral at the center of many mandalas.
I hope you will take the time to make your own personal mandala. If you make them over time, you will see movement and change. You don't have to understand it with your cerebral hemispheres; you can just trust your instincts to lead you to the center. Here's a thought from Saraha, (“the one who has shot the arrow”): “The flower's perfume has no form, but it pervades space. Likewise, through a spiral of mandalas formless reality is known.”
In the Spirit,