Madala art provides deeply rewarding and therapeutic benefits. Mandala is the Sanskrit word for 'circle', the primary geometric shape. But a mandala is far more than just a simple geometric shape. In Eastern religions, a mandala is a symbol that represents a kind of 'spiritual map'. In the West, a mandala typically symbolizes 'the cosmos'. It is actually a common and prevalent shape throughout the physical and biological world.
From atoms, to flowers, to planets and stars, wherever a 'center' is found, radiating outward, you find the mandala. The “circle with a center” pattern is the basic structure of creation that is reflected from the micro to the macro in the world as we know it. It is a pattern found in nature and is seen in biology, geology, chemistry, physics and astronomy.
Curiously, the mandala symbol is found in cultures all over the world. In Mayan and Aztec cultures, mandalas functioned as timekeeping devices and spiritual calendars. While American Native cultures created medicine wheels to represent the alignment of the physical and spiritual worlds, meant to instruct the individual on 'the right way to live'. Carl Jung referred to the mandala as 'the representation of the unconscious self'. In Chinese culture, the 'yin-yang' symbol represents the concept of dualism and simplicity, and expresses how opposites are complementary sides of one thing.
The Tibet sand mandalas, on the other hand, are highly decorated and intricate illustrations. Not only are they carefully and painstakingly created, but they are generally meant to be destroyed upon completion. That's because it is the activity of 'doing', as opposed to the result of 'having', that is considered to be what is important. And this practice illustrates perfectly how the creation of mandala 'art' can be deeply rewarding and therapeutic.
Mandala Art Therapy
In meditation, the mandala symbol is often used as a tool to help people to focus. Clinical studies have actually shown that the activity of drawing mandalas helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. In art therapy, when drawing a mandala, the artist is encouraged to use shapes and colors to reflect their inner self. Although the benefits arise from the actual activity, upon completion, they will have something that is personally meaningful.
Check out the Mandala Project, to find out more about creating Mandala art.