Meaning Of Mandala
The Sanskrit word “mandala” is a term used in spiritual realms to mean “circle“. Although we typically recognize their origin in Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas have actually been used across many ancient cultures around the world. In Buddhism and Hinduism, this design comprised of a square, four gates, and a circle with a central point is meant to symbolize the universe.
Most cultures would agree, to some extent, to this general idea. No matter where you look, mandalas are symbolic of a sense of wholeness within the cosmic design. They serve to remind us of our strong connection to nature and the infinite eternity of life.
Mandalas can also be symbols of naturally occurring events and relationships, such as community, family, and circles of friends. Additionally, they represent all aspects of life and the cosmos, like the Earth, moon, and sun. In general, these symbols are used for differing forms of meditation and introspection that allow an individual or group to realize his/her/their bond with the universe.
Along with participating in a personalized meditation session with a pre-existing mandala, you can also choose to create, draw, or paint your own. This process in and of itself can also certainly be considered therapeutic and meditative, as long as you are in the correct receptive state of mind.
Understanding The Mandala Symbol
It is not enough to merely read about and understand the meaning of “mandala”. This is only the first step in the spiritual process. There are many ways to use such symbols and artistic works, so we must understand how to approach each of them in order to get the best experience out of our meditation time. Although unique and open to creative interpretation, the design of each mandala needs to be, first and foremost, visually appealing. It needs to draw your attention and create an environment in which you mind can focus. This means that all outside, distracting noise and movements should cease (temporarily) to exist.
You need to be overcome by your own spiritual presence and create a mental space for your psyche to flourish. After all, achieving a higher degree of consciousness and selfless awareness is the goal here. In essence, the first step in engaging with the mandala is to allow its hypnotic properties to overcome you, enabling the creative parts of your mind to be free while the logical and analytical part rests. You want to feel purely here and not be polluted with external reasoning. In this form of meditation, you are seeking knowledge that already resides deep within you. Thus, you are merely channeling what you already possess.
As with any meditation, you must first set an intention before your session. Choose a mandala with an image that appeals to you in that moment, as it is likely your inner self speaking to you. However, it is also a good idea to know the specific meanings and symbolism associated with the mandala that you choose, otherwise you may not receive what you are hoping for from the experience.
For example, if you will be introspecting on themes of conflicting paths and finding the right one for you, perhaps it would be best to choose a mandala that pertains to the labyrinth. If you do not know the “accepted” symbolism behind your chosen mandala, simply define your own (well-thought-out) meaning so that you and the image are on the same spiritual plane.
Once you have clearly defined your intention for the process, you are able to to begin focusing on the mandala itself, still continuing to relax your mind and block out any unnecessary clutter. Allow your mind to wander while it takes in every intricacy of the mandala’s design. If ever you get distracted, do not fret: simply refocus your attention on what is in front of you.
After several minutes of deep focus and attention, you should feel yourself beginning to go off into a somewhat controlled daze, allowing all intuitive thoughts to permeate the boundaries of your awareness. Permit the thoughts to develop and grow organically and follow them wherever they may lead you- there is surely a message to hear or a lesson to be learned wherever the thought guides you.
There are no distinct rights and wrongs to meditating with a mandala. You may finish when you feel that you have gained from the experience, as long as you feel relaxed. Typically, people come away from the experience with a newfound clarity regarding something in their lives. Perhaps the mandala has allowed you to see an unforeseen solution to a problem you have been having, or maybe it has just reiterated something that you have felt deep down all along. Trust what your own mind speaks to you – it is your greatest ally.