Mandala Inspirations (1) – For Someone Gone But Not Forgotten
During a recent visit to my hometown, I discovered that most of my family have a new found passion for making mandalas. My family is always looking for new adventures for mind, body and spirit. Thus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the world of mandalas landed on their doorstep, or should I say, that they found themselves knocking on mandala’s door. This week, from March 19-24 we will explore the world of mandalas and other Mandala-inspired works of art.
Meaning of ‘Mandala’
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.
Many people and cultures have vouched for the mandala’s intrinsic meaning. Buddhists, Tibetans, and Hindus have all derived meaning from the mandala and its captivating beauty. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung has called it “a representation of the unconscious self.” The mandala is widely recognized as a meaningful reflection of its creator.
(Source: Art Therapy Blog)
CALIDOSCOPIO A mandala-inspired art collection
Looking at some of the mandala work that my family has made, somehow I felt a strong affinity to the composition and process. Then I realized that I already made my own version of mandalas unwittingly in the past. The mandala elements of ‘circle’,’wholeness’,’meaningful reflection’ make up the essence of my collection “CALIDOSCOPIO” (1999) which I described with a poem:
“Like a kaleidoscope, life is full of bits of coloured glass that reflect a spectacle of images.Appreciate the kaleidoscope that is your life,always see it in the light.” -Paulina Constancia
Today March 19, is my Dad – German Lee’s birthday- who passed away in 1998. I share with you “Life and Death” a work of art and poetry that I dedicated to him.
“Life and Death”
art and poetry by paulina constancia
Our time comes, when it comes
yet the happy-sad feeling
when I think of the time that was…
The waters explored,
the pedals exhausted,
ah- the fresh breezes we savored!
And yes, the notes to the birthday song
that adorn the annual rings of my life…
as if to water, to keep alive-
the blossoms of memories
that’s all I have left of you…
A father heaven has loaned,
sure you weren’t perfect, but who is?
But I know you loved me,
I just know.
Rest in peace, Daddy-
know you are in my heart always.
And I’d say,
Good night for now,
I’ll see you in the morning…
“Life and Death” is dedicated to my father, the late German G. Lee, Jr.(A husband, father, grandfather, friend, an erudite judge, an adventurer, a storyteller, an epitome of a good citizen and a true public servant to his death)
From the annual birthday serenade on your harmonica, to the bike rides, to the snorkeling adventures, to the moments when we just paused to relish the fresh breeze – Daddy, you sure taught me the meaning of ‘simple joys’, Thanks, Daddy!
Today’s Activity: Make a mandala for someone you love who has already passed away.
There is a saying that goes “It takes all kinds of people to make a world.” And this is very true. Each of us is unique in many ways, including the way we love, laugh, live and grieve.
If you haven’t had the chance to cherish this person or grieve his/her loss, take this beautiful opportunity to relive and reconnect with the person and the emotion. I cannot promise you the emotions that this activity will bring about. However, I can guarantee that in the process of making this mandala, you will appreciate this person and your life more.
Try to remember the most memorable chapters of your life that you shared with this person. Focus on the emotion, color or passion that his/her life represents to you. Summarize this in a word or two. In my Dad’s case- “simple joys” were the words that came to mind when I reflected on the times that we shared.
When that word presents itself to you then you are ready to work on your mandala.
Follow these steps
- Using a square paper or canvas, draw a circle that fills the entire space to the max. Draw yourself in the middle (I painted myself grieving)
- Represent the most memorable moments shared around the central figure (yourself)
- Sketch images first with a pencil then trace with black permanent marker or black paint (your choice of medium)
- Choose 4-6 colors. Apply these colors in different areas of the drawing/painting.
- Decorate unfilled areas with patterns and other natural elements that you feel may enhance the general feel of your image.
- And if you feel further inspired, you may also write a poem based on this mandala like I did with my example- Life and Death.
The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas
is a square with four gates
containing a circle with a center point.
Each gate is in the shape of a T.
|Photo from Wisdom Quarterly
According to Buddhist scripture, sand mandalas transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them. While constructing a mandala, Buddhist monks chant and meditate to invoke the divine energies of the deities residing within the mandala. The monks then ask for the deities’ healing blessings. A mandala’s healing power extends to the whole world even before it is swept up and dispersed into flowing water—a further expression of sharing the mandala’s blessings with all.
|The first mandala that Carl Jung drew (1916)
“I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate. In the products of the unconscious we discover mandala symbols, that is, circular and quaternity figures which express wholeness, and whenever we wish to express wholeness, we employ just such figures.”
Learn more about Mandalas and how they are used to promote peace
Learn more about Mandalas as a “cool art therapy intervention”
Mandala Art Activity for Healing and Self-Discovery
Check out AMAZON for Mandala books