Mandalas: Drawings to refocus
What is a mandala?
Laurence Luyé-Tanet: “Mandala” means the center and the circle. They are diagrams in various shapes (round, square, octagons, etc.) organized around a circle.
According to Indian and Tibetan traditions, these diagrams are a symbolic representation of the relationship between human beings and the cosmos, the entire universe. They are also present in Christian traditions and appear as rosettes in church with the purpose of capturing the light to uplift.
In reality, we can find the form of the mandala everywhere around us: our brain and the solar system are mandalas. A cell? A flower? Also mandalas!
How are mandalas useful?
L.L.T: Mandalas are used in spiritual traditions as a tool for meditation, but we can also make use of them to attain a level of wellbeing, especially when it’s psychological.
Carl Gustav Jung was first to notice that people who went through difficult phases spontaneously drew figures that resembled rosettes. After long research, He reached the conclusion that in terms of psychology, mandalas represent a person’s entire being and that a drawing structured around a circle allows one to reach a level of equilibrium and harmony.
And so, if we are going through a phase of chaos, whether physical or psychological, drawing or coloring a mandala allows us to reconnect with our deep structure with all the potential our “self” can muster.
How to work with mandalas, exactly.
L.L.T: We can use already completed mandalas to meditate and in this case, it is better to use traditional mandalas.
If one is looking to refocus and relax, it is ideal to work with already drawn mandalas and color then. If the person colors towards the center, the person is then working on refocusing, if however they color towards the edges, the person is then working on opening up. At the beginning, it is important to choose the mandala that suits us best, either because we like the design, feel like coloring it or because it fits the theme that they are working on. After that, it is necessary to choose the colors that the person likes. It is a personal choice and the same mandala may result in very different visual representations.
Does a person need to have preliminary knowledge? In drawing for instance?
L.L.T: There is no need for a person to have any knowledge in drawing! With mandalas, aesthetics are not the point, nor is reproducing drawings. The essential is to take time for oneself and relax in addition to letting go of what the person is feeling.