Artistic Meditation: Drawing Mandalas

Do you remember being a kid and doodling beautiful circles and shapes in your notebook instead of paying attention in school? Your pictures didn’t have to be perfect (heck, they didn’t have to be pictures!) but there was something healing about drawing those circles and lines, creating beautiful shapes. Those shapes may even have been mandalas and you would be right, they certainly are therapeutic.

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“Mandala” loosely translates to “circle” in Sanskrit. Mandalas can be found in Buddhism and Hinduism where they represent a spiritual and ritualistic symbol of the universe or the cosmos. Mandalas are often drawn acting as a tool in the artist’s spiritual journey or to unite the subconscious with the conscious. It should not be surprising then that drawing mandalas is a form of active artistic meditation. Because of the repetitive nature of drawing a mandala, the process can be quite hypnotic. You can choose to set an intention or mantra before drawing, or just let the mandala take you where you need to go. Though each artist’s mandala will differ in meaning and design, they all share the same general shape, the circle. Because mandalas are circular in structure, they signify balance, unity, harmony and wholeness.

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We already learned that mandalas are used as a tool in our spiritual journey but they are also used for a myriad of different reasons. Mandalas establish a sacred space, when you are focused on drawing your mandala you will feel safe and at peace, this what we consider a “sacred space” somewhere you can come back to again and again when you need to be grounded. Drawing mandalas relieves feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety, fear, sadness and anger; as you are drawing, you will feel any negative energies drift away and will be left with feelings of clarity and peace. As with any type of meditation, drawing mandalas will heal the mind, body and the spirit. You may find new or repressed feelings arise while drawing, this is natural and invited as drawing mandalas gives you the leeway to express any feelings in a safe and positive way.

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How to draw a mandala? Well, there is no right way. Mandalas help encourage creativity! You do not need to be artistic to enjoy drawing mandalas (I certainly am not), just start with a circle and work outwards, drawing any shapes and using any colours that come to mind! If you like a little more guidance use quadrants; divide your paper (or canvas if you choose to paint) into as many or as few sections as you want, draw a circle around the base and work outwards (you can see an example of this in the colourful mandala at the top of the page, or below). Forget the idea of “perfect”, drawing mandalas are all about your needs while you are drawing them. What are you thinking about? What serves you now? Maybe you do not know, take your conscious thought out of it and see how the subconscious drives you!

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Do you draw mandalas? Enjoy the active meditation and feel free to share yours with me, I would love to see them! Or, if you need a little more inspiration, check out my Pinterest page, where I have tons of recipes, yoga routines and yes, a board dedicated to mandalas!

“A mandala is a sacred space, often a circle which reveals some inner truth about you and the world around you.”

Namaste.

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