Mandala Meditations

Photo of book cover: The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe, by Lori Bailey Cunningham.

Lori Bailey Cunningham, author of The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe, also produces The Mandala Project website.

Carl Jung noted that circular art is found in all cultures and religions of the world. Tibetan monks create exquisite mandala sand paintings as a form of meditation and then destroy them, in recognition of the temporality of life. Navahos incorporate mandala sand paintings into their healing rituals. Round stained glass windows in Christian churches colorfully illuminate the sanctuary, offering viewers a sense of peace, wonder, and beauty.

Jung considered the mandala to be a reflection of the self. Using the mandala as a meditative practice can help you focus inwardly and center yourself more fully in your writing. You can begin by finding mandala images that appeal to you. Check bookstores, libraries, and websites. You might start with The Mandala Project website. You’ll find many mandalas to choose from.

Photo of sunflower by Barbara Ann Yoder.

Look for mandalas in nature.

Try one of the following practices, and when you find a practice you like, do it again and again over a period of days or weeks—as long as it works for you.

Meditate on a Mandala

Choose a mandala to work with. Observe it closely and quietly for several minutes. If your attention wanders, gently bring your awareness back to the image. Let your eyes absorb the color and movement of the image. When you are ready, take a few minutes to write about your experience.

Gaze into a Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes create beautiful mandalas. You can use a kaleidoscope to give you a naturally centering break in the midst of a long writing session. Spend a few minutes gazing into your kaleidoscope. Move it in a circle. Let yourself spin slowly in a circle. Watch the images dance wildly in a circle. When you are ready, return to writing.

Create a Mandala

You can create a picture of your inner life by making a mandala using markers, paints, pastels, or any other medium you like. The process is simple. Make a circle on a page. Fill the circle with colors you choose intuitively and shapes you allow your hands to make spontaneously. Don’t worry about your artistic ability. This is a symbolic picture. The notion is to let yourself go. Draw the images that come to you and use the colors that you are drawn to.

When you complete the image, spend a little time reflecting on it. Give your mandala a title and write about what you see in it. Write about how your mandala reflects you, your current life, and your writing life.

Read more posts about meditation, mindfulness, and writing.