Mandala: (Sanskrit: मण्डल) a circular symbol used for meditation and as a link to universal oneness. The symbol radiates from a center and consists of repeating geometric patterns, shapes and colors.
They're everywhere—in sunflower seed heads, in Native American dream catchers, in Celtic knots, in the Chinese Yin and Yang symbol, in Hindu Yantras, in the shape of our solar system. Mandalas are universally present and can be powerful tools for meditation.
In nature, they're linked to sacred geometry. The golden ratio of 1.618 is what forms the pattern of mandalas such as sunflower seed heads, snowflakes, nautilus shells, and even spiral galaxies.
In the ancient Hindu context, Yantras, or mystical mandalas, were used for focused meditations. Each symbol was attributed to a certain deity or intended for a specific effect such as protection, well-being, good fortune, etc.
Today, mandalas can be made for the purpose of meditation and connecting with one's higher self. During the process of constructing a mandala and then meditating on it, the effect is to bring a person in harmony with the sacred geometry that is found everywhere in nature.
How to make a mandala with nature:
Step 1: Collect materials from nature. (This is a great thing to do on a vacation! Find shells at the beach, forest materials during a hike, or beautiful stones and twigs in the mountains.)
Step 2: Divide your materials into groups based on size and color.
Step 3: Select one distinctive item for your mandala center. Then pick two smaller groups of materials and make a circle around your center, making sure to arrange them evenly, alternating between the two groups.
Step 4: Continue to work out from the center, alternating between the next two groups of materials.
Step 5: Fill in gaps with other groups to form your circular mandala shape.
Step 6: Come to a stopping point when a full circle is made.
Meditating on your mandala:
Step 1: Sit comfortably in front of your mandala.
Step 2: Breathe slowly and deeply, gazing upon your mandala so that the image gradually goes out of focus.
Step 3: For about 5 minutes, meditate on the center of your mandala shape, allowing its geometry to bring your mind to a state of balance. This is the space where the ego-self becomes less active.
Step 4: 5 minutes is a good minimum time to sit with your mandala, but longer is encouraged. When you feel ready, shift your attention elsewhere and enjoy the deep inner equilibrium that remains.
Cover image: Dean Nahum, and Meraki Dreams