People generally have a different view of the definition of a mandala. This is the definition I work with.
A mandala is a sacred circle. It can be an image, a structure, a dance. The important aspect is the circle (of course) and the intention.
The circle, or sphere has been the symbol of wholeness, unity and balance since ancient times – it’s one of our oldest symbols – and the mandala has been used to create, attract, focus and contain sacred energy ever since.
Mandalas occur in all peoples and all cultures. In Hindu and Buddhist thought the mandala is the symbol of the universe. CG Jung believed it was the symbol of the self – the self striving towards wholeness.
Jung’s research was built upon his belief that if an individual was able to understand her own psychology of self, she would be able to create order within her inner world. With this order in place, she would be prevented from becoming lost in her own mind or overwhelmed by the tide of mass society – in other words, a highly functioning individual, living out her destiny.
The circle as a container and organisation vehicle is well known. Give a young child a crayon and she will soon progress from scribbling to drawing circles. The circle as an organizing principle is a natural occurrence in the child’s learning process.
It is this organizing principle of the circle that lends the experience of drawing mandalas a way to apply order to our personal psychology. The mandala allows us to find our own centre, to process old and new information and connect with our personal identity as we continue around the cycle of personal growth towards the centre, our true self. It’s also proven to provide additional therapeutic benefits, including stress relief and relaxation.
According to Jung, “a mandala is the psychological expression of the totality of the self.”
p.s. Only two more days to register for Mandala Magic 2014 before class begins.