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What are Mandalas?

solfeggio mandala

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means 'circle'. In the Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions, their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the shape of a T.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts, as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. Its symbolic nature is said to help one to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw the mandala as 'a representation of the unconscious self,' and believed his paintings of mandalas enabled him to identify emotional disorders and work towards wholeness in personality.

Yantras The term yantra normally refers to Hindu contexts and practices, while mandala normally refers to Buddhist contexts and practices. Yet, the terms are also used interchangeably, and mandala is sometimes used as a cross-over term in Hindu contexts.

A yantra is a two or three-dimensional geometric composition used in meditative rituals. It is thought to be the abode of the deity. Each yantra is unique and calls the deity into the presence of the practitioner through the elaborate symbolic geometric designs. Yantras function as revelatory symbols of cosmic truths and as instructional charts of the spiritual aspect of human experience.

Many situate yantras as central focus points for Hindu tantric practice.Yantras are not representations, but are lived, experiential, non-dual realities. As Khanna describes:

​Despite its cosmic meanings a yantra is a reality lived. Because of the relationship that exists in the Tantras between the outer world (the macrocosm) and man's [sic] inner world (the microcosm), every symbol in a yantra is ambivalently resonant in inner-outer synthesis, and is associated with the subtle body and aspects of human consciousness.

Mandala has been loosely interpreted to mean “wheel” or “circle.” I believe this is an abbreviated definition of an ancient healing tool, with the true meaning being much closer to “flow of life energy”. Mandalas are a pure container, a tool of discovery. And are intended to be used to find our way back to our creative consciousness and connect to the divine. As a symbol of self-expression it is a visual symbol of how we are each a part of the whole. Mandalas are a way to focus the mind and remove energy blocks through the pathways of the meridians. Meridians are invisible pathways or channels within the body. Our vital energy, or chi flows along these meridians, and anything that disrupts the smooth flow of chi is said to cause illness. This philosophy has been used for centuries in China, Japan, Tibet, India in Acupuncture and Acupressure. Mandalas are capable of helping one to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the unconscious and helping one to see the world with new eyes. Helping the mind to become more focused and balanced, training it to be still. Symbols and color are a language; each having their own frequency and speak of emotions and feelings, as well as relay a physical force. Each can be used to influence our well-being; each stimulating the mind or relaxing it. A mandala communicates how each individual is an integral part of the entire universe. It draws ones attention inward and enables us to understand its meaning and absorb it into our consciousness. It is through the conception, creation, and meditation with mandalas that one can and will receive messages from the universe. Each of these messages is unique to each soul with divine timing and purpose intended uniquely for you and where you are in your personal developmental path. Benefits: • enhance creativity • balancing the left right hemispheres of the brain • reducing stress • meditative • generates wellness • stimulates brain areas related to motor skills • relieve stress and anxiety • improve motor skills • rebuild physical patterning skills • enhances memory and learning in children with learning disabilities • create feelings of calmness • chakra and aura balancing • no rules when you color • kids and adults alike enjoy coloring • creating a unique piece of art • share the experience of coloring with friends and family • activates the intuitive genius within you

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