by Wanda Gail Campbell, Minister of Peace, PhD
Peace prayer mandala at 2009 World Parliament of Religions
A mandala begins with a circle. The circle is a primal symbol of all that exists. Simply drawing a circle creates the intention of wholeness and opens us to experience an inner wordless journey into our deepest mysteries. Mandalas offer communication far exceeding words. They elicit many meaningful symbols, which are considered to be God’s forgotten language-for the heart’s message cannot be delivered in words. If we simply allow the process, it may strip away obstructions that have prevented us from seeing our true nature-that which was encoded in us before our physical birth into a cycle of time.
As adults, we can recreate the birth experience and perhaps gain a radical new version of ourselves. We can allow the cracking of our personality shell and find the treasures buried beneath the surface. As we explore the treasures, the sage in each of us begins to emerge. If we embrace our sage with love and respect, we can indeed marvel at what wondrous creatures we humans are.
The enlightened soul is open to the marvel and wonder of nature and, indeed, all things. Everything mirrors the miracle of being alive! St. Columbanus said, “If you want to understand the Creator, seek to understand the created things.” Finding what is meaningful to you begins a process of understanding, self-insight and healing. Try the mandala process below and see its value for yourself.
FINDING YOUR MEANING IN EACH MANDALA
Mandala is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning center, circumference, or magic circle. It is often used as a tool to reveal personal insights, healing and self-expression. The noted Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung equated Mandalas with Self, the center of the total personality, and used them extensively in his practice as a reflection of the inner journey towards wholeness. Joseph Campbell stated, “When you contemplate the Mandala, you are harmonizing inside. The religious symbols are harmonizing powers. They help. That’s the whole sense of Mythology: To help you harmonize with the life of society.” (Note: Religion is defined as a set of beliefs to which one strongly adheres. Personally, I prefer to use the word sacred)
Personalize the process –This could be considered a snapshot of what is true for you in this moment. You have the power to transform by setting a clear and loving intention then being receptive to allow whatever your subconscious wants to express. Or as the Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung said, “Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
An example of such insights is now offered from a five-day intensive mandala workshop where participants were asked to complete mandala for each stage of life during a symbolic rotation around the wheel of life then share it with two or three other people in the same workshop. Feedback was allowed according to one rule. The feedback must begin with the statement, “If this were my mandala…” This rule clearly confirms that no one is an expert about your personal work except YOU though others may make resonant comments. The depiction below was what emerged for me in the final stage just before returning to the dark void to potentially begin the journey once again.
My own insights are summarized as: the little figure is me dancing in the all-consuming fire under love’s pure innocent spell.
The longer process is described here. It encourages your deeper awareness:
- Write a question or statement of concern that is relevant to you in this moment.
- Draw a circle- if working with pre-formed circle; trace it with your finger to create the wholeness intention. Choose blank paper of any size and color that you enjoy. I often use a round bowl to begin my mandala template.
- Next, choose 3 colors intuitively that feel right to begin. More colors can be added as inspired. I like best to work with colored chalk but any media can be used. (My first mandala was on an 11×14 piece of white paper with only 3 crayons allowed.)
- When your supplies are ready, center into your Core Essence or Higher Self then invite and allow the emergence of spontaneous symbology from your psyche to be displayed in the circle. Take all the time you wish. Usually 15-20 minutes is ample time for spontaneous expression.
- Upon completion, turn the mandala to view from all angles in order to see what might be otherwise hidden. View with eyes of love & determine which view is the top. Put a small T in the margin to indicate the top.
- The images tell a snapshot story to you about you- write a title in the margin and date it.
- Note your first thoughts about each color, number, and symbol. Jot notes in the margins if you wish.
- Free associate with what you have written to identify any significant patterns.
- There are no absolute universal connotations in symbols. There are cultural commonalities. Most importantly you determine what things mean to you. The message emerges through you, is intended for you, and is about you. If you wish feedback from someone else, remember that they are drawing from their own associations. You get to decide what is true for you.
- Meditate with your Mandala. Be receptive to additional personal insights and
- Consider writing in your journal what thoughts emerge for additional understanding.
- A final note: Experience has revealed that the mandala process is best completed contemplatively in silence. It also seems important to suggest that your process can be enhanced by verbally and visually sharing it with at least one other trusted person.
This is a photo of me adding my peace prayer at the 2009 World Parliament of Religions in Melbourne, Australia
For more in depth mandala information check out Susanne Fincher’s website @ http://creatingmandalas.com
– Wanda Gail Campbell
Wanda has served thirty plus years as a healthcare professional. Currently, she serves as a Minister of Peace ordained by The Beloved Community. In July, 2007 she completed her PhD in Philosophy focused on Intercultural Peacemaking. For her own spiritual nourishment, she enjoys reading both contemporary and ancient spiritual writings.