Mandala means 'circle' in the Sanskrit language, and mandala art refers to symbols that are drawn, sketched or painted in a circular frame. Mandala art has been used throughout the world as a process of self-expression, in the service of personal growth and spiritual transformation. Tibetan Buddhism has employed mandala art for thousands of years to capture the images of the countless demons and gods which it believes both plague and uplift humanity. Navajo sand painters use them in their healing rites. Many native people use the Medicine Wheel, a mandala form, to connect to earth energies and the wisdom of nature.
The very fact that mandalas are drawn round can lead us to an experience of wholeness when we take the time to make them and then wonder what they mean. In the strict use of the mandala, there is a central point or focus within the symbol from which radiates a symmetrical design. This suggests there is a center within each one of us to which everything is related, by which everything is ordered, and which is itself a source of energy and power. Virtually every spiritual and religious system known to man asserts the reality of such an inner center. The Romans worshiped it as the genius within. The Greeks called it the inner daemon. Christian religions speak about the soul and the Christ within. In psychology we speak of the Higher Self.
How do we begin to connect to this inner center? We need to learn how to work with imagination to see into the inner self. But when we begin to play with images and symbols, we move from a cognitive, rational, intellectual and narrow frame of reference and enter an expanded state of awareness. One of the primary functions of imagination is to help us see how our inner energies are operating, all at once, in a way the rational mind cannot perceive. Within each of us are a multitude of drives and desires, hopes and fears, wounds and latent abilities that need to be acknowledged and consciously dealt...