Mandala Lessons

64 Arts

Another thing that came to mind when I read the description of the 6th art was the art of the mandala. A while back I’d purchased The Mandala Workbook by Susanne F. Fincher to read up on mandalas in preparation. Following a lengthy introduction on the hows, whys and wherefores of mandalas, the chapters that follow take the reader through numerous exercises with the intent of self-reflection and realization. Plenty of exercises are listed in each of the 12 chapters, coinciding with the 12 stages of a particular view of personal growth.

While I did not follow a particular exercise in the book, I tried my hand at my own using the colored sand from our earlier discussions. Here is my mandala and, what follows, are some things I learned in it’s creation.

My Sand Mandala

First I tried to make a circular shape in the middle of the plate with the sand and a plastic spoon. It didn’t want to cooperate so much.

Sometimes it helps to have the right tools.

When that didn’t go as planned, I surrounded the center sand with a different color of sand and then again in concentric rings. This made it easier to shape and shore-up the individual circles and filled the plate with sand.

The more material we have to work with, the better the outcome will be.

But I really wasn’t happy with what I had so far. So then I started drizzling a contrasting color of sand in thin lines along the circles.

What we think we want isn’t always what we really want.

Throwing things against the wall to see what sticks is always a viable option.

I had a surface, but it was pretty flat. A spare straw was used to carve out the various channels and make a pattern. Then I went back over the lines, trying to smooth them out, and it took a lot of effort to not knock the sand into the other paths and channels that were nearby.

Everything is connected, down to the finest grains of sand. Moving one could mean moving many.

But eventually I got the paths cleared, refined some of them, added some details. Then I sat back and just looked at it. It was fascinating, nothing like what I thought I’d make, but exactly what I needed to make.

Stepping back from the situation and looking at where you are often shows you more than when you were focusing so intently on one little portion.

My challenge to you…

Make a mandala of your own. It could be drawn or painted, sculpted in clay or sand, made out of rice, beans, beads or crumpled pieces of paper. Just create one and see what you notice about it or yourself.