Imagine a circle, and imagine that you are traveling around its circumference. At whatever place you start the journey, that place is your beginning. But once you start moving, there is no end; you just go round and round in circles. If you want to get out of this endless circling, you have to be aware that the circle has a center, and you have to be in that center, instead of on the circumference.
What is this center? It is the indwelling reality in the Heart of all beings. It is consciousness; it is truth and love. All people have to know this center if they want to terminate the endless circling, the continuous moving from point to point. There are no points in that center, and so, no movement. When you arrive at that center, everything is finished for you. There are no beginnings and no ends in that center because there all directions, all distinctions, and all movements have ceased. Very few people know where this center is or how to stay in it.
Source: Godman, David (ed) (1993) Papaji Interviews, Universal: Lucknow, India, (Part I)
word Mandala in Sanskrit means circle. Mandalas have been used in many cultures and traditions. In Tibet and many Buddhist monasteries, making Mandalas is an enlightened art. Also the Christians have used Mandalas in their spiritual artwork, such as in stained glass windows and stone carvings. In Chinese calligraphy the circle symbolizes wholeness.
Making Mandalas isn’t an activity done merely in religious contexts. It’s an art for everybody. Because of the need of balance and harmony in our lives; the need of slowing down in body and mind, we are drawn towards activities that have these qualities, and painting Mandalas is an activity like that.
Anyone can paint forms and colours. There is no need to be an artist to paint a mandala. Mandala painting is not therapy or an art form of learning how to paint. It is a joyful happening. Making Mandalas is a meditation technique, created from an empty and silence space.
The most important part of teaching mandala painting is this silent atmosphere. Many people experience spending extensive time with a non-active mind during painting. Mandala painting gives you a taste of this silence, of that who you essentially are. When you recognize who you are, which is so full and rich, you create out of overflow.
In my work, I teach the use of repetitive forms and colors in the mandala and circles within circles. The center of the mandala symbolizes the core of our being, that which we are in essence (Kabir Story). This center is surrounded by certain patterns, which symbolize our personality, body, mind and emotions. The outer circle symbolizes our connection to the outer world.
There are many different kinds of Mandalas to make, like Healing, Centering, Expression, Mirroring, Zorba the Buddha, Chakra, Zen, Meditation, etc.
Which to make depends on what is needed in the moment. My favorite one to teach is the “Impermanence of Life-mandala”. The process of creating this mandala, helps you to be open, to take risks and see that there is no right or wrong. It can give you the joy of creating without any limitations, and without any desires of how the mandala should look like. A real artist is one who doesn’t have his or her own style. He or she is free from concepts and open to experiments, and willing to be surprised by what happens spontaneously. Having no own style you don’t have to worry about how your next painting will turn out.
What a relief!
Free Within Structures
How is it possible to be free within the structure of a mandala? Life is full of structures, like the sun rises and sets every day. And the art is to be free inside this structure, not to experience it as a limitation, but as a help and support. This kind of painting can give you the experience of freedom within structures.
Not only are Mandalas very healing to paint but when Mandalas are created out of silence, they radiate healing energy. When you have such a mandala in your house, its presence creates an energy field. On request I paint Mandalas attuned to your personal need.