Things I've learned while painting mandalas

  1. They are an excellent form of meditation. And that is true whether you are making a BIG mandala, like the one on the left, or a smaller one, like the one you see on the right, which was made using caulk (yes really) and quite a lot of paint and ink.

2. They are soothing. Tracing along the loops and lines and circles and the rest is relaxing, and works to reduce and relieve stress. As I noted in my last blog post, they are intended to be contemplated during meditation. It is for that reason that many people now purchase coloring books, like the one below, to fill in using markers or colored pencils.

Full disclosure: The above link is an Amazon affiliate link, which means that if you head to Amazon using that link, I get a small amount of income.

3. If you set an intention when you start creating or filling in a mandala, you will find that the finished piece reflects that back to you—and quite likely to others as well. For the large piece that I did on the wall at Peace Love Yoga in Glassboro (and for the somewhat smaller “echo”, which you can see in my last blog post), I started each paint session by lighting some incense (yes, I am exactly that “woo woo”) and setting an intention that the mandalas bring balance, peace, harmony, and happiness to the yogis who practice in that space. So far, the remarks getting back to me indicate that the pieces are succeeding. For the smaller mandala that I built, I focus on love—in fact, the words to the song “Simple” by k.d. lang and David Pitch surround the dimensional mandala. The song concludes: “Be sure to know that all in love is ours, is ours/ That all in love is ours/ That love is a philosophy, is simple/ And ours” The piece radiates the feeling of that song to me daily from its place on our living room wall. (If interested, you can listen to a sample and purchase that song at Amazon as well. It’s a long-time favorite of mine.)

4. Mandalas are essentially meditation, whether creating one, tracing one, or coloring one in. As a result, time tracks a bit differently. What feels like very little time turns out to be quite a bit more than you expected, because you are literally “in the now” the entire time. So prepare accordingly, and set an alarm if you’ve got a time limit!