Mandala is a Sanskrit word, simply meaning circle. It is an ancient religious symbol dating back over 2000 years, and is part of many different cultural and religious practices. In Hinduism and Buddhism, it’s circular shape represents the universe.
In these spiritual traditions, Mandalas are used to help focus attention, find inner peace, establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation. Carl Gustav Jung is believed to have brought this eastern tradition to western attention, and believes the Mandala to represent the Self.
Mandalas generally have one centered circular point, from which emanates a variety of different shapes, forms and symbols. They can be comprised of both geometric and organic shapes. In its essence, a mandala represents the connection between our inner self and the outer world.
The circle represents nature with all its circular and organic shapes such as the planets, the sun, moon, flowers, the spiral of the Milky Way. Mandalas are believed to connect us to this natural world and represent the cycle of life.
The purpose of Mandalas in art and art therapy is to help achieve a sense of focus, flow and harmony. I personally enjoy colouring in Mandalas, just to take a step away from my usual chores of life and work, and to focus on something soothing and relaxing. You can get lost in the flow of the patterns and colours and it certainly helps with mindfulness and wellness. Not to mention that they are all quite beautiful and you can always find many uses for your finished product.
If you want to make your own mandala, you can certainly do that with the help of a few essential tools. Think of it as a personal and enriching experience as you dig deep to find those patterns and shapes that have some meaning to you. You will need paper, a compass, a ruler, a pencil, and your favourite colouring in utensils.
For colouring in your Mandalas we highly recommend the awesome Life of Colour Brush Pens, which has a soft and flexible tip and all the colours you will need. There is something very soothing about the way these pens touch the paper, which differs from regular pencils and texters/markers. There are many free to download Mandalas available on the net, so go ahead and find one that speaks to you and try it out.
This is not about self-help or spirituality if you don’t want it to be, but allow it to be an inspiring and creative experience to help you reach a state of flow and concentration, and to help you open up your creative side. You never know what is inside you until you try.
Meditative colouring is another way we have found brings this calming sense of flow because it engages us in a fun, colourful and creative activity. Adult colouring-in books and watercolour pens can be an amazing escape you can take with you anywhere and start colouring in whenever you feel distracted or upset.
The following mandalas have been painted by our amazing NZ ambassador, artist Lizzy McNaught (@lizzymcnaughtart). She paints mandalas on anything, from furniture to surfboards to pots.
Michelle Avison @myrocksnz has turned mandalas on rocks to a whole other level, adding myriads of vibrant colours to her stone mandalas.
These colourful mandalas were painted by Swati H. Das, an artist from Mumbai, India
This pastel mandala was painted by @ana_kelly_creates using Life of Colour paint pens in pastel colours (get your own pack of Special Colours).