Mandalas are one of the artistic and cultural elements associated with meditation .
They are used in some Buddhist rituals, but they are also often used as a form of therapy. This can be confusing at first glance, so let’s look at how the mandala is used and what it really is.
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What are mandalas?
Summarizing much, mandalas are circular and concentric drawings related to symbolic elements of Hinduism or Buddhism .
Thus, all mandalas have a similar structure, which is usually a circle filled with symmetrical and concentric figures. Beyond this, all mandalas can be created as the person who draws them wants, including certain details and not others, choosing the details, etc.
What does the word “mandala” mean?
The meaning of the term mandala has its origins in the Sanskrit language, and can be translated as “sacred wheel”. This simple fact already indicates the relationship between mandala and religion, and that is that is considered a symbol of healing and meditation, as well as representing a facet of the cosmos .
This symbolism is captured in the forms presented in the mandala, all drawn inside a circle. Some shapes, such as spirals or stars, are associated with certain meanings, and the same occurs with the tones used when painting the mandalas.
In fact, the color palette used in the elaboration of a mandala symbolizes the nature of each of the chackras that according to the cultures related to Hinduism occupy different parts of the body. Thus, blue represents the fifth chackra and the sensation of calm, red symbolizes the first chackra and is related to passion, etc.
Beyond the classical representation of mandalas, which is usually circular, there are also other types of mandalas with alternative shapes , such as with a square shaped outline. However, in all these drawings their direction from the contour to the center and vice versa is always emphasized.
Mandalas and meditation
Knowing the symbolic nature of the elements that compose a mandala, one can come to think that these are simple pieces of folklore . However, it is not necessary to embrace mystical beliefs in order to use mandalas. For yes, these wheel-shaped drawings have a use beyond religion.
As with relaxation techniques, virtually all meditation exercises focus on one basic task: managing attention and achieving an effect on normally automatic body processes such as breathing.
The use of mandalas is not an exception in this respect, and their use during meditation sessions implies that we should concentrate totally on them. In this way, drawing mandalas resembles some forms of entering into trance used in all kinds of religions .
The usefulness of the Mandala
Thus, the use of mandalas is relatively simple, since they are basically used to be drawn and painted. That is, what is useful is not so much the mandala itself but the process of creating these figures and their coloring.
However, the way in which the act of drawing and painting mandalas is useful is a personal and totally subjective matter , since its use cannot be equated to the use of scientifically validated therapeutic proposals. It is not for nothing that mandalas are the fruit of religion and popular culture, and not of years of research carried out using the scientific method.