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The word Mandala means "circle". A Mandala represents wholeness, a cosmic diagram reminding us of our relation to infinity, extending beyond and within our bodies and minds. The mandala appears to us in all aspects of life, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and more obviously the circles of life encompassing friends, family and communities. Mandalas are circular designs symbolizing the notion that life is never ending. Many mandalas have spiritual significance to an individual or group of individuals. The Hindus were one of the first people to use a mandala as a spiritual tool, but the mandalas most individuals are familiar with, are ones made by Buddhists. Mandalas are used for meditation purposes allowing the individual meditating to become one with the universe. There are not many who are able to achieve this state of mind from just studying a mandala. The symbolism behind the creation of a mandala can have significant meaning for many individuals whether they are Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Pagan or of any other religious orientation. Mandalas can be created by individuals to symbolize their journeys through life. Mandalas can also tell a story of where an individual has been. In some cases, they will reveal the individual's path in life. Groups can create mandalas that will reveal what they should be doing in order to grow and develop as a group.
How to use a Mandala:
There are many uses for a mandala. The design of the mandala is supposed to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that irritating thoughts are unable to get through and a spiritual essence surrounds the individual observing the mandala, which in turn allows the individual a higher consciousness or awareness, almost as though being hypnotized. This allows the busy mind to take a break while the creative mind is allowed to run free.Having said that, the mandala is primarily used as a form of meditation to gain knowledge from within. Select a mandala that appeals to you. You should know the meaning of the mandala you have chosen or set your own meaning before using it for meditation. Once the intention has been set, you can begin focussing on the mandala. Allow yourself to take in the lovely designs, allow your mind to wander. Just like watching a candle flame in candle therapy, if your mind starts to think about the usual mundane things, simply bring your focus and attention back to the beauty of the mandala. Let the mandala absorb all your attention, by falling into it and gazing into the colours, swim in its patterns. As you begin to fall into the mandala, you will experience a feeling of lightness and intuitive thoughts may arise. Relax, let thoughts and feelings come to you. Float with it. If you begin to feel panic, feel lost, uncomfortable or if you start thinking about those "mundane" things again, just relax and refocus your attention back to the mandala. Everyone experiences different feelings. But if you have a relaxed demeanour whilst focussed on the mandala you have obviously achieved what was intended. You should come away with clarity of the intention you or the particular mandala set before the meditation.