The Healing Power of Mandala:
A Journey into the Self
Mandalas have been used for centuries by cultures across the world as a means of spiritual and emotional healing. In recent years, this practice has gained popularity in the West, with many people discovering the therapeutic benefits of drawing and colouring mandalas. In this article, we will explore the psychological basis of mandala therapy, drawing from the works of renowned Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl G. Jung and clinical and art therapist Susan Buchalter. We will also examine the practical techniques of creating mandalas and how they can be used to achieve a deeper understanding of the self.
The Psychology of Mandala Therapy
The word mandala comes from the Sanskrit word for circle, and it represents wholeness, unity, and balance. According to Carl Jung, mandalas are archetypal symbols that are found in the collective unconscious of all humans. In his work, Jung believed that the creation of mandalas is a way of accessing the unconscious mind and integrating the fragmented aspects of the psyche. Drawing or colouring mandalas can help individuals connect with their inner selves, express repressed emotions, and explore deeper aspects of their personality.
Susan Buchalter, an art therapist, and author of Mandala Symbolism and Techniques, also explores the therapeutic benefits of creating mandalas. She suggests that the process of creating a mandala can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve focus and concentration. Buchalter argues that the repetitive and rhythmic movements involved in creating a mandala can induce a meditative state, allowing individuals to access their unconscious mind and connect with their inner selves.
The creation of mandalas can take many forms, from simple line drawings to complex colour schemes. The key to creating a mandala is to focus on the process of creation rather than the end result. Here are some practical techniques that can be used to create mandalas:
Free-form Drawing: This technique involves drawing a circle and allowing the mind to flow freely, creating lines and shapes as they come to mind. The drawing can be done in pencil, pen, or any other medium.
Colouring: This technique involves colouring pre-drawn mandalas, either by hand or using a colouring book. Colouring can be a meditative practice, allowing individuals to focus on the present moment and create something beautiful.
Symmetrical Drawing: This technique involves creating a mandala with symmetry in mind. The artist starts by drawing a line through the centre of the circle, and then creates a design that is mirrored on both sides of the line.
Using Mandalas for Self-Discovery
Creating mandalas can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and healing. By engaging in the process of creating a mandala, individuals can access their inner selves, explore their emotions, and gain a deeper understanding of their personality. Here are some ways in which mandalas can be used for self-discovery:
Exploring Emotions: The colours and shapes used in a mandala can reflect an individual's emotional state. Creating a mandala can help individuals process and express their emotions in a safe and creative way.
Meditation and Mindfulness: Creating a mandala can be a meditative practice, allowing individuals to focus on the present moment and quiet the mind. By engaging in this practice regularly, individuals can improve their mindfulness and reduce stress.
Integration of the Self: The creation of a mandala can be seen as a process of integrating the different aspects of the self. By creating a cohesive and balanced design, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of their personality and achieve a sense of wholeness.
The Therapeutic Benefits of Mandala Therapy
The therapeutic benefits of mandala therapy are many and varied. Here are some of the ways in which mandalas can be used to promote healing:
Stress Reduction: The process of creating a mandala can be relaxing and meditative, promoting a sense of calm and reducing stress.
Improved Focus and Concentration: The repetitive and rhythmic movements involved in creating a mandala can improve focus and concentration, which can be particularly helpful for individuals with ADHD or other attention disorders.
Emotional Healing: Mandalas can be used to explore and process emotions, providing a safe and creative outlet for self-expression.
Self-Discovery: The creation of mandalas can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth, allowing individuals to explore their inner selves and gain a deeper understanding of their personality.
Improved Cognitive Functioning: Engaging in the creative process of mandala-making can promote cognitive functioning, including improved memory, problem-solving skills, and spatial reasoning.
Enhanced Spiritual Awareness: Mandalas have long been associated with spiritual practices and can be used to enhance spiritual awareness and connection.
In conclusion, mandalas have been used for centuries as a means of spiritual and emotional healing. The creation of mandalas can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth, allowing individuals to explore their inner selves, process emotions, and achieve a sense of wholeness. By engaging in the process of creating a mandala, individuals can improve their mental and emotional well-being, reduce stress, and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. So why not give it a try? Pick up a pen, pencil, or colouring book, and let your inner artist create a beautiful mandala that reflects your unique personality and inner self.
Pssst: Check out this Mandala I created digitally on Procreate 🤗