A mandala can be a circular figure with many different shapes and patterns, that represents the universe. It is derived from Hinduism and Buddhism and is a very popular art symbol all around the world. There are an array of beautiful mandalas created daily by artists, each with their own individual and unique expressions of the universe.
The reason that artwork such as mandalas can be so pleasing to our eyes is due to the fact that we are peering into the soul of what the universe is made up of. The intricate curves and straight lines replicate the universe in its visual magnificence.
“To understand the soul of the mandala is to gaze into the heart of truth and see the essence of reality.” – Patrick Barreda
The mandala lets us peer into these mysteries of the universe, yet it still leaves us with more questions to answer about the nature of our world. These questions have always and will always stay unanswered to a certain extent. Some wise words by Alan Watts were once spoken on this paradox “What you are in your innermost being escapes your examination in rather the same way that you can’t look directly into your own eyes without using a mirror” .
Because the truth of the universe cannot be seen from outside our awareness, and since we are all present in this current existence, only when we detach fully from being ‘alive’ or separate from our consciousness, only then may we know the truth. This is the ungraspable essence of our reality, one that is being understood more in our modern day for what it really is, because complete knowledge is unattainable, therefore, we collect fragments of truths in our spiritual journeys.
The mandala is just one of many examples that give us a visual glimpse at the magnificence of the cosmos, the ungraspable totality of reality. When we see different mandalas, we are really seeing the most intimate parts of our universe. The transforming of mandalas in different artworks, represents the constant flow of vibrational energy that dances all around us. When we understand that it is only our perception of mandalas that changes and not the mandalas themselves in the same way that good and bad, ying and yang are the same, then we will understand that they are just different perspectives on different ends of the scale, but the scale always remains the same.
Therefore, we are to appreciate all that is in this universe, good or bad, past or present. We are not to judge, but to enjoy our lives if we want to feel in harmony with the universe. The essence of life, is to appreciate all beauty, to basque in the brilliance of duality and oneness. We are missing the point of life if we focus only on what we do not know in this life, instead of living in the happiness of the present existence. If we knew all the answers then this would defeat the meaning and joyfulness of life, this is key to remember.
If you want to gauge the visual lessons that can be learned from the mandala, then you can take a look at the natural flow of life and how nothing is forced, only created, in the same way creativity is not forced it just simply flows. We feel tension in our minds when we think about who we should be, but we feel relaxed and at peace when we are exactly who we are. Nothing else, no expectations or judgements. This is the true nature of the mandala.
All we need to understand about the universe and realise about our human nature is that all of it is based on our perceptions. With these perceptions come our opinions and values, and we wear these in front of our eyes as though we are wearing glasses when looking out unto the world, and then we wonder why the world does not look how we are trying to make it look when we remove the glasses. Our anxiety and stress comes from the difference between the way the world is and how we think it should be. If we considered that it is actually our reactions and actions that cause not just our pain but our happiness also, then we would learn which feelings and emotions to accept and which ones to let go of.
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” -Epictetus
We too can be the physical manifestation of perfection in the same way as mandalas, if only we let the energy of the universe flow through us completely. We are all unique representations of mandalas and like the mandala we are all equally beautiful, all magnificent expressions of the universe. We are all different perspectives of this life that are being expressed, but at our core we are made of the exact same essence of all that is.
By Kim Stanworth