In the circle we experience perfect symmetry, integrity, unity and completeness. This sense of wholeness is also something associated with the ideal state of well-being, of external and internal balance and harmony.
Mandalas (the Sanskrit word for circle) are found in cultures across history, from Tibetan Buddhist’s sand-designs to Native American medicine wheels to European Cathedral’s circular stain-glass windows, and all have been utilized as a path and symbol of spiritual connection, centeredness and too, to foster and guide us towards well-being, in the largest sense of the world…
Living in Chronic Pain often makes thinking and decision making extremely difficult as our mind is preoccupied with pain. Our memory is dramatically impacted, our critical thinking and reasoning skills are impaired, etc., etc. Being open and available to such ideas as the healing properties of harmony may feel like an unfeasible great-divide, but meditation has been shown to provide a significant pain management benefit for those living in Chronic Pain. Mandala meditation may prove to be a powerful addend.
Meditation helps to calm and center us, fortifying our ability to focus, and in the case of those living in constant pain, to learn to focus on things, at least for a time, other than pain (and any reprieve is of immense value, don’t we know).
- Find a quiet place to sit or lie down undisturbed
- Place your chosen mandala at eye level in front of you
- Take a few deep, slow calming breaths
- Allow your eyes to focus on the mandala but then soften your gaze to take in the whole image
- Allow your eyes to drift to the different components of the mandala simply experiencing it
- If you find your mind attempting to label, sort, categorize and judge and/or your mind becoming overly engaged or restless return your focus to the breath and return to a simple state of merely seeing the mandala, softly, in its entirety. Consciously slow down and relax into the breath
- Be gentle and kind with yourself. Each time your mind becomes overly analytical simply gently bring your attention back to the breath and a soft, general focus on the mandala
- ***If you begin to feel frustrated or agitated, stop. You can always try again tomorrow. The idea is to enjoy and relax into the mandala and too, to gently quiet the mind. Some mandala’s symbolic meanings and/or colors may not be something your psyche is open to at this time. You may wish to chose another mandala for the next time.
How It Works:
When we enter a ritual, such as mandala meditation, designed to call ourselves toward the sacred, we become more centered, our senses are heightened and emotions clarified. It offers us another avenue or passage towards guidance and inspiration and strengthens us in numerous ways.
Meditating on a mandala takes us on a journey as mandalas contain colors and symbols that resonate within us. Depending on our cultural backgrounds and knowledge we may “take different interpretations” away from the process but, like any form of meditation, the pursuit of consciousness meaning and sense-making are not the goal but rather to open ourselves and let our minds rest on the images, design and colors. This involves mental and physical relaxation without any loss of alertness. The insights that follow mandala meditation are unique to you, the meditator: they reflect the discoveries you will make on your own unique response and interaction with the symbolic language of a mandala.
“The psychologist Carl Jung asserted that mandalas are a key to personal transformation because they represent ‘an archetype of wholeness’. Through the power of their symbolism, they allow us to apprehend the manifold aspects of the cosmos reflected in each of us…. This makes us more complete and gives us an insight into our spiritual nature. We free ourselves from unhelpful ways of thinking that prevent our inner growth. If we consciously use this new way os seeing to cultivate inner harmony during trying times…this healing benefits all areas of life- and filters through to create well-being in the body as well as in the mind and heart.” Lisa Tenzin-Dolma in Healing Mandalas
Well-being in body, mind and heart….
even a little of that would go a long way when you live with Chronic Pain!