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My Mandala

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:52 am
by Give It Time
I love mandalas. I think they're so beautiful. I think it's amazing how Buddhist monks will spend, it's my understanding, a month creating them only to intentionally destroy them shortly afterwards.

About nine months ago, I bought a coloring book of mandalas. When I finished one, I couldn't bring myself to destroy it, right away. I'd enjoy it for a week, then destroy it.

As a NOM, I've been exploring other religious paths and I got to the point I wanted to take a break from Buddhism. So, I put the mandala book back on the shelf.

I'm not truly back at Buddhism, but Taoism shares some common elements and I've recently learned how to really enjoy letting go. I decided that the next mandala I colored, I would bravely destroy it, soon afterwards.

I came down with a heavy-feeling cough, last Friday. I knew it was trouble, because my son had recently recovered from pneumonia. Saturday morning, I woke up feeling like crap and proceeded downhill. I improved a little on Sunday, felt much better--though not completely well--on Monday. I talked to the advice nurse and she strongly advised me that, with my recent exposure to pneumonia and my asthma, to get a confirmation one way or the other. I did and I'm glad I did. Pneumonia.

I have been recouperating and I simply love anti-biotics! During this time, I've been coloring that next mandala. I have only been particular about one color: white. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, white is the color of the lungs. I made sure to include small strips of white as I progressed inward. Still, I was very random about the colors as a symbol of my daily life. It is random, surprising and I recently referred to it as "a hilarious mess". I watched the colors, random though they were, take shape in those beautiful intricate patterns with the occasional "bresth" of snippets of white. I have been doing this in bits and pieces over the days, as I have energy. Finally, I came to the center and paused. What color to make the center? White, of course. With that, I realized my mandala was complete.

I took a moment to take in and enjoy the beauty of it. Then I pinched one end between two fingers and ripped it. It was a symbolic releasing of that awful disease,. Another rip: the fever. Another rip: the chills. Another rip: the x-rays. With each rip, I was symbolically leaving it all behind. It was marvelously therapeutic!

Tomorrow, I am clear to return to work.

Re: My Mandala

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:04 pm
by Random
Is it a common thing to tear up/destroy mandalas after coloring them? I really don't know anything about them other than that they exist and they are good for eye exercises ("edging").

Re: My Mandala

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:09 pm
by RubinHighlander
Thanks for sharing that, I like that idea of using art as a cathartic healing tool. It's like building a beautiful sand castle, knowing the ocean and elements will quickly destroy it. Is there a rule or unspoken rule that this Mandala art must be destroyed? I would guess the idea is that nothing is permanent in this universe and we must learn to let go and move on. It would be so tempting to at least take a picture of it, but even that will not last. Could the idea of our ego also be tied to the things we create and we need to also learn to let go of that? Some interesting concepts here.

For post work stress relief my DW will often retreat to her studio, making jewelry and pottery; sometimes she will paint. We have a steady stream of sea glass, some we've collected, some we purchase from folks all over the world. I keep a steady stream of polished rocks we've collected on our adventures around Utah, working our way through five gallon buckets of it. We keep collecting, polishing and using these earthly treasures. She finds lots of beautiful vintage glass jars and cylinders (lots of trips to Savers) to put them in, as well as mid century modern glass cabinets. Yesterday we had the afternoon to just sit and reflect on all the changes we've been making to our home, all the beautiful things, paintings, rocks, pottery, treasures. We are running out of room, might be time for an intervention! She does not give herself enough credit for her beautiful creations, so it was good to stop and have her do that yesterday. Even her office is an amazing array of beautiful arrangements, her art, photography and all the cool little vintage treasures she finds online and in second hand stores.

Last night, as we browsed around for a movie to watch to end our weekend, we ended up watching Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting. Listening to him talk and watching him unfold magic on the canvas was such a beautiful experience. There's a reason he is such an icon because of his pure love of art and nature. What he takes a few minutes to put on canvas is what I'm always out trying to capture on my cameras.

Re: My Mandala

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:14 pm
by Gatorbait
Thoughtful post, although I had to look up Mandalas to make sure they are what I thought they were....they were not what I had in mind. I thought that they were the beautiful paper lanterns that Buddhists use and have on the ceiling of Buddhists temples that I've been in.

As it was explained to me, the lanterns are part of a ceremony where the priests bless the lantern and a beautiful paper tag- for lack of a better word- hangs down from the lantern, and the tag may have the name of someone who died- and I'm not sure what else- apart from the story that I was told.

The lantern is in the temple for about 30 days and then the priests light it and as it ascends upward, the deceased person's spirit is able to enter heaven. Beautiful.

Art takes its shape from the person who creates it, no matter what it is, a song, a poem, a photo, a drawing, many things. It is one thing that can only be truly enjoyed if it is shared. The Mandalas are very beautiful, and every one is different, just as each of us are.

Re: My Mandala

Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:20 pm
by Angel
We recently had an art exhibit come through our campus with burning bowls which are similar: ... owl-ritual

You write down what you want to let go of, then burn it in the burning bowl.

Another ritual I came across in Belize - in the - the Mayans had a funeral release ceremony where they burn their dead, place ashes in pottery, then have a ceremony to break the pot to release the soul.

In Christianity it translates to "not my will but thine be done", there are native american sand paintings that are similar to mandalas - meant as part of a healing ceremony -

I very much love the idea of learning to release what does not serve, and live without desires.
One of my faves:
Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all - young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks at the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
But one creature said at last, 'I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.'
The other creatures laughed and said, 'Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you shall die quicker than boredom!'
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, 'See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!'
And the one carried in the current said, 'I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.'
But they cried the more, 'Saviour!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour.
-- Richard Bach, from "Illusions"

Re: My Mandala

Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:26 pm
by Angel
RubinHighlander wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:09 pm

Last night, as we browsed around for a movie to watch to end our weekend, we ended up watching Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting. Listening to him talk and watching him unfold magic on the canvas was such a beautiful experience. There's a reason he is such an icon because of his pure love of art and nature. What he takes a few minutes to put on canvas is what I'm always out trying to capture on my cameras.
I love Ross - do you know he went from being a screaming-yelling ..
Having held military positions that required him to be, in his own words, “tough” and “mean”, “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work”, Ross decided that if he ever left the military, he would never scream again. ... -bob-ross/

to the happy cloud guy? example of an amazing transformation of someone deciding they wanted to changed, wanted a different way of life.