The Mandala Forest
Mandalas first appeared in ancient Buddhist and Hindu art, and their use came to involve complex ritual visualizations and meditations,as in the Buddhist Kalachakra initiation still practiced today.  Those of us who are not steeped in these millenia old traditions may wonder what significance the mandala holds for us.  The answer is not simple, but certainly the mandala is important today even for those of us who are not making use of it in a more traditional context.

First and foremost, the mandala is a static reminder of deeper consciousness, interconnection, and our spiritual or energetic nature.  Having spiritually significant art work in one's living area, meditation room, or workspace helps us to stay connected to larger and deeper realities even in the midst of stressful circumstances.  The mandala does not erase the daily challenges we face, but puts these challenges  into a context in which they are more easily managed.  The mandala can remind us to take a breath, to get some perspective.  The mandala can also help us find solutions we may not have thought of, by reminding us of the way things subtly and mysteriously connect and affect one another.  Knowing this, we can remember that difficult situations often work out in unexpected ways. 

A beautiful mandala can be a source of  spiritual solidity that remains constant in the face of a constantly changing world around us.  Because the mandala can be a source of beauty, inspiration, and spiritual connection without specific reference to any particular religion, some contemporary mandalas have a way of speaking to people of different beliefs in a way that perhaps a deity laden Buddhist or Hindu mandala can't.  While in some traditions, mandalas were given to one's teacher or guru as an offering of the cosmos, the mandala can still make for a powerful gift or celebratory gesture, without the need for specific ceremonial references.  Clearly the mandala can easily play an authentic and important role in today's hectic world. 



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