Mandala Monday – Mandalas as Art Therapy – Guest Post by Epouna

Mandalas from the Heart of Peace 2

Mandalas from the Heart of Peace 2 © Atmara Rebecca Cloe

Sanskrit for circle, mandalas have been used since ancient times to help individuals reach enlightenment and an overall sense of completeness. Cultures around the world have used mandalas for religious purposes and they have long been beneficial as a meditation and healing tool. Of course, it only makes sense that mandalas be used as a form of art therapy as well.

Although you may not realize it, mandalas are all around you from elements as small as atoms to large masses like the sun. Mandalas can be represented in literally every circle that has a center.

When used as art therapy, the therapeutic journey of finding one’s center is in the actual creation of the piece, not in the final product as you might expect. Colors and shapes are symbolic to the artist and only the artist can truly understand them. In essence, the creator is represented in the mandala itself. Any feelings, emotions and thoughts that are experienced by the artist along this journey are brought to life in the mandala as it’s being completed.

When mandalas are used in art therapy, the patient always chooses their medium because this is the initial step in their journey. There are no right or wrong choices. It doesn’t matter if paper, canvas, poster board or cardboard is used with water colors, oils, acrylics, markers, pastels or colored pencils, they can all equally be as symbolic as the next.

While the patient is creating their mandala, they should write down the colors that they use as well as how they were feeling or what they were thinking about when they used each color. Soft and hard lines as well as various shapes and images are all symbolic as well. Mandalas never have coincidences or accidents, everything is created for a reason.

The circular center is the most important aspect of a mandala and the only part that you really need to be concerned with during the creation of the piece. When mandalas are used in various cultures and religions, the center is where deities reside. It is important that during the creation of a mandala, you radiate outward from the center, for this is where the heart and soul are construed.

It is essential that while you take your therapeutic mandala journey that you never lose site of yourself, where you have come from and where you hope to arrive. Take the time to enjoy the process and appreciate what you are creating.

There are many benefits to be received by the patient who is using a mandala as art therapy. Their mood will be enhanced to a more positive state, self-improvement levels will rise and there is a significant increase in self-awareness.

Breathing, heart rate and blood pressure become significantly slower as the patient gradually becomes more entranced in their mandala creation journey and they become one with the piece to arrive at their center. Mandalas also offer mental stimulation which is always beneficial for any person, patient or not.

As spiritual transformation and wholeness take over, healing is permitted to take place. This is why mandalas have been used as a beneficial form for therapy since ancient times.

Article by Epouna


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