“Susanne Fincher is a Jungian psychotherapist, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Registered Art Therapist. For more than 25 years Susanne has pursued a passionate interest in mandalas. Her journey has led her to explore Jungian psychology, Tibetan Buddhism, Dances of Universal Peace, and pilgrimages to Stonehenge, Iona and other sacred sites in Europe and the U.S.”
“Susanne has produced a number of books about her explorations of mandalas. She is known internationally as an engaging lecturer and workshop presenter. Through her presentations she has introduced thousands of people to the spiritual, psychological, and health enhancing dimensions of creating mandalas.”
Like the rest of the global village, Indians also experience anger, that raw, powerful emotion that seems to take over our lives, consuming our thoughts.
Indian people use an art therapy technique, drawing ‘mandalas’, to help calm and express their rage in a careful and controlled way.
Mandala, is the Sanskrit word for ‘circle’. Within this circle the Indians say there are no rules, a space in which you alone exist. A place where you can let your feelings come out as a swirl of colours and lines.
The Times of India recently featured an article on how this process works.
How Mandalas Work
Participants find that once they finish drawing an angry mandala, they are tempted to draw a new, happy one, since their anger has been released through artistic expression. If you suffer from anger management issues, perhaps you should give it a try.
Participants like Manju Mohinani says:
“You get lost with the colors and the movement of your hands and thus you express yourself clearly without even realizing it. The best part is that when you do mandalas you are not thinking, you get so lost in the drawing. You don’t feel that you are working on yourself, its so easy and so much fun.’
Manju is a real advocate of drawing mandalas – it’s the way she as dealt with her anger for years, stating that she just takes out paper and crayons and lets go. Once the drawing is complete, she feel at peace with herself again.
Drawing Materials is All That’s Needed
Drawing a mandala is very simple. All you need is a sheet of paper and a box of crayons or coloured pencils, the kind used in schools by children is fine. Mandalas are not an art, so you do not need to worry about how they look or whether you are doing them right or wrong. You’re not trying to create a masterpiece, the point of the drawing is to express how you feel.
‘to sketch an anger mandala , just sit and feel your anger. When you feel, it clearly takes up the colour that fits the best. Then draw a circle on the paper and let the feelings emerge on their own. Let them get expressed inside the circle, using whatever lines or colors that come. Don’t censor yourself and don’t think, just let go.’
Participants find drawing mandalas is something that is easy to do, and is a novel way of revealing your true feelings, break down some boundaries and show that you are in control. And of course, if you are in control, you can take steps to solve the problem that was causing the anger.
The Benefits of Drawing Mandalas and What They Might Mean
The primary reason for drawing a mandala is to be an outlet for anger, but sometimes people see a certain significance in what they have drawn.
If you do give mandalas a try, have a look to see if your drawings are full of ‘fighting spirit’, passion and frustration shown by heavy, jagged, red lines? Are the drawings made up of more gentle, softer colored, curved lines, showing you are more depressed and apathetic about your situation?
Red, brown or black are the typical colors for angry mandalas. The shapes and their position are also quite indicative of inner feelings. The overlapping shapes and black crosses and show a lot of anger. Anger spills over when your drawing extends beyond the confines of the circle.
Mandalas provide a way of dealing with turbulent events in our lives, providing an almost childlike way to express yourself and have fun. You might find that the drawing helps you understand a little bit more about the cause of your anger.
While there are plenty of other therapies, none are quite as much fun as mandalas .Using a crayon to scribble on a simple piece of plain paper takes us back to those carefree childhood days. It’s a satisfying and fun therapy. And remember, you do not have to understand your drawings, just the process of drawing the mandala is enough to relieve the burden of anger.
So, the next time you find yourself getting wound up, instead of grumbling and grizzling for weeks, just grab some colored pencils or crayons, place out a sheet of paper and let go. You will not only deal with your anger, but have a wonderful time doing it as well. And the best part, you will relish every moment.
Negative self talk and the inner dialogue that is continuously present in our mind is the basis and expression of the reality we are creating. We need to suspend this inner talk to reach a state of awareness and to connect with our inner center of knowing and being.
In Mandala Coloring the focus is on the coloring and our inner dialogue is suspended. When this occurs there can be self discovery and an opening or ourselves to healing and creativity. The suspension of inner dialogue (which may be the “ego”) allows a different perspective for situations from our past and provides new solutions.
Carl Jung studied mandalas and he observed:
The “squaring of the circle” is one of the many archetypal motifs
which form the basic patterns of our dreams and fantasies. But it
is distinguished by the fact that it is one of the most important
of them from the functional point of view. Indeed, it could even
be called the archetype of wholeness.
Coloring a predetermined shape is a practice that can bring us into contact with a framework that already exists. This can lead to a better understanding of established structures, and provide an opportunity to connect to a part of us that is unchanging and steady. The simple act of coloring a mandala can provide an outlet for stress and a means to be brought back into peace and harmony.
Just as photograph reminds us of our family members and our place in the family, the mandala is a picture of who we really are. It can help us remember ourselves, and despite outer turmoil and chaos, it is a source of quiet.
While the creation of a mandala allows us to express a picture of our inner world as it may exist in an ego sense, coloring a mandala reminds us of the cosmic forces that rule our lives. It is bringing us back to our beginning and centering us in the reality that is our existence.
Mandala Interpretation is an interesting way to look at a Mandala
The first step in interpreting your mandala is to determine a title for your mandala. You can write down your title and then study it to identify any feelings or insights that may be apparent. Just write down what comes to you, and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.
Next, list the colors that you have used and after each color write an association to the color. There is no right or wrong to interpreting colors – you can write what the color is saying to you. Become aware of colors that you commonly use, and note any emotions or feelings. As well note any shapes that you see and write those down along with the associations that pop into your mind. After you have written those, note any patterns, themes or energies that seem to emerge. Write a few sentences about what you are feeling.
Edith Lynch, M.Ed. is an Educator, Speaker and Workshop Facilitator. She has extensive training and experience in Teaching, Curriculum Development, Transformational Training, Transformational Leadership, Reiki I and II, and Law of Attraction.
I look forward to your thoughts and comments!
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