Creating a personal mandala is a relatively simple process, yet one that may elicit profound results. In our individual experiences we have uncovered a variety of insights that informed, even transformed, our personal journeys. As Heather noted in her earlier blog post, mandalas provide a link to the unconscious, and creating a personal mandala is a wonderful tool to knowing ourselves better, helping us to identify issues, gifts, wounds, patterns and dreams.
Have on hand a sheet of paper (we like the 14" x 17" sheets, but any size will work) with a circle drawn in the middle (tracing around a plate works great), as well as simple art materials—markers, colored pencils, crayons, paint, whatever you are comfortable with. Having a journal nearby will be helpful to capture your thoughts and insights throughout the process.
The following three-step process is a way to begin working with mandalas that is fluid enough to be adapted for personal needs.
Step One: Set an Intention
If possible, choose a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. Doing mandala work requires an intention to move inward, to connect with Spirit / Soul / Higher Consciousness (whatever label you may give it). For this reason, we recommend that you consider doing whatever practice brings you closer to "source" such as meditation or prayer. You may consider inviting any spiritual allies (guardian angels, spirit guides, ancestors, God, etc.) to assist you in this process. We suggest using candles, soft music, or elements from nature to help create a sacred space.
Set the intention to be present to any message that needs expression in this moment. It often helps to pose a question. This could be general in nature such as, "What do I need to know?" or specific to a concern or issue, for example, "What gifts do I need to share?" It can also be enough to simply affirm, "I am open to receiving the message of this mandala." You may want to write down this question or affirmation so you can reflect on it throughout your process.
Step Two: Experience
Now it is time to fill your circle. Allow yourself to be drawn to the tools that call to you. An imperative here—this is not about creating a beautiful work of art! This is about giving voice to your own Spirit. Remember to be gentle with yourself, allowing the colors, shapes, images, or words to flow uncensored. Fill the circle following your impulses as they arise, knowing there is no right or wrong in your creation. Try not to think too hard; simply go with what feels right and let you mandala unfold. Throughout the experience, try to maintain a stance of curiosity. Notice what you are thinking, feeling and sensing as you move through the process. Pause as you need to throughout your journey and pay attention to emotions that may arise. Jotting notes in a journal as you work may help you capture a thought or insight and then return to the mandala with an open mind once again. When the circle feels complete, take a few moments to reflect, and gather any final impressions.
Step Three: Integrate
Using your journal, take time to record your experience. You may want to give your mandala a title if one comes to you. Take note of any symbols/images/colors that particularly resonate with you. As you write, also note any insights that are emerging. These may even be in the form of new questions you long to explore. If you’re feeling unsure about the meaning of your mandala, don't worry. Sometimes the messages unfold over time. Be sure to return to both your mandala and your journal frequently in the days and weeks ahead. You will likely find something new each time you visit!