Mandala Colouring Therapy
One of my favourite episodes of the addictive, yet equally disturbing series ‘House of Cards’, was when the monks came to create the most magnificent sand Mandala in the white house. Mandala means circle in Sanskrit, and in ancient India and Tibet, they were used as a meditation tool to centre the mind.
In the episode the four monks work in silence for weeks, meticulously filling the mandala with coloured sand, to create a breathtaking piece. Then, as the final piece is completed, and we all ooohd and aahd at the masterpiece, the rest of the monks collect it in a grand ceremony, where they proceed to scatter the mandala into the river.
The image stayed with me.
We are so obsessed with the outcome of all our deeds, as if every step we take is worth nothing if it doesnâ€™t reach the intended destination. Living in the moment, means living with all your heart, in every moment, irrespective of what the next might hold. Witnessing the simple meditation of creating beauty for the sake of God and nothing else is what brought my tears flowing that day.
The American president (Kevin Spacey) of course, lost the essence of that by capturing a photo of the completed piece and giving it to his wife, missing that the whole point was letting go of the outcome.
A Medical Tool
Mandalas, as a meditation tool, are entering the world of integrative medicine, as science begins to see clinical evidence of the benefit of meditation. Among hundreds more, clinical studies have proven meditation to reduce stress, heal the brain, combat depression, reduce pain, lower high blood pressure and enhance deep sleep. I almost always recommend a form of meditation to my clients, but the challenge is finding something that they can not only easily learn, but also learn to do regularly.
So now, no longer limited to temples and monasteries, mandalas have become accessible to mere mortals in the form of magnificent colouring books. I recently discovered that my local Bargain Books, stocked not only a large selection of gorgeous Mandala colouring books, but also the high quality colouring pencils to go with it! This has become one of my favourite ways to pass an infrequent lazy hour, combining meditation, art therapy and colour therapy to create my own little masterpiece.
I can certainly attest to the calm and sense of wellbeing felt while colouring, and the best part is that it requires very little artistic talent or expertise. I also find an incredible sense of peace, turning the page and not looking back at a completed page, simply offering it away as a symbol of the gratitude of having been allowed inside my mind.
The books come in a range of themes and sizes, and they even have phone and computer apps where you can colour online! Children do very well with colouring mandalas as do people who are anxious and depressed. I find it also benefits those who trying to quit an addiction like smoking, by offering their minds and hands another outlet. If you are unsure if this is worth the investment, try downloading a few free prints through the link below and give it a try…