February 25, 2015

Mandala Series #1 - "Four Oysters and a Shell on a Black Plate with Lemon"

Oil on museum quality Ampersand Gessobord panel
8" x 8"

When I was a youth, one of my early record purchases was a 45 (remember those?) of Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon.” On the flip side was a song called “The Great Mandala – The Wheel of Life.”  Since I didn’t have many records in my collection at the time, I gave it a spin.  The haunting harmonies were compelling but the lyrics were a downer.  I filed the Great Mandala away in my collective unconscious.  Fast forward 50 years and the circle of life has come to the fore.   Hitherto I had not been a “new age” kind of guy.  You know what I mean – Crystals, smudge sticks, spirit guides etc.  My meditation has always been to get out on my motorcycle and lose myself.  My friend Hugh would attest to this as I have been known to get lost often and often.  On doing research on mandalas I may have opened the door a crack to a new way of seeing inside myself.  I don’t know why I have been drawn to these strange circles but I have been recording them for a few years now. I guess I am doing with oysters what Richard Dreyfuss did in Close Encounters of the Third Kind with mashed potatoes.  As stated, I am not well versed in the lingo of the spiritual order so I will borrow and link to a more informed source to enlighten the uninitiated.

The meaning of mandala comes from Sanskrit meaning "circle." Even though it may be dominated by squares or triangles, a mandala has a concentric structure. Mandalas offer balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony. The meanings of individual mandalas is usually different and unique to each mandala. The goal of the mandala is to serve as a tool on our spiritual journey as it symbolizes cosmic and psychic order.

 The design of the mandala is to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that chattering thoughts cease, and a more philosophic or spiritual essence envelopes the observer which in turn leads to higher consciousness or awareness. In short, a mandala can be seen as a hypnotic, letting the creative hemisphere of our mind run a little more free while our analytical mind takes a little nap.

Each observer has different experiences. However, the overall consensus is that meditating with the mandala leaves the observer relaxed, and he/she comes away with a resolution or clarity concerning the intention that was set before the meditation.

Another form of mandala meditation is to make or color a mandala of your own. Painting, coloring or drawing mandalas allows for our creative brain to come out and play, leading to an altered state where we can perform constructive healing, and gain incredible insight into ourselves and our lives.

Once we have set our intention, we begin to focus on the mandala. Let your eyes take in the beauty of the designs, allowing your mind to wander as it will. If your mind begins to chatter (i.e., I should do laundry, have to get milk, need to finish that report for work), simply bring your attention back to the beauty of the mandala. Get inside the mandala, simply fall into it, swim in it, let it absorb all of your attention. As you fall into the mandala, you will begin to feel lighter, and intuitive thoughts may arise. Relax and float with the thoughts and feeling that come to you. If you begin to feel lost, uncomfortable or if you get the "chatter" again, simply focus your attention back on the mandala."

Of course, for me staring at a plate of oysters also makes me hungry.

Enjoy the new series! 


Diana Moses Botkin said...

Wow, this is beautiful, Mark! Well done.

Mark Adams said...

Thanks Diana.