Mandalas, Sanskrit for circle, are concentric diagrams having spiritual significance in both the Buddhist and Hindu religions. They can be seen in the sacred art of both these traditions, and are used in meditation as a spiritual teaching tool and a way of focussing one’s attention. For children and adults alike, it’s a wonderful relaxing exercise in concentration, and it all begins with a dot.
- fine tipped markers
1. Gather up your supplies, and find a comfortable, peaceful place to begin your drawing. Decide if you want to work with black marker or with colour. Regardless of which one you choose, good quality markers make the whole process more enjoyable, so splurge on some decent fine tipped Staedtlers, Sharpies or similar.
2. Next, if you want to work within a circle, use a household item like a cup or bowl to draw one on your paper. Place a dot in the centre and you’re ready to begin. If you prefer to work without a circle, simply place a dot in the centre of your paper and begin drawing shapes from the central point you have created. Repeat each shape in a circular pattern around this central point. Focus your attention on this and nothing else. I know this is easier said than done if the dog’s barking or other sounds are invading your space, but it can be a wonderful relaxing moment. Also, tell children that in this context (they’re not monks having to use specific symbols in their work), there is no right or wrong and that a ‘mistake’ can simply be incorporated into the pattern that is being created. Just let go and allow shapes and patterns to spontaneously flow onto the page. At some point your mandala will look finished, and you’ll probably want to enjoy making another one, and another one…
You may want to show children this video to see how simple and enjoyable the process is: How To Grow a Mandala: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g16B64myG-E
You can also do a search for ‘Mandalas’ and look at ‘Images’ to show children the many variations that exist.