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Mandala-2

Discover | Monita Roughsedge

The Power of Balance

The Art and Science of Mandalas

In these trying times, it’s important for us all to take a little time out to rejuvenate. Just spending some time with nature is always a refreshing and centring experience, and the good thing is you don’t need to travel far to do it!

Have you ever stopped to look at a flower? A simple flower. I mean REALLY look at it? To notice the way each petal replicates the others; how they spread evenly so their tips form a near perfect circle; how, if you drew a line through the centre, each side is in perfect balance with the other. Have you ever looked at the centre of a sunflower and seen the intricate pattern of seeds it holds?

These incredible geometric shapes and patterns, although completely created by nature, are often so precise you could swear they were measured out with a ruler! But this miracle of natural design work is not limited to flowers alone – balance, symmetry, proportion, ratios and precision of shape can be seen everywhere in nature – from bees wax to the human body.

Circles, squares, triangles and hexagons – our ancient cultures came to realise that these naturally occurring geometric shapes and complex patterns could be translated into mathematical formulas and symbols and then applied for creative purposes by humans, too!

And in time, this remarkable underlying geometry of nature became known as Sacred Geometry.

So revered is this divine geometric system, it has been employed by many to design significance buildings around the world – places that require a sense of order, strength, tranquillity and balance such as the great pyramids of Egypt, the Greek Parthenon, Hindu temples, Islamic mosques as well as Christian churches, just to name a few.

Another, archetypal example of Sacred Geometry comes in the form of a Mandala. In basic terms, a Mandala is a geometric or concentric diagram that holds both spiritual and ritual significance – and its most primitive form is based upon the order of Sacred Geometry.

The word Mandala translates as ‘circle’ – or a sense of wholeness, originating from Sanskrit, the ancient language of India and the primary liturgical language of both Hinduism and Buddhism. Dating from around the 4th Century, Mandalas have been an integral part of Hindu and Buddhist religions in Tibet, Nepal, India, China, Japan, Bhutan and Indonesia.

For both Hindus and Buddhists, Mandalas are said to represent the universe and the divine power of our natural world. With complex designs based upon the system of natural order, balance and symmetry, Mandalas combine geometric forms with religious imagery to create masterpieces that act as a symbol, prayer tool, meditation device, and holy blessing all in one.

The overall shape of a Mandala is always circular, symbolising the womb or origin of creation. Within the circle, the Mandala is then divided into uniform segments where each new geometric shape formed is said to act as a symbol that embodies the mathematical principles found throughout creation, revealing the inner workings of nature and the inherent order of the universe.

While a finished Mandala may provide visual pleasure and meditative focus, the creation process is said to be equally important, representing the transformation to enlightenment.

There are three basic layers to a Mandala’s meaning – the outer meaning represents the divine form of the universe. The inner meaning creates a map to guide the mind to enlightenment. The third meaning however, remains a secret between the artist and their personal creation, or the Mandala itself.

Whether simply admiring the beauty of a completed Mandala, observing one for centred meditation or creating one of your own, Mandalas bring the overriding principles of our natural world into our awareness, creating a certain understanding of universal knowledge. The extraordinary principles of Sacred Geometry that we’re able to bring to life in the shape of a simple Mandala, allows us to experience the serenity and strength that exists within nature and the extraordinary power this natural order has over our lives, helping us attain a greater body/mind balance as well a heightened connectedness with our natural world.

So go on, spend a little time observing a flower; taking in its natural beauty, geometry, balance and symmetry, then maybe consider creating a Mandala of your own!