What is the history of the mandala? How can I use mandalas for mindfulness and personal reflection? What will that experience feel like? To be therapeutic do I need to create my own freehand design or can I mimic a cool design that I find? Mandala means "sacred circle" in sanskrit. Circles and spirals can be seen all throughout nature and the universe. Circles represent wholeness, unity, continuity and the cycle of life. Historically, Tibetan Buddhist Monks and Native American Indians use mandalas as a way of evoking spiritual energy, meditation and healing, and studies have shown that creating mandalas can allow deep healing to take place within the human psyche. I personally found each of these projects to be very soothing, peaceful and meditative. Creating a design from scratch (the rock mandala) did have an extra relaxing feel to it...With the others I was consumed in trying to mimic another's design; I still enjoyed the process but I don't think it was as meditative or reflective of my inner self.
What tools will I need to create a mandala? What type of pencil is best to use? What type of paper (watercolor, sketch, drawing, mixed media) should I use? If I use watercolor pencils, should I first use an erasable pencil to sketch out my design?
The tools don't matter all that much. For several of my sketches, I just used the mechanical pencil that I use in the math classroom. Having a compass was helpful for the geometric designs and fun to use, but not necessary to get started. If you want to use watercolors or water color pencils, I would recommend a thicker more absorbent paper. Basically, just jump in and have fun!
What will a successful outcome look like?
I would create 2-3 mandalas, at least one of which is entirely original with no guide followed.
Check! Had a great time making these five mandalas. The last one was entirely original with no guide. I hope to continue this practice regularly. Namaste Friends.