In Sanskrit, mandala means “circle” and “center”. Traditionally, it is designated by a ring - the symbol of the universe and its endlessness, and by a square - the symbol of the Earth and of the world created by people. Mandala has become a form of art and a means of meditation. It is especially developed in Tibet.
If you decide to practice mandala meditation, here is a guide to maximize the efficiency of your efforts.
1. Choose a mandala. Your action starts with attention, directed at an object. That is why your meditation will begin as “object-oriented”.
The symbol, contained in a mandala, activates your inner energies and subtle structures, and displaces your attention from external objects to your inner space. The symbol can be a light, a flame, a lotos, a full moon, a shining sun, a glimmering star or just any color: different images lead us to different levels of consciousness. Color, symbols, deity images and sounds of mantras reveal direct and indirect connexions with our subconscious mind. The best and the simplest symbol is a bindu, a point. Everything originates in this point. Bindu is a point in the form of a sparkle of light, the light of “I”, not the egoistic impulse, but Spirit and Consciousness. Mantra, mandala are the universal symbols that belong to the common field of information, and because of this, find a deep response within everyone, independently of the culture they belong to.
2. It is better to enter meditation through relaxation. This will help to regain forces within a short time. Exhale and inhale deeply several times. Exhale, imagining that the accumulated tension comes out together with your breath. Now, it’s your body’s turn: first strain yourself, then relax all your body muscles, from your forehead down to your feet, as if a wave of tension-relaxation goes through all your body. If you feel warmth spreading along your body, you do everything correctly. Pay special attention to your arms. Mass your arms, shake your hands slightly. One by one, with your attention only, go along the line of your hand from the thumb to the little finger. Keeping attention on sensations related to hands embraces a much larger part of the brain. This has a positive impact on the state of your mind and awareness, as well as your whole body. During meditation, you can place your hands in such a way, as if you were holding a pulsing and a shining sphere. During contemplation meditation, breathe quietly and naturally.
3. By all means, create a formula of your firm intention. The final result of your practice depends on how clearly, confidently and convincingly your intention sounds. The intention, penetrating inside your subconscious mind, relaxes tension and destroys any blockage. Here are some positive affirmations that can be used: I want to be active again, I want to understand myself, I want to find a good decision to a problem, I will be, I already am happy, relaxed, peaceful and light... Choose one of the intentions considering your tasks and inclinations. Don’t hurry. The chosen formula should not be quickly replaced with another one.
4. Make your vision defocused. Feel the reality of the image, feel, do not analyse, but feel the color, the form, the structure, make a connexion with it and fix yourself in this position. Defocused contemplation of objects will make your eyes feel relaxed. If you wear spectacles, no problem, you can try to do it in spectacles. Try both ways - spectacles on and off - and choose the one you prefer. Be ready to start experiencing different visual effects. They are very individual. For example, an image can suddenly gain some volume. Also, an image can become darker on the borders and brighter in the middle. This is called the effect of a tunnel vision. The appearance of these effects is a sign that you enter an altered state of consciousness. This is just the place from where your journey starts to the middle of the Universe that bears your name.
5. You start looking in the center of a mandala. Concentration on the center of it is related to the process of cleansing of your mind and body. This will bring you back to the center of your own self, to your inner source of peace and balance. The process of attention concentration on mandala center is a gradual detachment from any anxieties and fixations, an aspiration to focus your mind and keep it stable.
During the process of looking inside the center of a mandala you start seeing the dynamism of it thanks to the activation of the peripheral vision. You do not displace your eyes from one place to another to better see it. On the contrary, you fix your attention in one point - the center of a mandala and you can see the whole of it.
6. An untrained mind is always in a constant movement. The more we try to calm it down, the more multiple thoughts are that it sends us, the louder noises are that it makes. But if you do nothing, nothing will change. To be honest, sitting on a chair and imagining how you swim in a borderless ocean and flying across the sky is what many of us think about meditation. But this is not the true meditation. Your task is to achieve the state of mind when you think about nothing. All you do is just sit and observe the pulsation of a mandala. First, you do it during five minutes per day. Gradually, you increase the time of meditation. The most precious thing for you is when you manage to stop, at least for a moment, the unceasing inner monologue. At this moment, the reality shows itself, you enter the magical moment of “now”, when you have the chance to enter the “gates of insight”.
Unlike others, you have a great advantage. Your thoughts do not wander, but they are collected by the dynamic mandala center.
7. This is not a good practice for concentration. All you need is to be alert, following the movement of your mind from one point to another, experiencing every moment. If you start concentrating, then the stream of consciousness will be blocked, and the further immersion in your inner self will stop. Observe the associations that can become images that appear when you enter the gates of insight: these may be the keys to solve your problems. From here, you are capable to enter the state where the usual time flow disappears, where the perception of space changes, the state in which there are no contradictions that couldn’t be reconciled, when the points of view that seem to be opposite integrate and become one point of view, where both physical and the psychological problems get solved.
8. Upon finishing your practice, make several circle movements with your eyes as if you were absorbing the energy of shining spheres and dissolving it inside your body.
9. After contemplating the mandala for several minutes, you can close your eyes. Looking inside the space that would present itself to you, try to see the mandala with your inner vision. Keep contemplating the mandala till the moment when it disappears. The ability to visualize in color is a quality of a genius. This quality is present in children, but they lose it with time. Remember that the visualization is an easy and effortless process. During visualization it is important to relax and to let the image enter your mind and grow. Do not put any effort in it. Let it happen spontaneously.
10. As you finish, repeat your formula again. Now this conscious impulse with the speed of a lightning penetrates the loosened soil of your subconsciousness and makes you change your position, behaviour, see the fresh decision, and change your own destiny.
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