Colouring A Mandala

Words by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

“Oh wow Madam, look what you’ve done here; that’s amazing. Such pretty colors!” My thoughts were interrupted by a very pleasant voice. I looked around and there stood the Flight Attendant with a glass of orange juice I requested for. She was making reference to the piece of art that was on my table.  I smiled and said my thank you for both the compliment and my drink and got back to my mandala colouring. 

Unless you haven’t been really awake the last half a decade, it is not easy to miss the fad that has swallowed the world. 

Colouring a mandala is said to have the same benefit of meditation – the art therapy that can be done at any place or time. It has definitely become my flight companion after I stumbled upon it while vacationing in Bali six years ago. One thing I can vouch for is the sensation of calm and peace whenever I get my hands into mandala colouring.

What is mandala?

A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be used to aid in focusing attention of adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool. In essence, it is for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word for “discoid object” or “circle” and holds considerable deal of symbolism in Hinduism and Buddhist cultures.

Mandalas can be actual paintings or drawings and some of the mandalas are created using sand, which are dismantled ceremoniously after completion. The process of creating one is as important as the finished work itself as they are often created by repeating symmetrical patterns, centering the mind and body, which is why they are an ideal tool for meditation.

Mandalas have been tracked back to Tibet, India, Nepal, China, Japan, Bhutan and Indonesia which dated back from the 4th century.

What is mandala colouring?

So, mandalas are usually repeated patterns – circular matrix with a centre point; a centre point from which all things are possible. From this sacred mid-point comes infinite possibilities and potential that is unlimited. Hence, when you are colouring these mandala patterns, you are expressing the desire to heal, bloom and declare your own unlimited potential. 

Imagine mandala as being alive and energetic – a pathway to a desired state of being. Perhaps a higher state of consciousness is something you aim at attaining or simply just to expand your artistic rapertoire. Whatever your reason is for choosing to work with mandala, be aware that you can achieve it – just set your intentions and awaken your mandalas by filling them in with colours.

Madala colouring is also great as a stress reliever. Our lives are hectic these days – work, family and every thing else in between. Mental health, however is the one single thing that should not be ignored.  Mandala colouring is great at relieving the exhaustion from all your schedule as it require calmness and attentiveness to fill up the circular patterns with colours. This deep focus in colouring helps in stress relieving. Colouring may also reduce negative thoughts

Through the years, psychological studies show that colouring mandala has the same effect as meditation. It is hard not to imagine how the deep engagement required while colouring a mandala will not induce that. 

While reducing anxiety, mandala colouring also refreshes the brain. In order to colour, the brain requires both hemispheres of the brain to stay focused, enabling all areas of the brain to work in balanced way. This activity activates the analytical as well as creative parts of the brain which aids in problem solving and refining the motor skills.

We are always told to do things that ignite our inner-child. Have you heard of inner child therapy? It is a program where adults are introduced to colouring mandala pages to help break negative thinking patterns that have been brought over from adolescent years or even prior. This therapy works perfectly for adults who are harsh within themselves. The time spent being alone, colouring give them them clarity and also the space to relight the love they have for themselves. 

Mandalas are usually of geometric patterns and this represent the cosmos metaphysically. Modern science recognized that mandalas have becomes the healing tool that also induces calmness, enhance concentration, promote good sleep and reduce pain.

A spiritual and religious tool, mandalas, these days are widely used for recovery. What not to love about mandala colouring; it is fun, therapeutic and can be done almost anywhere.

It is still one of my number one companion on flights after all these years, a close tug with a good, juicy literature

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