Thirty-Third Mandala – The Rainbow Mandala

Thirty-Third Mandala – The Rainbow Mandala

Meditating with a six-years-old can be tricky, it is a juggling game between letting go of the desire to do it right and join the fun when she wants to have some hearty laughs and trying to bring back then some focus on some simple deep breathing and visualisation. We don’t spend much time reading and “meditating” in bed before her sleep and it appears only a simple and ordinary activity but it brings infinite magic and wonder to my daily routine. I remind of something I read recently in a book – Haiku Mind by Patricia Donegan –  about “finding ordinary mind… how subtle and ordinary Haiku really was – and that because it is so ordinary it seems extraordinary.” Meditating with my daughter feels the same subtle and ordinary and eventually very much extraordinary.

Recently we were trying to practice a Meditation called the “Rainbow meditation” from the book “Buddha at bedtime” and that meditation, my daughter laughs and appreciation for the colours and for the idea of being filled with happiness, love, friendship, peace and gentleness inspired my last Mandala.

“Take a breath in… and out, and feel your body relax.

Picture yourself surrounded by red light. Imagine breathing in the red light, and it filling you with energy.

Now see yourself surrounded by orange light. Imagine breathing in the orange light, and it filling you with strength.

Next, visualise yourself surrounded by yellow light. Imagine breathing in the yellow light, and it filling you with happiness.

Then, picture yourself surrounded by green light. Imagine breathing in the green light, and it filling you with friendship.  – Here my daughter was very excited about being filled with friendship. –

Now see yourself surrounded by blue light. Imagine breathing in the blue light, and it filling you with peace.

Next picture yourself surround by Indigo light, breathing indigo light, and it filling you with gentleness. – Here we both had some doubts about what colour was indigo, but we both loved being filled with gentleness. –

Now, visualise yourself surrounded by violet light. Imagine breathing in the violet light, and it filling you with love.  – Obviously being romantic, in the most encompassing way, souls, we both loved this last part about love. –

Finally imagine a bright rainbow carrying all this energy, strength, happiness, friendship, peace, gentleness and love from your heart, into your home, your street, your town, your country… the whole world. Slowly the rainbow fade…” – From Buddha at Bedtime by Dharmachari Nagaraja.

These are the two books that inspired me

 

and this is my Rainbow Mandala

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This idea of the ordinary life also inspired some walking writing meditation, that brings my attention to the little corner of the world where I am so lucky to live and to notice things which are at once ordinary and magnificent:

Thick solid grey clouds

Rays of light red and yellow filter through

Like a sign of God’s presence

 

Wonders of Nature

In a little green leave now red on the ground

In the sweet yawn of kitten half asleep in a bed of sun

In the joyful singing of many birds hidden safely in the branches of the trees

The vast blue sky, then almost black and sparkling with the light of countless little stars

A transparent white moon still high in the vast sky in the morning

All ordinary simple free gifts unnoticed too easily.

 

Of the miracles of our everyday life around us

How little we notice and know.

We are outsiders.

We are strangers to our world

inside us and outside us.

We take too much for granted and

We forget to be grateful for our innumerable blessings that

we notice only when we lose them.

Our life revolution is to notice and to appreciate the subtle wonders of everyday life.

Thirty- second Mandala – Incomplete Mandala

Thirty- second Mandala – Incomplete Mandala

Sometimes I feel as if I can see clearly the path in front of me, sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes there is no vision and no idea of what should be the next step, the next colour, the next pattern to add.

Sometimes, even though I dream that one day I will do something very special, I accept and live with my more than imperfect efforts and creations.

Sometimes I feel like I have met a wall on my path and I’m tempting to judge myself harshly and simply stop and hide, but I still want to honour the commitment I made with myself even if it is hard, scary and might seem a useless effort.

For this reasons, I feel that leaving this Mandala incomplete, for now, is the right way to represent my emotions, my thoughts and my vision in this right moment. But also because this is also a What If Mandala. What if, the right way, is this unclear, imperfect and unfinished way? What if, something, sometimes, does not need to be completed or special? What if, stopping where I am, without forcing myself to find a way forward, is the right thing for me now? What if life, as it is now, is perfect as it is? What if this is the moment to sit still with the openness I can experience when I have not yet put the final stroke on a Mandala or the final dot on my writing?

One part of this Mandala is complete, it shows two movements: one inward of deepening towards the core, it is the journey of self-discovery that is a life-long journey, one outward is an expansive movement, it is the journey of connection with the Universe I live in and that is alive in me.

The second section is complete but not coloured yet, it represents pieces that I can visualize but are still vague.

Finally, there is the last section that is only drafted in pencil that is still very fluid, barely visible, representing the still very fluid and blurred essence of my overall vision of my path.

So, leaving this Mandala incomplete is not a failure for me, but

It is an act of acceptance of my imperfections and flaws and of the moment as it is with its uncertainties and few achieved understandings,

It is an act of openness to all the possibilities that are not yet clear to me but I have faith that they are and will be available to me if I have the courage to let myself being open,

It is an act of patience, to pause and sit still, even if all in me tell me to move and to find a way, and to wait for the right time for completing it, for understanding a clearer picture before acting and trying to move forward,

It is an act of kindness and of taking care of myself, to hold on, but lightly, to what I think is important so that I can let go what I need to let go and

Finally, it is a small act of courage to let my words and my drawing out in their incompleteness and imperfections against my own internal judging voice.

Recently, I read something about patience which I found quite inspiring and clear for me, here are few lines I extracted from the book “Practicing Peace in Times of War” by Pema Chödrön

“… patience means just slowing down … -just pausing – instead of immediately acting on your usual, habitual response. You are not suppressing anything, patience has nothing to do with suppression. In fact, it has everything to do with a gentle, honest relationship with yourself… Developing patience and fearlessness means learning to sit still with the edginess of the discomforting energy… When we stick with this process we learn something very interesting: there is no resolution for these uncomfortable feelings… There is a basic ignorance about the  truth of impermanence, the truth of the fleeting groundless nature of all things… We discover that joy and happiness, a sense of inner peace, a sense of harmony and being home with yourself and your world come from sitting still with the moodiness of the energy until it rises, dwells, and passes away… ”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/136981.Practicing_Peace_in_Times_of_War

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The Thirtieth Mandala and the Thirty-first Mandala- A Picture Mandala and a Fragmented Mandala

The Thirtieth Mandala and the Thirty-first Mandala- A Picture Mandala and a Fragmented Mandala

Should there always be a purpose behind our activities?

Should there always a meaning in our being here and now?

Can it just be enough to draw something without looking for a deeper meaning beyond the enjoyment of drawing it?

Can it just be enough to write something without trying to make any sense out of it beyond the fact that we felt like writing some random thoughts?

Sometimes I feel inspired, and sometimes I think is all an illusion. sometimes I feel like I’m finding the way to manage this anxiety that in some way colours my life and that I can be something different that my anxious self, sometimes I feel fragmented, like there are fragments of dreams, thoughts, stories and poems never voiced, of future, past and present, fragments of me, which do not seem to make sense together, but then things that I did not consciously put together if I do not give up and I continue to try to piece everything together with patience and time a meaningful  picture arises, a picture I could not see or even imagine before.

This is a bit what happened a bit with this two Mandalas. One had been left unfinished for quite some time and the other one I had just finished it but I could not understand what it represented for me, what made me drawing in it and colouring it in the way I did, nothing was emerging from it. Then I’m not sure why, I looked at my previous drawings in the sketchbook and I stopped on the one that I left unfinished and I started to add colours to it. Eventually I realized that the two Mandalas together had a sense for me. That sometimes things they are not clear on their own they need something else. Like this two Mandalas needed each other to be complete for me.

And this is a bit what happened with a photograph of some clouds I took some time ago and some random thoughts I wrote recently, that for me they kind of fit together.

So here my random thoughts, the two Mandalas and the photograph.

‘Clouds high above,

pink, purple, grey and blue,

low on my head

can I touch them if I dare enough?

Clouds like cotton candy,

endlessly changing, coming and going,

Can I grasp them if I try hard enough?

No clouds, they are all gone, now.

Have I waited too long?

Have I dreamed too high?

Have I not dared enough?

Or was just simple fate?

Was it something that was never meant to be?’

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The Mandala of Fragments
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The Picture Mandala
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Clouds

Twenty-ninth Mandala – The creativity garden Mandala

A colourful garden is blossoming from the well of my creativity. Like love creativity grows with its use, more we give love more love we have to give. More we use our creativity more it blossoms in something new, we could not even imagine before, it opens new paths, it offers new perspectives and it brings a new sense of balance and fulfilment.

the importance of what I create is in the action itself and in the emotions I feel while I do it more than in the drawing, is in the new ideas that are born from it.

Often, it takes time and a series of trial and errors to find what type of activities really appeals to us so much that we will stick to it because we simply enjoying do it. It happened this with drawing Mandalas and it is now happening with this combination of mindful walking and poem writing exercises (Haiku) from a book I was recently reading (Writing your way by Manjusvara – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7546923-writing-your-way?from_search=true). Paying attention to my surroundings while walking provided inspiration for short quick lines and for the smile on my face. The short poems that were popping up in my mind will probably look silly or not perfect to everybody else, but they gave me joy and this is what was important for me.

This is my mindful walking exercise and Haiku Practice:

One morning, on our way to school Francesca and I:

1 – Fallen red leaves

We pick them up together

Feeling pure joy

on my way to the train station:

2 – A spider’s web

So close to my face

I am not scared

3 – The sunshine

lighting up the green leaves

I am happy now

4 – Behind the leaves

cascading like raindrops

Cheerful robins sing

Crossing the bridge on the Liffey:

5- Wind on the river

Sudden grey clouds appear

My face is now wet.

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