Forty-Seventh Mandala – Universal Particulars Mandala

Forty-Seventh Mandala – Universal Particulars Mandala

From a series of small details is built a big picture, from the picture I understand the idea, in general, but then I go back to notice the single small details that create the big picture. The big picture gives me a key to open a door on the comprehension of my reality, but then the details are the ones that give me the deep flavor and richness of that reality. It is a continuous journey from universal to particulars and from particulars to universal. It is a balancing act between focusing on myself, and my own limited experience of the world and the world outside me. The details disconnected from each other do not create a picture, they cannot be understood, but connected with each other they become something different and they can become visible and clear.

Mindfulness is teaching me patience and to look at the details of my surroundings, and looking at the details, is opening my mind to possibilities I could not even imagine before. Drawing Mandalas was not something I could imagine doing. It all starts with a small line draw on a page, with a word, with a step to a direction unknown, if we have the patience to wait until the big  picture is revealed.

Loving-kindness is allowing me to engage this drawing/reflecting journey as it is teaching me to be kind and compassionate with myself as I’m a beginner as all beginners, my efforts are very often clumsy and far from being perfect.

“I believe that the big picture is somehow shaped by how we live the details, the little pictures that run through our lives.” (The Dance – Oriah Mountain Dreamer)

“Concepts always remain universal, and so do not reach down to the particular, yet, it is precisely the particular, that hast to be dealt with in life.” (Schopenhauer as quoted in the Art of Reflection by Ratnaguna).

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Fortieth Mandala – Intention and Attention Mandala

Fortieth Mandala – Intention and Attention Mandala

Intention and Attention.

Clarity and Simplicity.

Honesty and Compassion.

Isolation and Integration.

Concentration and expansion.

Being present, here, in the body, in the mind and in the heart of life creating now the future choices.

Mindfully choosing to act with the clarity and confidence of honest and true intention.

Simplifying the surrounding, removing unnecessary shining distractions, reducing and choosing what to take in: which food, which drinks, which news, which information, which emotions, which sounds, which truth…

This is the journey I am choosing, one small change at the time, one commitment at the time. Continuing to bring attention to the deepest and honest intention, I move forward with new aspiration for the future grounded in the present.

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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.

Twenty-second Mandala – A black and White Mandala

Twenty-second Mandala – A black and White Mandala

 

Black and white demands courage and a certain degree of self-confidence.

It demands trust in my still beginner’s ability to draw confident lines, to connect the dots without too much arrogance or too timidly with control and concentration.

It demands trust that I can choose the right lines, to draw the right shapes that combined together create a harmonious picture, that I can create the right balance of blackness and whiteness that the picture does not feel empty, but that I can stop in time with the marker that the shapes are not lost in a single black circle.

It demands trust that I can use the right line, the right depth, because not all mistakes and uncertainties can be easily covered by a change of design or direction or by a simple eraser.

Black and white demands courage to let myself go with the flow and trust my intuition and my shaky and beginner hand to find the right balance, trust my awareness to recognise the right time to stop or to continue with my marker.

After few months of this Mandala project, I realise that my lines are now more confident, the patterns are becoming in some way richer and as it happens with other creative activities, the more I practice them the more ideas and image come to me of what I could do.

A creative process requires the courage to be in front of an empty page and believe that I can create something to fill that the page with words or lines, to be in front of a handful of small crystals and trust that I can create a harmonious combination with all those small separate parts and in this way give life to something that was not there before not even in my own mind.

Like with this Mandala, very rarely I know where I’m heading when I start drawing and  even when I have a preliminary idea the final picture is always a surprise full of ideas to reflect on.

Mandala - 22 - A Black and White Mandala

What I am learning thanks to this project but also from various courses I’ve been attending in life coaching, mindfulness and Buddhism is that as I can cultivate my awareness and my lovingkindness, I can cultivate my Faith and my Creativity and therefore that some limits that I believed as given and impossible for me to surpass in reality they can be surpassed with practice and an open-mind. That, yes that there is lots of people that is born with very special talents above everybody else, but even if I was not born with any special talent or passion, I can still choose to cultivate my own set of gifts and regardless if I can become at any stage a recognised writers or artist or earn any sort of income from my efforts, continuing to cultivate these gifts has a worth in itself completely separated from any utilitarianism concept, it is part of my path and it has nothing to do with gaining any success but  with my realisation of my potential as a person. For this reason, I will keep drawing these mandalas regardless if anybody else likes them or if they look like a mediocre attempt of a beginner, I will keep writing my thoughts regardless if anybody likes or shares them or if they are grammatically incorrect or sound silly, because these practices are feeding a need inside me for creating something and they are my way in this phase of my life to embrace my vulnerability and to risk “looking like a fool for the adventure of being alive”,

 

“I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.” (From the Invitation of Oriah Mountain Dreamer)

Fourteenth Mandala – My mindfulness formal practice

This week mandala is about my efforts and understandings about formal mindfulness practice that I’m embracing and building one step at a time with repetitions, with studying, with sharing and connection with others who have engaged in similar paths.

It is a bit different Mandala there are more words than symbols or drawings. These are the words, the questions, the applications, the mantras I want to keep in mind and be aware not only during the formal practice but as part of my efforts for living a mindful life.

p.s. I noticed some errors… but as for all my creations I not only do not aim or pretend to be perfect or accurate, I do not even try. I simply enjoy the process and the reflection.

(01/05/2016)Mandala 14