Mandalas are geometric patterns starting from a central dot, working out in repetitive patterns, often incorporating symbols and vibrant color. A circle within a circle is a universal pattern filled with symbolic meaning. It’s simple yet comprises an element of the eternal. Mandalas remind us of our connection to the infinite world both outside and within our own bodies and minds.
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There are many ways to teach children and teens about the beauty, sophistication, universal character and healing powers of mandalas. Three of which will be discussed here along with specific examples and applications. Mandalas are all around us. One only has to walk through a garden to discover beautiful flowers in bloom and love their circular, repetitive patterns. Increasing awareness of the numerous manifestations of mandalas in character can start by analyzing an atom. Each cell is a mandala.
On a grander scale the world together with the rotation of the planets round the sun or the shape of the galaxies and other cosmic manifestations demonstrate mandalas as a basic form. Mandalas are present in just about all scientific studies from geology and biology to chemistry and physics. Becoming aware of their present nature enables individuals to discover mandalas in previously unrecognized locations.
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Mandalas are found across the world. From Tibetan monks that make sand mandalas as a kind of devotion, to Navajo sand painting used during complicated healing ceremonies, mandalas are found in virtually every culture and faith. Showing children and teens the universal nature of the art form can help to build connections and cultural understanding.
- Research Project: Providing a list of cultures/religions (Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Celtic, MesoAmerican, Aboriginal, etc), allow kids to look for the use of mandalas by that culture/religion. This is highly successful in partners or small groups where each group is assigned one culture and then asked to present their findings to the class.
- Matching Game: Using photographs of different mandalas and a world map, match the mandala with its geographical location, include a discussion on the similarities and differences. Once children and teens have a fundamental comprehension of mandalas, making their own mandala allows for integration and ownership of the principles being taught.
- Personal Mandalas: Often private mandalas are used as a kind of meditation or color therapy and help in calming the mind and nourishing the spirit. Producing specific, multicoloured mandalas is a creative and individual procedure. Any assortment of medium can be utilized including sand, shells, tiles, string, chalk, collage, crayons, paints, glass, cloth, etc.. However, it’s necessary to maintain the form and repetitive geometric patterns classic to mandalas.
- Group Mandalas: Similarly group mandalas provide many personal rewards but also incorporate cooperation and teamwork. These are wonderful expressions to celebrate workshops, events or special celebrations. Connections are strengthened and using symbolism researched as a group works together to create a representation of the time together.
Mandalas are powerful. Their existence throughout nature and usage by many cultures reveal their relationship with humanity and the world. Teaching children and teenagers about mandalas helps them to more fully comprehend the world and themselves.