Mandalas are many things. The loose translation from Sanskrit is "circle." They are as simple as a flower or as complex as the Milky Way Galaxy. They can be decorative, highly organized, symmetrical patterns formed within a circle and used for focus in meditation. The Mandala is found in both Eastern and Western religious traditions, Native American and secular cultures. The Labyrinth is a kind of Mandala which is used as a tool for prayer, meditation and centering. To find out more about Mandalas, visit the Mandala Project. There are many books about Mandalas available and images online for you to color. Just the process of coloring a Mandala can be mind clearing and meditative, not to mention fun =)
I love to walk the Labyrinth and do it whenever I can. I don't pretend to meditate regularly, but I do it with some frequency. It works for me like an adjustment, a centering. It brings new thoughts and new perspectives. Meditation is good for creative renewal. It relaxes you and allows the creative process to flow. It can have healing effects on the mind and body. Many forms of meditation work, from a silent walk in the woods, to listening to the ocean, to some quiet time focused on a Mandala.
My work has been filled with spirals for as long as I can remember because I am totally captivated by the design. Doodles in my high school notebooks had spiral and labyrinth-like qualities. I find it a strong, positive, life-affirming symbol that appears across many cultures since the dawn of time. Even when I consciously try not to include a spiral, they still seem to appear. And I really like to work inside circles. Do you find symbols or patterns or shapes repeating in your work?