The collection of mandalas presented in this book has evolved over a period which began in the early ‘70’s and is ongoing.
The mandalas presented are in a sense a record of a journey which is both personal and transpersonal. It is a personal journey in that the mandalas are painted by an individual in a particular time and place and it is a transpersonal journey in that the principles which are an integral part of the mandalas are universal and timeless.
In this book I will inevitably move in and out of both these dimensions. The mandala can be seen to be an exploration of this interface between the finite and the infinite, the personal and the transpersonal, the microcosm and the macrocosm.
As a general principle the idea is to facilitate an expansion of consciousness and deepening of insight with the aid of these mandala images.
The communication is primarily visual and the function of the words is to support the images and place them in context. As most readers will understand, mandalas are images associated with contemplative states, and to be appreciated, need to be approached in a meditative manner.
Mandalas are universal images which can be found in a variety of forms all over the world and beyond. They exist in the West, notably in the rose windows of the cathedrals, and a variety of other art forms. They have been explored and developed to an exceptional degree in the East, notably in the Tibetan and Indian cultures and they are widely used in American Indian rituals. Mandalas are found everywhere in human culture especially where the awareness of unity is prevalent. Mandalas can be approached as two dimensional images as in paintings, and also in the form of three dimensional structures such as temples and cathedrals. In the context of the video it is possible to introduce the dimension of time and see the mandalas unfolding as a process. Natural mandalas such as flowers, snow crystals, and galaxies could be considered to be four dimensional mandalas.
The intention is that each mandala presented is complete in itself. However, I would also like to present the mandalas in a sequence which is coherent, so that the individual mandalas exist in the context of a larger mandala which is the book. The mandalas are presented approximately in chronological order, with as far as possible specific reference to where and when they were painted, so that readers can follow the development of ideas and patterns.
Although the mandalas unfold through time and space it is important to emphasise that they are symbols of that which transcends time and space.
The Mandala is a symbol of the interplay between time and eternity, form and formlessness. It is a symbol which is designed to facilitate the integration of the polarities of existence as experienced by human consciousness.
The term “integration” brings to mind the work of Carl Jung and his involvement with mandalas. According to his biography, at one stage in his life he worked on a mandala every day. As I understand it he found that during therapy his clients experienced the mandala in dreams and visions at the point when healing and integration were beginning to come together.
The general implication is that the mandala can be seen as part of the process of healing the human psyche.
This has implications in terms of the individual and also the collective journey. It raises the possibility that a society which is in touch with wholeness and interrelatedness will be tuned into symbols representing this state. It is of course difficult to know at a given historical moment the extent to which a sense of unity is prevalent in a given society. It is a somewhat speculative consideration. However, I would like tentatively to put forward the idea that as attunement to the mandala increases in society, so there is a corresponding aspiration to heal and integrate the inner and outer polarities of life. I would like to see this book as part of such a process.
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