The definition of Mindfulness is debatable, but is commonly understood as the simultaneous function of understanding internal emotional and cognitive mechanisms whilst maintaining receptivity to external stimulus and experiences.The introduction of mindfulness into the area of psychological health is largely due to the theoretical link between Buddhism and Psychology’s shared focus on eradicating destructive , habitually formed emotions in favour of building happy and compassionate emotions (Analayo, 2003; Gunataratana, 1993; Kapleau, 1965, Chambers, Gullone & Allen, 2009; Goleman ,1988).
Empirical research within the field of positive psychology has contributed to a number of interventions that have been widely adopted and integrated in community programmes to support positive moves towards flourishing, with savouring and mindfulness being heralded as key to fostering attention and awareness, (Aken & Thompson, 2010, Action for happiness 2011, Layard 2005).
Taking Notice is one of the 5 ways of well-being devised by the new economics foundation in 2009. Out of the 5, it has been the most difficult to apply as an intervention in population engagement. Mindfulness meditation has, however become the main focal point within the category and mindfulness hubs, websites and apps have been made available and accessible for population take up. Even so, the daily practice and regulation involves strong self discipline and often formal guidance to get the personal practice off the ground.
Developing attention and awareness is an integral and important aspect of the practice of meditation. It involves developing a heightened ability to be attentive to emotions, thoughts and responses whilst remaining open to awareness of peripheral and external stimulus. The breath, the physical body, sounds and sensations are the main focal points in most mainstream practice.
Mandalas or Yantras are visual aids ,often used for establishing a sacred space and in some contexts for calling in cosmic or divine intervention into ones life.They are conceptually thought of as a multi dimensional sacred architecture , although often manifested within the 2 dimensional realm. Mandalas have been practised widely throughout time and in all cultures and a generally represented as a circle but also as a circle with a square.Fundamentally the mandala is recognised as a meditation tool which can enhance and enable a meditative or even a trance induced state of consciousness.Overall, the mandala represents a radial balance that connects the human being with the balance of the natural and the cosmic world. The therapeutic impact of creating mandalas has been understood to assist in the unification process of self with nature and symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness, “a synthesis of distinctive elements in a unified scheme representing the basic nature of existence.” (Jung )
Daily Mandala is my visual expression of a meditation routine that involves taking notice of the world around. As a daily practice, I take time out from the usual flurry of what might be my journey to work, taking space to explore in lunch breaks and generally keeping a roving eye to discover visual mandalas in and around everyday life. As well as ‘finding’ mandalas, I also create them in the course of daily activities, often using materials that come to hand rather than using specific art materials whilst spending some time, albeit short and often concise, to consider the task and to imbue it with some dedication and love.
I consider the practice of The Daily Mandala as a routine that in some way enhances and supports a more formal meditation practice but at the same time allows for some flexibility in the interpretation of a regular meditation practice. Remaining consistent in maintaining an awareness and attention to the visual stimulus around, seeking out new potential mandalas in all things and keeping a regular commitment to posting them on pinterest is currently my own favoured daily meditation practice.