“ Mandala (Sanskrit Maṇḍala, ‘circle’) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.
“In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
Space and place… we orient our selves to spaces and places. Within the territory of our awareness, we travel through our world and create maps, guideposts on the road of our lives. These abstractions of reality help us in maintaining a sense of order, logic and purpose. From this mapping the mind grows in complexity and dynamic understanding of the world, the universe. What exists in our world is manifested within our being. What is within our being is manifested in the world. An ecstatic dance occurs ‘tween in and out of creator, creating, creation. One can point to this or that, in or out, and say it is the source of intent… but in reality both are, and they work together as awareness rolls forward.
Diagrams of this dynamic process, mapping awareness have intrigued me for over 40 years. It started by mapping my world, grew into mapping and diagraming what I was learning. I am a visual person and the act of diagraming information made it easier to know and understand, the links often more interesting to me than the individual facts. Finally I fell in love with geometry and its ability to draw relationships between things. The mandala was introduced to me and I started to map my own mind, information, thoughts and feelings on paper. I was literally hacking my own brain.
The warrior’s path of freedom, dreaming and stalking, became a discipline of unwriting and writing the story of my own awareness. To that end, mandalas reflected the journey, the pathway, the walk of a thousand steps. They began to map the energy of shifting perceptions, a shift of the assemblage point. In creating these maps, pictures and diagrams… circles emerged, a great love for their representation of integrity and impeccability. There are no perfect circles in the universe of form. They do not naturally occur. But they universe is surely attempting to intend them all the time, thus we hold within our awareness the circle as abstract form and function. When we create a circle we are creating our own integrity, we are integrating our selves and defining our awareness.
As I studied at the traditional mandala and grew to draw them over and over, it became evident that something was missing. The missing piece in the whole tradition of the mandala is that of surprise, the random, the breaking of the circle… the place between integration and disintegration. Thus I began to break the circle, break the universe encapsulated in the map to search for what lies beneath, beyond and before. Searching for this energy we can all tap into, the diagrams began to become fractured, half triangles, squares and broken circles began to add up to something more universal to me than the static diagram of the classical mandala. Here we can enter not through the gateways of the cardinal directions but rather any point. And any point is in relation to any other point. We journey through the work as we do in life – the best way we can.
The eye darts from here to there in search of an order which is implicit in our own making. We are pattern generators. As we recapitulate the patterns, we reveal a greater mystery, which lies beneath, before, beyond. The patterns are growing old. While they are certainly beautiful and they help us to integrate and to know our selves and our world, there is always more to be explored. We can step beyond mastery into becoming artists dancing in the random pulse of a universe that is seeking continual renewal.
For this reason, I propose the mandalas that have been emerging from my drawing board. They speak to the path of freedom beyond the patterns, into the primordial ocean of being and non-being. They breath life into a universe of surprises.