Last weekend, we had our very own table at the Metaphysical Show here in Montreal. We had the opportunity to share with people the meditative power of the sand mandala. The brave ones stepped up to the plate and tried it out. Others were captivated by the calm and concentration of those who were doing the sand mandala. To all of you – We say “Thank you”. We are super happy to have been able to share this practice with so many of you and look forward to doing it again very soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the day:
Meditation is a tough thing to practice. Our brains are constantly packed with thoughts that keep running all day long. So, to all of the sudden ask yourself to turn your mind off and not think of anything for ten or even five minutes is, to most of us, ridiculously unrealistic.
Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that clearing our minds every now and then is becoming more and more important. That’s why it is vital to find ways that make it easy for you to get into a meditative state. For some, Yoga does the trick. Others find that running helps them clear their mind. For us, it is the sand mandala art meditation practice.
Sand Mandala Art meditation is relatively new in North America. But it has been around for a long long time. In short, this is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of symmetrical patterns made from colored sand. That, however, is a definition that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. The sand Mandala stands for so much more than that. It is a vehicle to generate compassion, which stems from the realization of the connectedness between your personal circle, your social circle and ultimately the universe. This tool also nurtures and develops mindfulness; and it also highlights the impermanence of reality. The word “Mandala” is a Sanskrit term that is translated to mean “world in harmony”. Tradition dictates that after completing the beautiful design, the sands must be swept up and discarded. This represents the impermanence of all that exists. It teaches us that life is beautiful, colorful, and fleeting. Therefore, we should make the most out of it.
The video below shows the process of completing a sand mandala design. The whole thing took one person about a week to complete, with just an hour to ninety minutes of work every day. The incredible thing was that this period of time would usually fly by, given that it was so easy for the person using it to get into a meditative flow.
Benefits of the Mandala
As you go through your own practice, you will notice surprising changes to how you perceive things and how you view the world. These benefits vary from person to person, but can be grouped into four broad branches: Focus, Connectedness, Patience, and Mindfulness.
Completing a Mandala is not easy. It requires your full attention. But as you see the sand fill the grooves of the board, your mind starts letting go of worries and to-do lists. The noise of daily life suddenly starts to quiet down – allowing you to achieve a level of focus that is hard to come by. The more times you go through the process, the easier it gets to translate this focus to other areas of your life – allowing you, for example, to: become more productive, easily establish priorities, and immerse yourself in the task at hand.
Patterns in the Mandala are generally concentric. The internal designs remind us of our inner personal circles, the middle ones symbolize our relationship with our community, and the external ones symbolize our connectedness with the world. By attaining a balance between these three circles, we are able to experience a ‘world in harmony’. The colors you use might be chosen to express a particular feeling. With every time you complete the Mandala, you will notice the evolution of that relationship – and how your mood changes accordingly.
The first few times you try to complete your Mandala, you will feel an urge to finish it the same day. This often happens due to our impatience. We want to see the finished product and we want to see it now. With time, and through practice, you will feel more at ease with stepping away from the Mandala for the moment – coming back to it reinvigorated at a later time. This is extremely useful in our daily lives. There are so many instances where we can avoid getting angry or frustrated if we simply knew how to walk away temporarily and come back to the situation at a later time. This tool allows you to hone that skill.
It is hard to look at something you just made; something beautiful; something that took effort to complete; and consciously get rid of it. Instead, we tend to cling to material things. The Mandala teaches you that everything in life is temporary – your house, your job, your car, your relationships, even life itself. This realization makes you mindful of everything around you. Mindfulness allows you to appreciate the things you spend time on and the people that surround you.
Let us know in a comment below what is your favorite form of meditation. We’d love to hear from you!
Descriptions of things can only go so far. I can describe the incredibly soft t-shirt I’m currently wearing – but if I’m doing that while standing right in front of you, what do you think you’re going to do? You’re going to reach out and touch it.
The adoption of the sand mandala in North America has not yet taken off as a viable alternative to the meditation practices we already know. And part of the reason is because of accessibility. Very few people have actually seen a sand mandala being worked on. Even less people have the tools necessary to complete one. I can describe the feeling you get when you’re working on one – the intense state of mindfulness you’re able to reach. But these are just descriptions. These descriptions are validated once you touch or experience the thing that is being described.
To go back to my first example – if I’m standing in front of you describing how soft my t-shirt is, you’re going to reach out, touch it, and determine just how soft it is for yourself. We want to do the same with the sand mandala. There have been many posts describing its benefits and how wonderful it is. Now, we want you to reach out and touch it. We want you to experience it for yourself. That is the reason why we’re taking part in this year’s Metaphysical Show of Montreal. They will provide us with a platform that we can use to share this wonderful meditation practice with the public. They will provide a platform where people can come and touch it. You can win a free Sand Mandala Set just by trying it live!
The event will take place in Montreal on the 29th of July. For more information, visit their website
We hope to see you there!!
KaizenTree, as a pioneer in popularizing the art of the sand mandala, will launch the first Sand Mandala trial with people from all walks of life. The call will be put out through newspaper and online ads. Those interested will get to experience and try their hands at actually doing a sand mandala for a period of time, the way Tibetan Monks do – in a simpler version. The participants will then be asked to share with us their thoughts while they were completing the mandala and their emotions.
For those who don’t know what a sand mandala is, you can refer to the video below:
In simple words, Mandala means “world in Harmony”. It consist in making art by pouring colored sand into a drawing, generally made of concentric geometric forms. It is believed that doing this kind of art would create healing and harmony at the personal level and positively affect the environment that surrounds the practitioner.
Actually, KaizenTree has created the first Sand Mandala kit ready to be done at home, you can find more at (Kaizentee Etsy store)
In preparation for the Annual Spiritual & Metaphysical Show of Montreal, Canada July 29, 2017, KaizenTree will be conducting this experiment.
If you want to participate or want your question to be included in the survey to the participants, please leave us a comment. All your comments will be answered.
One of the ways I keep my mind fresh, and myself humble, is reading. I like exercising my curiosity, so I read about everything; books, articles and any research on any subject that catches my attention.
Yesterday I bumped into an USA today article: “Since election, yoga rises off the mat to take on Donald Trump”. (To see the full article click here).
The article talks about how Yoga practice is on the rise after the US elections and how typical drops in New Year’s resolutions is minimal.
In that same article I found the genius idea of Sean Hoess and his Wanderlust organization. He calls it “Mindful Triathlon”. Wanderlust organizes festivals around the US that promote Yoga and meditation. These festivals also include lectures, music, and excursions. As part of their activities, they also organize the Mindful Triathlon, consisting of a 5K run, a meditation session and a Yoga session. Find more at wanderlust.com
I thought this was such a great idea, given that it brings together mind, body, and soul. I found that even though many of us already do this practice in our weekly and daily routine – it must be even more enjoyable in a group setting.
So why not bringing together your friends even for a bachelorette or bachelor celebration and spend a day doing this mindful Triathlon together?
You could invent your own. In my case, I’ve done: 1 hour running, 1 Hour Mandala Meditation and 45-50 minutes of Yoga. Use this as a detox for your mind. Think of it as pushing a reset button when you feel overwhelmed, or super stressed. I guarantee it works and its effects will ripple throughout the week.