The One Meditation Practice You have Never Heard of

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.

Focus

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.

Connectedness

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.

Patience

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.

Mindfulness

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.

hands_and_set_kaizentree_mandala

Get your Sand Mandala Art Meditation Kit from our Etsy store! Click here to check out our products!

Let us know in a comment below what is your favorite form of meditation. We’d love to hear from you!

Get People to Touch It! This Saturday July 29th

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!

crystal_dreams_world_sand_mandala_montreal

The event will take place in Montreal on the 29th of July. For more information, visit their website

We hope to see you there!!

The One Meditation Practice You have Never Heard of

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.

Focus

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.

Connectedness

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.

Patience

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.

Mindfulness

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.

hands_and_set_kaizentree_mandala

Get your Sand Mandala Art Meditation Kit from our Etsy store! Click here to check out our products!

Let us know in a comment below what is your favorite form of meditation. We’d love to hear from you!

mindfulness-meditation-what-is-it

Mindfulness Comes to Montreal

We want to improve. Ultimately, that’s the goal. We want to be fitter, smarter, more attractive, more financially independent; we want to be better – better lovers, better friends, better parents, and the list goes on. In short, we are “here” but we want to be “there”. The question then becomes: how do we get from “here” to “there”? Without a doubt, there’s a lot of work involved in the process. However, something that’s also crucial for the success of your efforts is “mindfulness”. Mindfulness, in a nutshell, is being aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. This type of awareness puts you on a fast track to achieving your goals – and people are catching on. There are numerous books describing the effects of mindfulness on both, children and adults. Furthermore, if we take a look at the popularity of the search term on Google Trends, we can clearly see a sharp increase in the past few years.

mindfulness_sand_mandala

This trend, plus the increasing availability of numerous scientific studies that analyse and prove the impact of mindful meditation on our brain activity, convinced us to give it a try.

In our quest for mindfulness, we have interviewed and consulted a master in Transcendental Meditation, we have practiced Yoga, body scan, breathing meditation,  and mantras meditation in a fairly regular basis. Needless to say – we haven’t mastered any of these types of meditation yet. However, through this practice, we have “found” more time in our lives. This is time that is then devoted to things that make us happy: sports, socializing, and even writing this blog, among many other things. And this happened in the midst of a very busy year – planning a wedding, finishing an MBA degree, dealing with sciatica problems, working on one of the most important projects I’ve had as a professional, and of course, trying to build a community based on mindfulness.

There were times in which we felt overwhelmed by the amount of effort we had to put into meditation. If you have tried it, you know that it is hard to sit, close your eyes, and actively think about clearing all of your thoughts. Sometimes we were too tired or too hyper. So, we looked for ways to introduce a reminder in our lives that would trigger in us the desire to meditate through an effortless activity that would still carry the impact and benefits of the other types of meditation we were practicing. We wanted something that was simple, appealing, and that would still create for us a state of mindfulness. We found the answer in the sand Mandala.

A sand Mandala is an ancient art form of Tibetan Buddhism in the form of sand painting. The word “mandala” is Sanskrit meaning “world in harmony.” Mandalas are drawings in three-dimensional forms of sand.

 

 

 

The sand mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sand particles to represent the particular esoteric, textual traditions of Buddhism. It is a transient art form, thought to have originated in India and been transferred in the middle ages to Tibet. It is constructed as vehicle to generate compassion, create awareness in the present, realize the impermanence of reality, and, on a spiritual level for the Buddhists, a tool for the social/cosmic healing of the environment.

So, we built a Mandala set and started doing it. Surprisingly, it was like playing, but it still created a mental state of awareness and mindfulness. I completed my first mandala with my 7 years old son and the result was extraordinary. The observed benefits of doing the mandala over and over again can be summarized in the following sections. These are concrete benefits that even those who don’t believe in spirituality can benefit from.

1) Focus

Completing a Mandala is not easy. It requires your full attention. But as you see the sand fill the spaces between the lines, 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.

2) Connectedness

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.

3) Patience

 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.

4) Mindfulness and Detachment

 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.

At this point, however, we didn’t know if other people would react the same way or feel the same effects. So, we contacted a meditation center here in Montreal and asked if we could give a Sand Mandala Meditation Workshop. They agreed.

Now, the moment of truth has come. We will find out if this, in fact, is a type of meditation that people can use to complement their search for mindfulness. We will see the effect of sand mandala meditation on other people – and we couldn’t be happier to be sharing this gift. We will let you know exactly how it went, in detail, next week. Stay tuned by subscribing to this blog or following us on Facebook. Don’t miss out!