I don’t follow the rules. Well, in some things. I am not like my Beloved who considers even public safety rules, like “NO SKATING. THIN ICE” as negotiable and dependent on individual interpretation. Those rules I follow. But when it comes to spiritual disciplines, no matter how “traditional,” I am prone to experimenting — doing my own thing.
Hence, Lent 2015, I cobbled together LECTIO/MANDALA.
A combination of contemplating texts, or life, or dreams — drawing a mandala/circular design — and writing a haiku prayer — this evolving practice was inspired by the tiny journals I found for $1.99 a piece at “The Amish Grocery” (Forks County Line Store) in Middlebury, IN.
These hard bound little books came in a variety of colors and themes, like DREAM, COURAGE and HOPE, complete with quotes on every other silky smooth plain page. They are perfect for drawing with colored pencils.
For months I spent about half an hour each morning like this:
First thing in the morning. I wrote two small pages, quickly reflecting on the text, dream or image that surfaced with the sun. Then I turned the page and traced a circle. I eyed my large jar of colored pencils and grabbed the first color that grabbed me. And I launched out with some shape, some angle, some beginning.
In time, the mandala took me. Intuition and creativity are some of my G-D given playpals. So it was not hard to keep playing, keep drawing, keep discovering layers of meaning in this circle work. When I sensed I was done, I penned a title and date at the bottom of the page. Words condensed into prayer in haiku form, which, interestingly, I used for its rules: simplicity, focus and structure.
Lastly, I honored the Spirit of the morning by propping open my little Lectio/Mandala book near my prayer chair, sinking into twenty minutes of Centering Prayer.
But just this week I found that perhaps there are rules for mandalas.
“Start in the center,” said a most experienced mandala artist/prayer last Monday in our contemplative circle. We did one night with mandalas before our July hiatus. I wondered: since Vera is so much more steeped in the Wisdom of Mandalas than I am, shall I take this to heart? There must be traditional Wisdom she was taught about Drawing from the Center in her effort to listen to G-D and Self in the manner of Carl Jung.
“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man.”
Carl Jung — Memories, Dreams and Reflections
Vera said “Start at the center.”
- My first thought? “I am sure my own way is just fine.”
- And my second? “Why not listen to the Center? Why not begin there?”
- And my third? “Pay attention in all things.”
And you? If you try this conglomeration of practices — Lectio/Mandala — please share your Wisdom. I am listening.
PS — “In such a time as this,” what GOOD is this? After the FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER rally yesterday, I continued to ponder this morning. “What is mine to do?” seems to always be my question. Here was the emerging mandala and haiku:
Self listens and speaks: golden
This was in part inspired by the fortune inside a fortune cookie on The Great British Bake-Off — watched while cooling down after demonstrating. 🙂
Speaking is silver; Listening is gold.
What am I to do? Clue: cutivate cross cultural relationships, hand in hand and face to face. Pitch in. Listen. That is my niche of activism.
Plans are percolating for building community as a volunteer at Model School….
Oh, and I started drawing from the center.