Archives for January 2016 | Monthly InSpirations by Fiona

InSpire - January/February 2016

As we move into the new year, let’s embrace The Mandala Principle….A universe of mandalas in and around us….

“The word mandala literally means “round” or “circular”, but it is sometimes glossed as manda meaning essential essence, and la meaning the periphery. Mandalas work in terms of centre and periphery, or centre and emanation. At the centre is the basic organising principle, which is something active and powerful. Symbolically, the basic principle is often represented by a dot.”
(Taken from Never Turn Away, by Rigdzin Shikpo)

How can we understand and embody this Mandala Principle?
Each being is her own mandala - she is mandalas within mandalas. At the centre of our essential mandala is the active, powerful organising principle - let’s translate this as our Hara. The grounded, rooted aspect of our essential emotional being. Emanating from this centre are the connections, Samayas, connecting our interwoven network of Mandalas throughout our body structure, right out to the boundary of the physical being.

“A living mandala is something dynamic, not a piece of fixed geometry, and it is that life-energy exchange that holds it all together. That energy flows along connections or bonds called samayas.” So, Samayas are not only the life-energy pathways that hold our interwoven personal mandalas together, but also connect us to the world around us - the broader mandala spectrum, the interpersonal bonds we are born into, create and are exposed to throughout this lifetime, and perhaps beyond….

A mandala is dynamic - there is a constant energy exchange between the inside and the outside, and between the different elements in and around us. The mandalas are endless…the human body is a mandala, as is every individual cell from which it is made - a group of cells; a body system; an organ; a connection of systems and organs working together….until we reach the emotional periphery.
Through the yoga practice we can aim for balance, and a healthy exchange between mandalas. This balance on an inner level, affects all levels of the mandala-interconnectedness. This, in tern, affects our interpersonal connections with other mandalas beyond our own personal being. It is important, for harmony, that there is unity between these parts. “The unity of the centre, periphery, and their exchange of life-energy is greater than the sum of its parts.”

“The most obvious example of a mandala is you in your world. You are in the centre of your world. Everything that appertains to you is the energy, or power, of that mandala. All your belongings and attachments make up the central body of the mandala. Outside the boundaries of your mandala are the external things over which you have no control or that you want nothing to do with. The boundary is the emotional area made up of all decisions and dilemmas around which is or isn’t yours.”

How can we relate this principle to our yoga practice?
Firstly, moving with awareness and openness, vigor and persistence. Relaxing into the experience of moving, even when it is challenging on the connections where blockages might be more intense.
Accepting that awareness naturally ebbs and flows, and despite this we can still encourage focused awareness within ourselves, not simply blaming suffering on negative emotions like hatred, greed, desire, and insensitivity toward others and ourselves. As emotions arise, we can simply experience them as they are, without giving them a context to live out through. We then connect to the breath - breathing in from the inner mandala, and breathing out into openness and spaciousness of the external mandalas around us.


Image: Mandala principle - Copyright Jürgen Weiland