MM8 Mandala Making as Co-Creation
Mandala Making as Co-Creation
Co-creating a Mandala with a partner or several people is an extremely rewarding experience. It is a gift of mutual discovery and a very graceful way to understand our relationships so that we can come to the best harmony. It is a highly successful technique for honoring and balancing partnerships and fostering group spirit.
With One Partner:
1 Prepare a peaceful and inspiring setting. Decide on the size of the mandala circle and trace it on the appropriate medium: paper, cardstock, canvas… Choose your art tools: color pencils, markers, water colors… You can even use a box of fine sand (you then use a chopstick or your finger as a pencil)…
2 Honor each other by bowing and blessing together your co-creative mandala adventure.
3 The technique is just to take turn. Decide who is going to start with a line, a point, a shape, or a color… Then the partner “responds”, either by continuing the same design or by starting another design somewhere else. You just keep responding to each other’s creative input and expanding on what is unfolding.
4 The two partners can keep silent & quiet, in a non-verbal way. Or they can allow for comments coming from the heart. Of course, it is preferable to abstain from suggesting to your partner what design they should do and where, so as to fully respect their creative spirit.
5 Sometimes, the designs start as two separate energies but, eventually, as the mandala space gets filled in, the two designs come to meet each other and start to dialogue and play. This is a very beautiful moment of encounter that can be quite subtle & delicate…
6 It can also be that, right away, the two designs are interacting together and build on each other in a free-form choreography, a beautiful dance of harmony. Soon you learn to anticipate your partner’s moves and blend with them. One person might be leading the design for a moment (active role) while the other modulates on it (passive role) and then roles change spontaneously, by intuitive inner accord, and each partner experiences in turn the active and passive part.
7 At some point, you will stop planning in your head and will find yourself engaged in the very playful moment of the creation, forgetting who is active or not, who even is holding the pen and then healing the apparent separation between two bodies and two personalities. Then, the true purpose of the practice will be fulfilled: harmonic oneness.
With a Group or Family:
This is a more complex situation potentially conducive to see some conflicts arise but also to solve them very quickly because of the group power and the protection of the sacred circle.
1. Prepare your group mandala making as above…
2. Decide on your basic co-creation strategy: you can either choose a free-form game where everyone can draw anywhere and, playfully & respectfully, interact with other people’s designs. Or you can choose a more structured way. It is suggested that, the first time (and specially with children), you start with a structured way (the “Garden” technique) and then, the next time, go for the free-form way.
3. The structured way of the “Garden” technique consists of dividing the mandala circle into “pie” sections according to the number of participants. Each player “takes ownership”: they choose the mandala pie section that will be their “garden plot” and start to “plant it” with their own shapes, colors, trees. people and symbols so that it soon looks like a full garden in bloom.
4. Allow each one to feel free to express themselves whichever way they choose, without comments from the others. Note: If you do the group mandala with small kids, you might want to make it a “rule” agreed upon: abstain from criticizing the neighbor’s design.
5. When the creative energy runs out, it is time to switch to phase #2. Every participant moves one spot to their left (clockwise) and start to add something to the design they find in front of them. And then signal for another move to the left etc… until all the players have added something to everyone else’s design.
6. Call it “finished” and hang the group mandala on the wall for everyone to see and call for spontaneous (and loving) group comments and/or a group dance celebration. Set the tone by highly praising the creativity of everyone.
7. Here, the whole group or family can see a full blossoming garden of colors, shapes, perceptions of reality, creative & emotional intelligence, projections, hopes and beautiful flowerings… that is an expressive image of the group spirit.
Single partner or group mandala co-creating
is a form of Harmony Yoga.
It is a good opportunity to focus upon understanding better about each other:
seeing the creative beauty and the open or hidden treasures in everyone.
A wonderful moment for compassionate support, praise,
group celebration and group or partner project making.
Mandala co-creating is teaching us attunement to others, deep listening,
cooperative respect, balance in action
and the joy of birthing together
something larger than our own individual life.