The Art of Mandala Meditation: Mandala Designs to Heal Your Mind, Body and Spirit by Michal Beaucaire (of Israel) with art by Paul Heussenstamm (California) isn't a quilt book, but its more than 80 beautiful mandalas are a feast of artistic inspiration. Interweave Press generously sent me a copy to review and give away on the blog, and I've been soaking in the colors every day since it arrived.
The book opens with Getting Started, which describes the use of meditation, guided imagery and gazing at the mandalas. In case you're wondering what a mandala is ... "Mandala is a Sanskrit word: manda=essence, la=within; it is a circle that contains the essence."
Each full-page mandala, printed in saturated, glossy color on its own 8-inch-square page, has a meditation on the facing page for targeting everything from diabetes ...
to cold feet ...
Besides mandalas for a myriad of physical problems, there is a section on Meditations for the Soul. These particularly could be useful for all artists to help us relax and open ourselves to inspiration and free us from the dreaded "artist's block."
Here's a sample meditation, this one for Relaxing by Connecting to Nature (photo above):
"Look for a tree in the vicinity of your home ... Position yourself so that you can see the tree clearly and make yourself comfortable. If the tree is in your own yard, lie down under it, weather permitting.
Practice the breathing exercise a the beginning of 'Meditations for the Soul,' practicing it twice in a row.
Focus on the color green and the movement of the leaves, listen to the whisper of the leaves in the wind, and connect to this tranquility.
With each breath you take, inhale serenity into yourself.
Allow the tree to calm you, by itself, by its own movement, with the green and the sky in the background.
Hold this for as long as it is pleasant, as you inhale deeply.
Close your eyes and imagine your tomorrow to be full of joy.
Take five more deep breaths and open your eyes."
The delicate rose-lavender and gold mandala, above, is for Positive Thinking: Meditation for Enlightened Thought Process. Its instructions include gazing at the center of the mandala for at least four minutes, filling your mind with its colors, then closing your eyes and imagining that you are surrounded by every possible shade of orange. It ends with:
"Fill your thought reservoir with orange, with vitality, with positive attitude and joy."
There even are mandalas for the signs of the zodiac. My blue-violet Sagittarius mandala is OK, but I have Leo envy. I want that warm golden yellow!
A useful section toward the end on Creating Your Own Mandalas gives advice on color and design. Eight full-page templates are included, which you could copy and color in a variety of ways. This section alone is incredibly useful for visual artists. The artist, Paul Heussenstamm, also invites you to visit the website www.mandalas.com for more ideas.
Given that the book is categorized under New Age, be prepared for sections on crystals, chakras, ritual water immersion and Kabbalism. If this isn't your cup of tea, just focus on the art.
I give it two thumbs up and invite you to leave a comment if you'd like to be in the drawing to receive a copy. I'll randomly pick a name this weekend and contact the winner.
Have a colorful day!