I’ve been continuing to color mandalas for relaxation and personal centering over the last few months. In Eastern traditions, mandalas are used as a focus for meditation. The inherent coherence of these often complex figures can help the beholder to find his or her own inner coherence within a greater unity.
Coloring a mandala requires some hours of my focused attention. I sometimes listen to music while coloring, and even occasionally work with the TV on. But mostly I seek to avoid distractions and simply concentrate on the pattern. I’ve learned that I work better when I restrict my palette to just a few colors.
Early on, I noticed a positive physical relaxation when I started coloring. Ordinarily, I have an “essential tremor” that manifests with a shaking hand, noticeable while eating or writing longhand. When I begin coloring, the tremor miraculously disappears, no matter how long I stay with it. My acupuncturist tells me it’s because I’m using different brain pathways.
Another enjoyable part of coloring is sharing the activity with my spouse, and showing each other our latest efforts. I’ve also taken to photographing my finished products and sharing them with friends via text or email.
A close friends of ours, Alison Hammer, died last October after living a highly productive and creative last five years while dealing with metastatic breast cancer. Alison introduced many of us to the art and artistry of mandalas, carrying on with her marvelous creations into her last days. I was honored to receive a box of her favorite colored pencils as her legacy to me.
The book that my spouse and I are mostly using is called “Mandala Meditation Coloring Book”, published by Sterling Ethos in 2015.