The Great Mandala

Creating and destroying a mandala

Creating and destroying a mandala

A mandala is a colorful symbol for the entire world. The creation of a mandala is a traditional Buddhist meditation practice. Its creation is often time-consuming with much attention paid to intricate details of the design. The pattern is often made with colored sand that can be swept away with the slightest breeze. The point being that you can invest a lot of time and effort to creating something of beauty and part of its beauty is that it is impermanent. The creation and destruction are just as important as the mandala itself. And being attached to any of these parts can bring suffering.

Much as a mandala is a symbol for the entire world, the word mandala means circle, connection, and community. I like to think of writing a blog to be a mandala. I enjoy the process of creating and writing. I enjoy the finished post and being on a blog it is simultaneously obsolete and uniquely pertinent upon the click of the publish button. It can be easily lost forever with a few errant keystrokes. It only holds the attention of the reader for a blink and the writer is finished with it, so looks to the next reading and writing task.

A piece of writing that is so easily swept away by the slightest key stroke can also be smeared by a misunderstanding by the writer or a miscommunication by the author. The design of the words can be so carefully crafted, but once it is done, they no longer belong to the writer and can be destroyed at any time.

Conversely, the impermanence of the design must be treated with great care. Even after they have been brushed aside, the memory can remain to harm or heal. While pouring in the grains of words, the writer must remember the point of publishing online: to create connection. Even posts designed to be provocative, if they’re shared, are meant to reinforce the basic human need for tribe.

I think of my post here as an offering to my circle of community, whether we have connected before or not. My words are here, like every other blog post written by anyone else, to say, “I am here. Are you?” Authors may not realize when they are writing, but this is the question they ask when they click publish.

The beauty of this interconnected world I can see in my mind’s eye looking down on the entire world.

Little lights connecting between us all, creating the most beautiful mandala.

Creation and Destruction

Creation and Destruction

If you write, have you ever considered why you do it? Even if you never show it to another person, do you think the ambivalent permanence and impermanence of recording your thoughts can be like the creation and destruction of a mandala? I would love to hear from you.

NaBloPoMo 2011

3 thoughts on “The Great Mandala

  1. I have considered why I write, and for me it has a lot to do with the creation of community, but beyond that it’s because the process of writing and all that goes into it is therapeutic for me. It keeps my mind sharp, it keeps me analyzing, thinking, and questioning. It gives me a chance to reflect when I would otherwise be marching on, forgetting to learn from my day to day. I alternate between appreciating this and asking myself why I put so much time and effort into something so impermanent. So much of what I, and many other bloggers lovingly create is relevant only as long as it remains on the main page of my site. It sparks conversation for a moment, and then disappears into my archives.

    Looking at it in the context of the mandala and the cycle of creation and destruction makes it so much easier to appreciate the value of this work. It’s a beautifully apt comparison!

    • Thank you for your insights, Melissa. That is a beautiful way of explaining what writing gives you. It makes me think of this quote I came across again recently, “We write to taste life twice: in the moment and in retrospection.”

      ~Anais Nin

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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