From the Mandala Zone
A Density of Particles:
The Mandala as Mirror of Inner and Outer Self
The essential identity of the mandala can be most simply described as a density of particles around a central point, the bindu, which serves as a focus for all the rest. The bindu itself represents the observer as an individual point in the universe. It offers a calm and stable place from which to experience the world, revealing an alcove of silence and serenity amid chaotic surroundings. Enveloping the bindu, the mandala’s particles can be arranged into an infinite variety of patterns. As a result, each and every potential alignment of points in the mandala has a real universal complement. Yet it is not the specific composition of points in any individual mandala that is important, but rather its inherent structure. It need not be perfectly round or symmetric or even pleasing to fulfill its purpose, it must only be. Its very existence serves to represent the Universe as Microcosm, in all its wondrous splendor, to translate the infinite majesty of the Cosmos for communion with the human mind.
The mandala is a reflection of the true face of the Universe—its intricacy, its patterns, its nested systems, its natural beauty. A sea of particles spans the Universe and each point in that ocean is the center of a vast, Cosmic mandala that stretches endlessly in every direction. Since there is no absolute center to the Universe, every point is a center, and every element is part of an intricate and harmonious pattern. This includes us, our bodies and our minds, which have evolved from the constant, continual movement of the essence of the Universe. This never-ending evolution which guides the Universe so fluidly is found in the mandala as well—every mandala ever created and every one yet to be made holds a place in the fabric of energy that flows through us and through everything that exists.
It is in the nature of the Universe to create mandalas, and it has done so since the very beginning of time. The basest particles of the Cosmos create mandalas in the form of atoms, so simple in their design yet so amazing in their potential for complexity. These atoms join to form molecules and these in turn to dance and spin in a choreography of gravity and form until their mass and mutual attraction swirl them into glowing spheres of stellar fire… stars whose blazing brilliance are glorious mandalas to behold. And as these cosmic motes continue their dance, the center brightens, burning hotter and hotter—the bindu center of a fiery mandala, ever shifting, ever new. In turn these lovely star mandalas cluster closer, flowing freely yet within the perfect laws of physics… thousands, millions, billions more until a galactic mandala of unimaginable proportions is born and lives and breathes, in its way, to swim along through the infinity of space.
And the galaxies themselves join together to form vast galactic clusters and superclusters and certainly on into scales we can not yet know. The pattern is clearly established. Each step along the way from subatomic particles to boundless universal structures is wonderfully illustrated as a mandala that arises naturally from the form and behavior of the Universe. It is no wonder, then, that these images resonate so deeply within us, that they fill us with wonder at their beautiful expressions of universal truths.
The key to this connectivity is the often forgotten fact that we are an integral component of the Universe ourselves. Western thinking has created a scenario for Humanity in which our species has evolved here on Earth as if it were a stage production nestled within the dark and distant theater of space. We study ourselves, and we study the Universe, as if we were not essentially looking at the same thing. Yet we, just as the planets and the stars, are a natural product of the development of the Universe. We arose from universal processes as did the sun, in no more mysterious or mystical a manner. This does not take away from the wonder that is Humanity, on the contrary—to realize that the motes of the Universe, the very subatomic particles that were present at the beginning, can somehow come together to make a person with beating heart and thinking brain and awareness of his place within that selfsame Universe, is a truly awe-inspiring concept. To quote the wonderful Desiderata, “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars.” We are of the Universe, not simply in it, and we must remember that crucial distinction if we are ever to achieve enlightenment as a species. Humanity is but an element in the vast Universal Mandala, and as such relies on all the other elements, as much as upon itself, for lasting spiritual harmony.
Once we recognize this unity between the space around us and the space within us, it is a natural step to see how intimately mandalas can describe our inner selves. Every element of our awareness as we move about our lives is as a particle in the Universe, motes that we are often not adept at keeping organized within our mindspace. Modern life is a loosely-controlled chaos, and the mandala is a serene and peaceful pattern against which we can rest our weary defenses. The Universe around us is, by definition, evolving perfectly according to its own laws, while the Universe within us is muddled and confused by the trappings of society and the inconsistencies of consciousness. But this distinction between internal and external is an illusion. We have forgotten that All is truly One, and that we are each other as much as we are ourselves. The mandala is the embodiment of that inherent unity.
A beautiful mandala in its own right, the human form—body and spirit, matter and energy—represents the Universe with wondrous precision, for in our selves vibrate the very motes of time and space, the flowing wave of constant change that is at the heart of the Cosmos. We, too, are a density of particles, the very particles that stretch across the Universe, from beginning to end, to come together in the wondrous combination that is Humanity. The mandala mirrors this joyous Universal harmony of which we are clearly a part; it is the very essence of serenity and contentment. It shows us—or rather reminds us of—the essential form of our ancient and innermost Self, because it is a reflection of the Universe as a whole and thus an image of our own spiritual unity with the Cosmos.
Within the mandala is the center—every possible center—that has been lost from the human experience, from our collective unconscious. It can be our focal point to reconnect with that center, which would reveal, at long last, our unity with the Universe. And therefore, finally, our unity with each other.