On the weekend, I had a conversation with someone considering hosting a mandala workshop for their community. They asked me what exactly happens at a mandala workshop, so I thought it might be worth letting you all know.
The mandala workshops offered generally last for three hours. They begin with an introductory session providing information about some aspect of the use of mandalas. Being a universal symbol, there is much to share. In the introductory workshops I try to give an overview of the use of mandalas that only touches on these different aspects. In subsequent workshops we can delve deeper into their use in various spiritual traditions, cultures and psychology.
After a time for questions and discussion, we then prepare to create our own mandala. The different tools and media available are introduced to the group and some suggestions given for how to begin. The group is lead in a short, guided meditation that links in with the theme of the workshop. Participants begin to create their own mandala. Sometimes this is slow process and at other times it happens quite quickly. I have seen participants walk away with one unfinished mandala and at other times with three they have completed in the time. It is the process that is important, not the final product.
The creative time is spent in quiet. Occasionally there is need to talk with others, but we try to allow each person to maintain their own space. Refreshments are available throughout this time and we usually play some soft music to create a contemplative atmosphere.Towards the end of the workshop we gather again as a group to reflect on the process. People are invited to share as little or as much as they would like. Creating a mandala can be a very personal and emotional experience. It can often be a time of healing and self discovery. We aim to create a safe place for sharing.
Participants in the workshops do not have to be "arty". In fact, it is often an advantage not to be. Unlike creating an artwork, the importance is not about choosing the right colours or using the correct techniques. There are no rules! So, if you think your community would enjoy hosting a mandala workshop let me know. We can tailor it to the needs of your group.