Throughout the centuries, throughout the globe, different forms of culture have interwoven the circle into their walks of life. The circle, sometimes known as the mandala, is a reference in a number of cultures to the cyclical, unending nature of existence. These circles appear in spirituality, dance, music, and art, often times in both spontaneous and rehearsed manners. Different aspects of the circle have come to hold different meanings as they have been studied cross-culturally. Some of these observed qualities relate to location, direction, shape, line, and color. Joan Kellogg, author of Mandala: Path of Beauty, devoted her life to observing these cross-cultural uses of the circle and the relationship of creative qualities to different stages of consciousness. As well, research attests to the benefit of making mandalas in the reduction of anxiety, among many other benefits (even including somatic help, where some experienced an alleviation of pain through the therapeutic use of mandala-making.)
Some people have made mandala-making into a practice, such as by using a mandala-journal or having a scheduled task devoted to circular creation. Google “Tibetan Sand Art” to see the work of Buddhist monks who devote their lives to the spiritual process of creating (and not keeping) intricate mandalas made with sand. Many different kinds of people find mandala-making to be a centering task or a meditative experience. Consider taking time to observe the circles in your life and reflect on this experience. Another option would be to create your own circle, build it, walk it, draw it, say it. . . and observe what happens. Inform your mandala and let it inform you. It is yet another creative conversation, another way to learn on this ongoing journey.