In a graduate school that has a large student body studying art therapy, it is no surpise that the mandala is used both in and outside the classroom. In Archetypal Psychology the counseling and art therapy students create personal mandalas and follow their progress in the class visually.
In a mindfulness practice, when it is difficult to even imagine being still, creating a a mandala can guide a person to reflection and centeredness that can bring the same inner awareness that a sitting meditation can bring. One way I have seen this occur is when a theme is chosen such as grief, compassion, gratitude or clarity. While holding the theme in awareness, an outline of the mandala is drawn (a simple circle). Then, the mandala is filled with colors, lines, circles, and images that resonate with this theme.
I have a lovely mandala on the theme of grief in my office. It was created by a friend of SWC – Kristy Gjesme. She is an artist from the San Juan Islands in Washington, and studied expressive art therapy in Seattle. She also created the mandala in this post called “Mindfulness.” Thank you Kristy!