By Cheshire Que
Do you feel the need to relax and relieve your stress? Perhaps you need an avenue to express how you feel or want to discover more about yourself in a creative way. There are various ways to achieve these things, one of which is through art.
According to a study conducted by Deirdre Heenan, art as a therapy course was credited with improvements in self-esteem and self-confidence. It provided a safe space for reflection on mental health issues. Furthermore, art therapy addresses mental health issues in a supportive, positive, non-clinical environment that can encourage and facilitate empowerment and recovery through accessible creative programs.
Professor Amos V. Manlangit from the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines Diliman, is on a journey of helping individuals maximize their expression and communication, enhance creativity, manage stress, and nurture their wellbeing by integrating his training in the fine arts and pursuing the arts-based approach.
“I teach Mandala Visioning Exercise by merging two important concepts which allow students or participants to identify their own core values drawn by revisiting their personal history or life stories and expressing it through mandala painting on Capiz plates,” explained Prof. Manlangit.
With the countless forms of art available to us, you might be wondering what makes mandala special. Mandala art goes way back in our history. Ancient artists have done this kind of practice for the longest time. In the advent of psychology during the 20th century, Mandalas were found to be helpful in processing emotions. The mandala serves a purpose to its maker; it has become an activity of intense value that encompasses culture, philosophy, and time.
When asked to describe what a mandala is, Prof. Manlangit said, “Mandala is a diagram created by patterns, symbols, shapes, and representational elements arranged in a uniform manner, showing balance and a harmonious design. But this is just not an ordinary arrangement of a two-sided balance. It talks about symmetry in four sides or quadrants.”
He further shares three areas by which mandalas are considered of great value:
The first area by which mandalas become valuable is through its artistry and aesthetic experience. By arranging them in fours, you can achieve a radial pattern that stabilizes the composition from any of its sides. It gives a certain kind of harmony that balances the work in multiple levels. Colors will also need to balance each other, thus, being applied in synchrony on the quadrants. Finally, the rich use of pictography and symbolism personalizes the process. The center sets the theme of the mandala and all images should relate with each other in order to unify the whole.
Mandala making can provide a holistic experience that can rejuvenate from the stress and disorientation caused by the modern world. It has a mindfulness benefit especially when the art-maker is induced to a creative flow.
Another dimension why people make mandalas is for its psychological importance. Mandalas are said to help in contemplation, discernment, and self-discovery. Psychologist Carl Jung made extensive studies on mandalas and realized how deeply rooted circles are in the process of centering—unifying one’s thoughts and feelings. One can achieve self-reintegration and balance by exploring dualities, dreams, and inner thoughts inherent in the creative process.
Finally, mandalas are revered for its cultural and spiritual significance. All over the world, they are present whether in churches, temples, mosques or even on the streets. It plays a role in various religions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism among others. Mandalas are universal forms that can be appreciated for its value in culture and faith.
Today, mandala making can provide a holistic experience that can rejuvenate from the stress and disorientation caused by the modern world. It has a mindfulness benefit especially when the art-maker is induced to a creative flow. Placing in meaning and emotions can help in communication and self-expression. It is said that ultimately, one’s art is an extension of the self, thereby allowing mandalas to manifest the inner character. Indeed, Mandala making can be a good opportunity to create art with meaning, as well as, promote mental wellbeing.
To know more about how Mandala making can help you emotionally and psychologically, visit www.amosmanlangit.weebly.com.