Thich Nhat Hanh. Living Buddha, Living Christ (1995)
At The Light Tree we have been cultivating mindfulness as the central core of our spiritual practice. Most recently, we have been experimenting with the creation of mandalas using gouache paint on watercolor paper. This ancient art form encourages us to be mindful in the present moment; ego becomes distracted by the painting process as we relax and listen to our inner guidance.
This reflection emerged from Christine as she became aware of an inner transformation during this process. She was reconsidering an old and almost forgotten mandala that she had started during a different stage of her life. Her present-centered awareness appears in italics.
“… brought out my mandala today after dabbling with it only a few times in the last 4 years. I was taken into the ring outside the ‘Palace Walls ‘with red drops.
Red started to move up and out a little as I found myself going over the brown double helixes that were already there. The dry brush gradually became more fluid as I started retracing the marks I had made several years ago. This part felt ‘old’ but began to flow as I expanded outward by moving around and around this area. I found myself loosening the old images with fresh paint using gentle but firm brush strokes.
"Undoing’ came to mind, unraveling, that I don’t have to retrace old patterns…‘Loosen up, flow, dance, let go…’ It felt really good, like coming home. I noticed myself breathing more freely; relaxing, slowing down…it felt really good!”
Blue hearts sprinkled dancing in the silver of the ‘
’. Perhaps this reflects the heaviness in my heart at times these days. What is beneath the blue heaviness, the belief underlying the story? Regret that I could have done things differently? Perhaps it is guilt and shame stemming from a false belief that I did something wrong… Palace Garden
“In Truth, there is no separation (I need to forgive and release that one). There is no loss… we are complete in True Oneness. When think we value something but it eludes our grasp, it can only be for release. When we hold onto old, outdated, ideas we are in a state of resistance; this is where our suffering lies.”