Sand Mandala for Mindfulness
A meditation aid inspired by the epic sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists.
Tibetan Buddhist monks spend a long time producing large beautiful complex mandalas with sand. A mandala is a symbol representing the universe. They are sometimes composed of intricate, complicated geometric patterns. The Sand Mandala for Mindfulness emulates the slow process of creating a sand mandala, allowing you to spend time in the present moment, freeing the mind from other concerns. As with all meditation, you may feel the benefits throughout the rest of your day, but there is more on offer with the Sand Mandala for Mindfulness.
Meditation can create greater space between your thoughts, freeing the knots in your mind. The Sand Mandala for Mindfulness goes further: it reinforces the lesson of continuous progress through small steps. In life you may sometimes feel you are going nowhere, and your efforts are wasted. If your efforts are wisely directed, they are rarely wasted, and small contributions can have enormous effects later on.
Sand Mandala for Mindfulness as a basic meditation aid
Softly direct your eyes towards the screen. Some people may like to close their eyes and occasionally check the screen. There is nothing to be gained here by intently staring hard at the device, though you may choose occasionally to closely examine what is slowly emerging.
Gently stroke the screen with your finger. Do not rush. Every time you stroke the screen another grain of sand is added to your mandala. At first it may seem like there is only a sprinkling of dust on the screen, but over time the mandala will emerge.
THE MOST IMPORTANT INSTRUCTION
While gently, steadily stroking with your finger, bring your attention to your breathing. Feel every moment of each breath in, and each breath out.
Your mandala is composed of nine colours, contained in the visible ‘beakers’. After a while, you will see the sand in the beakers reduce, as you transfer it to the mandala. When a beaker is empty, the mandala has been completed for that particular colour. You might like to complete the mandala one beaker at a time, but be aware that some colours are present much more than others.
People who are new to meditation may choose to limit themselves to 5 or 10 minutes per session at the beginning. You may choose to use it to settle your mind into the present before continuing with the rest of your meditation. You may also choose to use it for your whole meditation practice, but ensure that you judge this wisely and that you are not straining your eyes or your patience.
If you find yourself becoming impatient, this is a wonderful opportunity to explore that sensation. Always paying attention to the breath, exploring the urge to leave the present moment can offer tremendous insight into ourselves. Also, many people experienced in meditation will tell you there is no such thing as boredom.
We have debated the best way to use this app. Different users will get different things out of it at different times – of course, this is true of all meditation. It is not intended to be a test of patience, or indeed a way to kill time, but those experienced in the ways of mindfulness know that this is also true of all meditation.
For those that care about such things, our mandala is mathematically produced and thus takes up nearly zero space on your phone. The mandala you reveal is stored in the app so that you may return to it, day after day.
Using the app for 20 minutes each day, performing 3 strokes every two seconds, would mean that you would be finished the given mandala in about a month on many mobile phones. Bigger devices, with higher screen densities, will have more grains of sand, and thus these users will get longer out of the app. Of course, at any stage you can uninstall and re-install the app to allow yourself to start again. The point, of course, is not to reach the destination, but to fully connect with ourselves in the present for a period of time each day.