Life as Mandala: Creating Sacred Space
When we create a mandala in our ownday-to-day life we focus our attentionand build that part of our life morecarefully and with greater detail thanelsewhere. We do it with love, concern,and care. Like a perfectly made guitar orlute, whatever is made with love andcare somehow reflects the specialattention that went into making it.Perhaps the guitar plays better, lasts
longer, “exists” more or „shines‟ in some
difficult-to-describe manner.There are things in life that we pour allour self into and it shows. They shine. Achild is a mandala. We each makemandalas all the time whenever we take
the time to do anything with care. I can‟t
prove it, but I know that the things I do inlife with my full attention and with greatlove and care are more meaningful andworthwhile to me than what I domindlessly and with no care. I makeparts of my life sacred by how I go aboutdoing them. And they last or existsomehow more strongly. Again, they
The Zen Buddhists are way into the ideaof doing everything with mindfulnessand great care. And it can happen allthe time and anytime. That is whatmeditation, chanting, mantras, and allritualized gestures are all about
clarifying space, making it sacred andspecial, making it shine.
As I look back over my life, it is clearthat I created some pretty elaboratespaces or mandalas myself. My wholebachelorhood in Ann Arbor, mysingleness, years as a musician, yearsas an intellectual, and so on were likean elaborate mandala or ceremonyenacted to draw forth from the universemy life partner Margaret, like a greatsong or chant. I did not know I wasdoing this at the time. It was instinctual.
I find it amazing that within about amonth of being married I left the housewhere I had lived for some seven years,I stopped playing music professionally(after over six years of performing), Isold my enormous collection of booksand music albums, AND I moved out ofmy much-loved town of Ann Arborcompletely. Gone. My entire Ann Arbormandala was swept away in a few shortweeks. How was that possible?
My view is that it was possible becausethe moment Margaret appeared in mylife, the reason I was performing theritual of searching for her, waiting forher, and calling her forth from thecosmos was fulfilled. I may not haveeven been consciously aware of what Ihad been doing. My single life as aneligible bachelor and man about townwas a question in itself, a question beingasked of the universe that wasanswered by Margaret. At that point, theentire mandala was finished and quitenaturally dissolved.
In the last thirty years I have createdanother very large mandala with ourcenter here in Big Rapids. It is extremelydetailed, worked out, and it shines. Theday will come when that mandala toowill deconstruct and vanish from theworld, just as it once appeared.Mandalas really are like flowers thatbloom and then fade. They are their ownreason to be. These are grand gesturesmade to inject a little eternity into time,like great calls echoing across time thatbring forth a response commensuratewith how carefully they were made.Mandalas offerings are their own reasonand reward
the simple clarity of beingpresent.