Mandalas and Doodling 

When I doodle – I draw flower based mandalas – I am not  sure that what I draw can technically be called ‘scribbling absent mindedly’ – the drawings are not perfect designs that use accurate concentric circles or realistic flowers. I started drawing them when I moved up to Edinburgh . I was a bit bored , lonely and wanted to improve my hand eye co-ordination. 

I have included examples of my circle obsession below in the form of doodles and photographs 


That was three years ago – I have been doing some research because I wanted to be more reflective about my rather excessive output. I tend to draw my ‘doodles’ on trains and planes – during stressful family situations and watching thrillers and suspense programs on the TV. In fact I have had to restrict my out put because I was getting repetitive stress pains in my hands 


Below are my research notes : 

Mandalas were first used in therapy by Carl Jung, who found that the act of drawing mandalas had a calming effect on patients while at the same time facilitating psychic integration. 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1931-3896.1.3.148

Powerful and centring expression 

Fascination with a circle 

Instrument of self reflection 

Spontaneity with which we create circles 

Drawing a mandala takes you through a multi sensory path of processing 

Colours that you use important and shapes can have meaning 

Personal growth as a cycle 

Analysing patterns in your life as a way to tap into my unconscious self 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1931-3896.1.3.148


 use of circular forms for meditation and self-exploration are found in several cultures and religions, such as Native American, Celtic, Aboriginal, and Christian (Olsen & Avital, 1992). 

Mandalas can represent spiritual wholeness and the equilibrium of all cosmic and life forces of our world, symbolizing the totality, including the outer as well as the inner forces 

Students who participated in drawing their own mandalas reported higher self- awareness, unbiased processing, and personal development, supporting the premisethat the mandala can be an effective tool for helping people facilitate greater self- awareness, and moving toward a higher level of psychological well-being.

http://jsc.montana.edu/articles/v14n6.pdf


These results demonstrate that the circular shape of the mandala serves as an “active ingredient” in mood enhancement (Anastasia Babouchkina and Steven J. Robbins 2015 ) 

Mandala is Sanskrit for magic circle.Used for meditation and contemplative purposes 

http://www.atpweb.org/jtparchive/trps-37-02-164.pdf


 Traditionally, mandalas served a spiritual purpose and more recently they have been adopted as an artform 

Karen and Henderson, Robyn (2010) 


A mandala ‘‘expresses the totality of the psyche in all its aspects, including the relationship between man and the whole of nature’’ (Jaffe, 1964. p. 266), and may be regarded as ‘‘an archetypal symbol reflecting the common neuropsychological inheritance of humankind’’ (DiLeo, 1983, p. 13). It also represents ‘‘the center of personality, a kind of central point within the psyche, to which everything is related, by which everything is arranged, and which is itself a source of energy’’ (Jung, 1959, p. 357).


 For Jung and others, mandalas often symbolize the Self, and appear sym- bolically to represent the striving for individuation, wholeness, and psychological integration through the reconciliation and unification of opposites (Arguelles & Arguelles, 1972; Clarke, 1994; Edinger, 1992; Fontana, 1993; Jung, 1959; Moacanin

have found that the construction of mandalas – particularly when drawn spontaneously – may be useful in the individuation process. Indeed, ‘‘the mandala image is not only a symbol of wholeness and healing, but can be actively employed as a means toward that end’’ (Clarke, 1994, p. 139). 


(Chandelier from Lodeve Cathedral France )

Research with infants conducted by Fantz & Miranda (1975) demonstrated that people are born with a desire to look at circles. Kohler (1992) also found that circles are more quickly perceived and recognized as meaningful. Children as young as two years of age draw circles, and by age three children begin assigning meaning to the circular forms they created (Kellog, 1967). Therefore, drawing mandalas taps into a child’s natural affinity for circles.


I was much struck the concepts around the striving for individuation and wholeness – I was amused that my ‘doodling ‘could be an active employment towards improving my wellbeing – I also liked the idea that we have a natural affinity for circles – means I am not as completely bonkers as I thought 

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3 thoughts on “Mandalas and Doodling 

  1. Informative and fascinating. This background knowledge gives added value to the process, doesn’t it? It is very interesting to know that both the maker of circles and the viewer of circles gain benefit – though probably not of the same degree – from the mandalas. Thanks for this great post. Now excuse me, I have to go and draw some circles.

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