If you speak to an economist, he’ll tell you it’s all economics. If you speak to a psychologist, she’ll say it’s all psychology. And if you ask an art major, he’ll say it’s all art… And so on. Each college student who majors in the field of their choice begins to see the world defined by that field. And they are all right, because these subjects really are in everything we do—if we just open our eyes to them.
Most of the time, if you ask me, I’ll say “it’s all geometry.” Although I happen to see the world through art, psychology, and marketing as well. (Aren’t they so related?)
Why geometry? I spent years dancing. I spent years aware of my body’s movement through space. Our body is always in a mathematical space. This affects the wiring in our brain. Most of us can move, so most of us develop a wiring that reflects the x-y-z axis that we navigate through. This is a part of our subconscious, at the very least. If we are classically trained dancers, then we have an even more organized understanding of the 4 directions around our body: front, back, side, side. And we become more aware of the levels of height: ground, above ground, higher above ground. We may not realize that we are talking about the x-y-z axis, but we are. Our brain gets wired to see the world through this axis.
But this formula is not just in movement. It is also in music. Measures are usually divided into four counts, like the four directions. Scales go up and down.
I am reminded of the question of the chicken vs. the egg—what came first? Were we born with this wiring to a small degree, enough to create such music? Or did we experience the world in such a way and therefore create music in this (typical) arrangement?
There is so much potential for doing many wonderful studies that could answer these questions. However, I am going to guess now, without the aid of studies, the following:
I believe that we are born with very little “x-y-z wiring” except whatever we are exposed to from the womb. I believe that our experience in space can help us form the first understandings of the x-y-z axis. And I believe that from there, it becomes very easy to invent music in a similar formula. And that is why so much of our understandings of one subject seem connected to other subjects. (I recall a study from animal studies that cats cannot perceive horizontal or vertical lines unless they are exposed to this image at a certain young age. That’s not enough, but I’m using this information to assume that early exposure to some organized structure is important.)
This all connects to mandalas.
When I began to draw heart mandalas, I invented them myself. I had never seen mandalas. If they were in carpets in Las Vegas, which I don’t think they were, then I didn’t notice them. I think Las Vegas carpets have repeat patterns, but the mandalas, if they are there, are not something that I would have noticed. I am only now actively looking at patterns around me. But I drew them before I cared to look at any pattern on any surface. That means that there was something intuitive about that form, something that made sense, that reflected whatever was within me. (I was actually extremely surprised when I saw another mandala… And this was before the recent technology made drawing them so easy and the style so popular for textiles.)
The mandalas that I drew typically had four quadrants. I did create some that had a different number of chambers, organized around a central radius, with repeating units emanating from them. However, I enjoyed most the “easy” structure of 4 chambers. Because I did not study this art form, and I had no concept of the word “mandala,” I believe that the art was a natural reflection of the wiring within. And I believe I had this wiring after years of exposure to dancing to music. This means that dancing and music helped form structures in my mind that were very geometrical.
After years of drawing mandalas by hand, and later by computer, I finally came across the word mandala. And as I researched it, I came across Carl Jung’s Mandala Symbolism. Carl Jung knew that mandalas are an intuitive form that reflects something from the human psyche. And he understood that they are very therapeutic. But he did not understand what makes them therapeutic. This is something that only I can explain.
The mandala is a reflection of the balance between our need for logic and order vs. our need for the aesthetic and creative. I don’t mind calling them the right vs. left brain hemispheres. I have never looked inside the brain to guarantee that one is more creative and the other more logical. However, I do admit that this seems to be the general tug of war. And so for practical purposes, to be brief, I don’t mind calling the two dichotomies the right and left hemispheres. However, the point is not really to divide and categorize the thoughts and actions we do into one hemisphere or the other. The point is that a mandala helps us balance actions that have a certain tug and pull in our mind.
Carl Jung thought mandalas helped people with problems, like issues with one parent vs. the other. He thought they came out of people’s dreams. He thought mandalas reflected an attempt to unify a personality with schisms. But he had no idea how.
I have to point out that even the healthiest personalities benefit from mandalas! When one works on a mandala from scratch, if it has no color, then the decisions about where to create the pattern and where to break the pattern are an ongoing balancing act. This need to organize by logic and add aesthetic satisfy the wiring in our mind—along this very intuitive wiring of how we see our universe—in an x-y-z-axis. We may not be able to control the plants (and their destruction through global warming), the weather, or the budget. But we can control a microcosm of x-y-z and we can make it organized and beautiful at the same time.
If we work on the mandalas in color, then we are faced with even more decisions of pattern and aesthetic. The amount of decisions is infinite. However, the tug of war we go through in our brain leads to a satisfying, tangible result– a piece of art that is pretty and very organic, very reflective of our own inner needs for balance.
Carl Jung did not listen to the thought process in an artist’s mind as the artist creates a piece of art. This thought process is an ongoing balancing act between the right and left hemispheres. That is why it is so therapeutic and satisfying to create art.
This tug of war is in every action we do. However, if we are working in a field that does not permit this balance, we may find our actions stressful. We are wired to find balance. We need it. We cannot just write logical memos to the boss unless we can break a few rules and add a smile face, an extra exclamation, or a silly joke. We know we have to edit those out. But we just feel obliged to put them in. And if the boss is strict, if he expects work that is wholly left-brained, if he has to answer to stock holders, then he will not tolerate an extra exclamation mark!!! Because the rules allow just one. And some people think the world will fall apart without these rules.
Such people often find yoga later in life, and end up breathing out loudly in class. They try to break the rules they once learned never to do. They try to balance out their hemispheres.
Anyway, I recommend buying my heart mandala books and game pieces. You can order hearts in plastic or in wood. You can build infinite mandalas with these pieces. You can never make a mistake! The hearts are a very unique design. You can overlap them in ways that fit perfectly. No other heart can overlap like these. They are my trademark hearts and they are available for licensing. The wood pieces will allow you to color them yourself, if you want. You can also order my Heart Mandala books. I created several in the series, from coloring books, to brain teasers that have unique mandala patterns with breaks in the pattern that you have to find, to game books. Explore all my books and please don’t forget to write your reviews and comments on Amazon and on this website! Thank you!