Fast forward into late teenage years and I was deeply involved in spiritual searching, reading every book on mystical teachings that I ran across, investigating various religions and spiritual practices. Eventually, I began to see similar patterns to those that I had obsessively created as a child. It turns out that what I was drawing could be likened to a mandala.
Mandala (मण्डल) is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions, their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the shape of a T. In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective. (Wikipedia)Wikipedia) Although a mouthful to speak, those shapes are basically representing the same beautiful patterns found in mandalas.
Wikipedia) This was another device that could keep me entranced for endless hours, gazing at the ever changing patterns and colors inside that magical cylinder.
Why did I begin creating these shapes and designs at a very young age with no example to follow? I have my own thoughts on that. One thought is that something within me simply resonated with the geometrical logic found in the repeating shapes. Another thought is that I was recreating shapes from another time, memories embedded in the layers of my Spirit. Both thoughts make complete sense to me, as I have always been drawn to the concepts of Buddhism.
Whatever the reason was that drove me as a small child to create mandala-esque drawings is not completely known. Having been slightly different in mindset from that very early age, I look back and am rather impressed with the fact that I never deviated from my focus, no matter the questions or criticisms of those early drawings. There was something within that drew me deeply into spiritual studies that continue to this day. And to this day, grabbing pencils and sketch pad to trace out another whirling wheel of color and shape pleases me and centers me. Mandala memories remain a constant and continue to focus my consciousness as they appear to have done for others in centuries past.
*Disclaimer: no financial gain occurred from the mention of the product Spirograph (TM) in this blog article.