* For those who haven’t drank the coloring book Kool-Aid, let’s see if understanding the true purpose behind the original application of this activity sparks your interest.
As comparable to many American activities that have been adapted from other cultures, a significant portion of the activity has been lost, thus changing the true intent behind it. It is so often that I hear of Mandala pages being posted on walls as beautiful trophies to display the energy and time spent into the project. In this, I can understand the intrinsic nature to hold tightly onto something that provides you a sense of accomplishment and pride.
In contrast to the Americanized display of art, Tibetan monks routinely deconstruct every breath-taking and ornate Mandala they spend days/ weeks/ months creating. WHY?! I am immediately questioned by clients who are shocked by my explanation of this part of the ancient practice. Well, we are not supposed to be dependent on our physical creations and material objects for our sense of fulfillment and pride. The traditional deconstruction of each Mandala symbolizes the impermanent nature of existence in this physical world that we thrive and survive in.
Mind blown? Not understanding the big deal? I encourage you to test the waters. Click the above link and pick out a very personalized Adult Coloring page: one that will consume your time, energy and mind through completion. Focus only on the devotion to this page until it is finished. Spend 5-10 minutes appreciating your beautiful work and the degree of spiritual energy put into this piece of art. After your appreciation time is finished, safely deconstruct the page (feel free to get creative by tearing it into pieces, allowing it to dissolve in a sink of water, burning the page in a fireplace). While watching the physicality of your fulfillment dissolve, remain aware of your emotional connection to it. If you find yourself feeling low, sinking or a void of the contentment you previously felt, it may be a sign that you are too dependent on the physical embodiments around you for your own self-worth and fulfillment.
Good luck in your practice and thanks for joining me on this journey of comparison, history and focus on self-awareness!
Stephanie P. Bathurst, MA, LCMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist