Carl G. Jung, depth psychologist, was known quite simply to his friends as “the Shaman”. To Jung we owe a vast debt for his exploration of consciousness, including his own early bouts with what appears to have been borderline psychosis. He discovered, from Eastern philosophy, the Mandala, and used it extensively in his own seal-healing journeys.
Above all, Jung discovered the extraordinary role of the Mandala, in containing the Psyche within safe boundaries which made its creative life possible, and which also facilitated healing processes – within his own shamanic journey and in therapeutic sessions with his patients.
Here, I explore further the Mandala as a sacred vessel within which we gather our experiences here on Earth and then move them towards a Center – all this orchestrated by the Higher Self. As we gather in experience, we grow, learn, and transform in ever-higher stages of spiritual evolution.
The Structure of All Consciousness
The Mandala is the living form within which all consciousness – including the Creator – seems to exist.
At the level of the Soul, the Mandala encloses the Soul and each of its Personalities – or Psyches – in different lifetimes inside a personalized Boundary within which Identity-Making can take place.
Here, within the living Circle, we experience and weave together our unique explorations of Life as both Psyche and Soul.
“The origin of the mandala is the center, a dot. It is a symbol apparently free of dimensions. It means a ‘seed’, ‘sperm’, ‘drop’, the salient starting point. It is the gathering center in which the outside energies are drawn, and in the act of drawing the forces, the devotee’s own energies unfold and are also drawn. Thus it represents the outer and inner spaces. Its purpose is to remove the object-subject dichotomy. In the process, the mandala is consecrated to a deity.” From Mandala, Sacred Geometry In Buddhist Art by Nitin Kumar at Exotic India.
Mandala As Movement * The Cycles of Birth and Death
The journey by a Self (Psyche) in each lifetime creates new experiences to be assimilated by the Soul.
Without these creative explorations and their explosions of experience, there could be little material for the Mandala to gather in as a Sacred Circle, nor for the Higher Self to draw towards Itself, as the Center of the Circle and Bridge to the Soul. The Karmic Wheel is actually a Sacred Circle, and we move within it as the Mandala of the Soul. The Wheel is not, therefore, a burden, but a gift.
The Mandala gathers our experience in a pattern marked by the coming in and the going out – cycles in which each phase has its own purpose within the expanding, always-mysterious Whole. Built into the Mandala of Consciousness are cycles of Activity and Rest.
The cycle we are most familiar with is the Birth and Death of each Self in a lifetime spent on Earth. And within the span of each lifetime, we see smaller cycles of Beginnings and Endings -mini-Mandalas on their own. Thus the cycle of Birth and Death is a natural form which Consciousness takes at all levels of existence.
The Lacy Web * Living Intelligence and Love
The Mandala is living vibrating energy. It forms our personal part of what Shamans have always called the Lacy Web – what may be the fabric of Space-Time or something beyond Space and Time.
Because, from both a spiritual and scientific perspective, it seems that this fabric is actually a fusion of Mind and Matter. It is not surprising, therefore, that this Web – the Mind of the Creator extended in Forms of Matter – pulsates not only with Intelligence, but also with Love.
Because we are embedded in a Web of Love and intelligence, we encounter the phenomena of synchronicity, in which one part of the Web of our experience can and does communicate with another – in ways which are not only intellectually meaningful, but can also bring tears of recognition, joy, inspiration, consolation, and awe.
And this communication does not go unnoticed at another level of our Being. For, as we become aware of the patterns of meaning in our life – as we begin to recognize “things happen for a reason” – we sense we are living our lives in some kind of partnership.
At the Center of the Mandala, of this Sacred Circle, Something or Someone seems to be drawing all the various elements of our life experience and of our Psyche toward the Center where it is transformed as part of an ever-growing Whole.
This Someone, this organizing, guiding – above all loving – Presence, is universally recognized and often called simply The Higher Self. It seems to be a very personalized version of our Soul which accompanies each new Self into a lifetime in matter, here on Earth.
The gathering in of all our lived experiences toward the Center of the Circle begins far from the Center, but still within the safe boundaries of the Mandala structure.
At the raw boundaries of experience, we begin sorting and filing it – refining our understanding through naming our experiences and working with them through the medium of emotional and intellectual forms.
Some of this experience is kept at close hand in the Conscious Mind, some will be stored in the Unconscious Mind, to be retrieved at some point in time when its place in the Mandala, the growing body of Consciousness, can assimilate it.
Again, it is the Higher Self Who keeps track of all these movements of the Psyche. To do this, the Higher Self works as a Shaman, forming a living bridge between the Conscious and Unconscious Self. The contents of these, and the delicate balance between them, change and evolve in response to raw experience, and to its transformation in meditation, therapy, dream work, and so on.
Our Personalized Program
And, it is the Higher Self Who alerts us, informs us, and advises us about the life of our Soul and the current processes ongoing in our Personality.
It does all of this through a vast array of symbolic languages, primarily of dreams, meditation, visions, and of course, synchronicities – those inspiring, attention-getting “coincidences”.
Within the family of symbolic language, we can also draw upon Astrology, Tarot, I Ching, and other such bridges between the everyday conscious mind of the Self and the Higher Self.
The Higher Self also appears to be orchestrating, to a large extent, much of what actually comes into the Circle of a given Personality’s lifetime experience.
For the Mandala is more than a record of processes being stored and organized;. The Mandala, as Carl Jung so clearly saw, is literally a program, living “software” – of which our DNA must surely be a part – a special cosmic language in itself. Through our DNA the Soul inserts into matter our relevant fields of experience from which a new Mandala process can begin in each lifetime.
From our DNA of course emanates the information and vibratios from our Akashic Records, so that karmic patterns work their way into the material world we experience. Yet all this is deeply affected by our Will, our Choices, our moments in which we listen “to our better angels” and take that higher road to truth and goodness.
It is the Higher Self, at the Center of our Mandala of experience, which guides us, be it ever so gradually and patiently, toward learning how to analyse and synthesize more and more of our experience. The goal is to let go, and let the Mandala perform its sacred function; while the Higher Self sees the Whole, our everyday Selves can only ever see part.
But we can sense the love, embrace the healing, surrender to the wisdom, and let the larger meaning of our lives emerge in in glimpses of the Light.
© Carol Leigh Rice 2022