Happy Easter everyone! I hope you enjoyed your weekend mindful of the miraculous, whatever and however that translates directly to your heart and lives. It seems with some consistently sunny days here in Seattle, the memory of our winter getaway to the Big Island in Hawaii would be faint. But I still can’t shake the retreat—in a good way. Being in Hawaii has two connotations: overdeveloped tourist-laden natural attraction theme park of palm trees and beaches or that of prodigious nature, remote, raw and undeterred by the elements. It is the latter that lures my heart back to Hawaii.
As part of this year’s retreat, we played upon the theme of the elements which are some abundant in their contrast there.
We were in the most undeveloped part of Hawaii built up from the output of lava, a place literally built on fire, yet surrounded by water. The northwestern tip where we were hosting, Hawaii, is powered by wind, and being on the sacred grounds of King Kamehameha and his tribal council brought an element of the etheric and mystical.
We practiced two hours twice daily. At the beginning of each class, Liz or I would construct a mandala for the class we were teaching with our daily elemental theme. They started simple, a minimalist theatre-in-the-round type of setting, some pines, a couple berries and rose quartz. As the collective energy of the group built so did the elaboration of these gorgeous mandalas: flowers, found objects, crystals, wood, stones, etc.
Mandala means round or circle in the ancient language of Sanskrit and used as a tool for traveling into the subconscious to the larger representation of the universe of cosmos. The Sri Yantra, triangles converging and dividing in all directions set inside the petals of the lotus and surrounded by four T-shaped gates is a recognizable example. Mandalas vary in their intricacy and motif and also illustrate equal distribution and balance. Plus, they are beautiful. Mandalas are found throughout Buddhist and Hindu traditions but are also prevalent thematically in Christianity in the use of stained-glass windows, designs and symbology, e.g. the Celtic Cross. They are seen as well in other traditions. As a point of contemplation, they are powerful tools for cultivating dharana, which in Sanskrit means concentration.
There is no way to list them all here in the blog, but highlighted are an assortment of mandalas that we prepared and listed in line with their element. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I treasured making them. We will be returning to the Big Island again in February, 2013. Personally, I cannot wait! And who knows what we will think of next to inspire and delight!