The Mandala Center

Mandala Center Walk Meditations

A special invite...

The Mandala Walk at the Mandala Center is now a reality. We have created a path for you to follow around the property. It is not just a hiking trail. It is a journey for you to take and reflect on your own life journey. It is a physical way to renew your mind, spirit and body. It is an opportunity for you to be in our special, spirit filled place. Come, hike for an hour or two, spend a day or longer on a self-guided retreat

Meditations Archive...Click Here

A Reflection...

As many of you already know, in my role with Rotary and working with Growing Great Kids, we have been promoting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It is the program for young people age 0 to 5 to receive a book once a month. I have been reflecting on Dolly’s favorite saying, “We cannot direct the winds, but we can adjust our sails.”

Consider for a minute how this might relate to our present time of social distancing and being forced to live differently. The “winds” here represent those external influences, what life throws at you. Maybe you are feeling isolated and alone. Maybe the separation is from those you love and care about. Maybe you or a family member have lost your job. Maybe you are isolated from a family elder. Maybe a loved one has died, and you can’t celebrate their life properly or you are having trouble grieving. All of that and much more can have a powerful impact and contribute to the course of our lives. All we can do about the wind, these forces in life, is to adapt to them and adjust our approach. A strong wind comes, or changes direction, and our best response is to tinker with the sails to avoid sinking our boat. When things happen that are challenges in life, we can take steps and “adjust our sails” to modify the circumstances in our own behalf or better cope with them. Even if our sails get tattered and torn, we are a resilient folk, constantly adjusting ourselves and our path in response to the world. Many things happen in our lives that we might not prefer and that we cannot avoid or change. Adjust your “sails” and allow the wind to move you to remember that no matter the danger or seeming limits this pandemic may bring, there is still beauty, compassion and the wonder of life that is ours to hold and share.

“We cannot direct the winds, but we can adjust our sails.”

A Reflection...

In this time of the COVID -19 pandemic many of our friends and neighbors are experiencing anxiety, fear and isolation. I recently read a wonderful poem by an Irish Priest, Richard Hendrick which addresses those issues and gives relief to many. Even if you don’t feel especially burdened by those feelings, I think it offers wonderful insight into how to live our lives.

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

Let these words remind you that no matter the danger or seeming limits this pandemic may bring, there is still beauty, compassion and the wonder of life that is ours to hold and share.

A Reflection...J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

So much can be learned from the books we read:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.

But that is not for them to decide.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

What are you choosing to do with the time that has been given you?

A Reflection...Books and Stars

One of my favorite books is “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle. I loved the book and its sequels long before I had the opportunity to meet her, but that is another story.

She won the Newbery Award in 1963. In her acceptance speech, L’Engle talks about how “there are forces working in the world as never before in the history of mankind for standardization, for the regimentation of us all, or what I like to call making muffins of us, muffins all like every other muffin in the muffin tin. This is the limited universe, the drying, dissipating universe, that we can help our children avoid by providing them with explosive material capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly.”

Even though 57 years have passed I think her description still holds true.

She goes on to say, “Up on the summit of Mohawk Mountain in northwest Connecticut is a large flat rock that holds the heat of the sun long after the last of the late sunset has left the sky. We take our picnic up there and then lie on the rock and watch the stars, one pulsing slowly into the deepening blue, and then another and another and another, until the sky is full of them. A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”

I believe we are never too young nor too old to experience books and stars, forces moving into the expanding universe, with the light that renews its energy against the dark forces of standardization, and regimentation, and muffin making.

A Reflection...

Meister Eckhart (1260- 1327) was a Germany mystic, theologian and philosopher. Eckhart taught a radical, at the time, religious philosophy of seeing God in all. His mystical experiences and practical spiritual philosophy gained him a popular following.

from “Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart”

God is not what you think
or even what you believe,
because God is,
a word unspoken,
a thought unthought,
a belief unbelieved.
So if you wish to know this God,
practice wonder,
do what is good, and
cultivate silence.
The rest will follow.

A Reflection...

Today is Ash Wednesday. In the Christian tradition it is the beginning of Lent, the 46 days of preparation before Easter. It is symbolized by the marking of ashes and the reminder that we are dust and to dust we shall return. So, here is a blessing from the book Circle of Grace by Jan Richardson to begin your Ash Wednesday.

All those days you felt like dust, like dirt, as if all you had to do was turn your face toward the wind and be scattered to the four corners or swept away by the smallest breath as insubstantial—

Did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?

This is the day we freely say we are scorched.

This is the hour we are marked by what has made it through the burning.

This is the moment we ask for the blessing that lives within the ancient ashes, that makes its home inside the soil of this sacred earth.

So let us be marked not for sorrow. And let us be marked not for shame. Let us be marked not for false humility or for thinking we are less than we are but for claiming what God can do within the dust, within the dirt, within the stuff of which the world is made, and the stars that blaze in our bones, and the galaxies that spiral inside the smudge we bear.

A Reflection...

At this time of year, we seem to get a lot of promotions for gardens – Old Farmer’s Almanac, hydroponic, seeds, how to plant, what to plant, where & when to plant.

Some of us are good gardeners. We know the how, what, where & when. We can get a wonderful harvest.

My grandfather always had the best vegetables, prettiest flowers, and a beautiful lawn.

For others of us, like me, it just doesn’t seem to happen – I love the results of a good garden, but it just hasn’t been high on my priority list for me to do.

Whether we actually do the gardening or not, I think there are certainly some principles that we can glean that are important to our life.

Here is a quote that I have carried with me for a long time: It was written by Josephine Nuese, in 1970, and published in a magazine named The Country Gard:

Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January, begins with the dream.

The quote is not just about gardening, but about living.

It has from time to time served as a reminder of the importance of paying attention to my hopes, dreams, and desires.

Dreams are easy to get pushed aside, replaced by the necessities of everyday life, lost from our consciousness.

There is a reason why as kids we loved magic and dreams. Stop chasing your dreams and you will forget how it feels to live hopeful and young.

So even though January is coming to an end, it is still the perfect time to stop and consider once more what your dreams were…what your dreams are.

May your dreams produce a garden of life and a most excellent way of living.

A Reflection...

Have you ever noticed that with some things we become so familiar that we tend to gloss over some of the underlying meaning? I believe that by hearing or seeing it with fresh ears or eyes we can recapture some of the essence of the original. I suspect most of you are familiar with the 23rd Psalm and find it a great source of comfort from time to time. But like other things it has become too familiar. Here is a translation of the Japanese version that I have found renews my spirit. I hope it does so for you as well;

The Lord is my pace-setter
I shall not rush.
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals;
Which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency,
Through calmness of mind,
And his guidance of peace.

Even though I have a great many things to
Accomplish each day
I will not fret,
For His presence is here,
His timelessness, His all-importance
Will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal
In the midst of my activity
By anointing my mind
With His oils of tranquility;
My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness
Shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord
And dwell in His house forever.

A translation of the Japanese version By Toki Miyashina from Psalm 23, Copyright by K.H. Strange, 1969, published by
The St. Andrews Press, Edinburgh

A Reflection...

The question going around as we move into the third week of the new year is, “How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?” Maybe you are doing well and keeping to the resolutions you have made, and if so, I applaud you and hope it will continue long enough to become the habit that makes your life better. I suspect however, that your resolves are slipping or maybe like me you didn’t even make one.

Starting each new year, I like to focus on the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".

Life is not about the “things” we give but about how we give of ourselves. Things are just things. But when we give of ourselves, we are sharing a story, a life.

So, I invite you to consider the question, “What are you giving of yourself? What story are you sharing? You may not think you have much to give or share. But just consider:

Giving a smile – Did you know we have a natural in-built system to resonate with each other. When we see someone doing something, we internally "mirror" or "mimic" with them. If you smile, you make my smiling "micro muscles" go to work. I may feel better for no reason. This process is called resonance. We have an in-built system or sounding board that is acutely sensitive to others. Reach out, and from your side, create positive resonance with others.

Giving a listening ear - Listen to someone attentively without interrupting, take in their perspective fully, allow them to express themselves, and just get yourself out of the way for a while. You will be amazed at what you learn, and this may be the first time anyone has listened to them in such a profound and respectful way. They may in return listen to you.

Being grateful – There is so much for which we can be grateful. I have read that researchers have noted that 3 times more positive things happen to us than negative things every day, yet it is the negative that captures our attention. We dwell on the negative things to the detriment of the positive. Retrain yourself to look for the good in you and, just like giving a smile, you will resonate with those around you and they may find their own things to be thankful for.

Be happy - While some people think being happy is a selfish endeavor, it may just be the most unselfish thing you can do! Once again you resonate with those around you. Some researchers believe that our well-being impacts those around us up to 3 degrees of separation away from us. By taking good care of yourself, doing things you love, and being happy, you are making those around you happier, and the friends of friends of those around you happier too! And don’t forget happiness’ biggest secret: being of service to others brings us happiness.

May 2020 be the year you smile, listen, give thanks, and serve the others in your life.

A Reflection...

This past Monday, the 6th, was Epiphany and the start of the Epiphany Season. I love the way the church stresses both days of commemoration and the seasons of the year. Christmas Season started on Christmas Day and went for 12 days, until the Epiphany, January 6, and the Epiphany Season takes us to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Epiphany is commonly known as Three Kings' Day or the coming of the Wise Men. It means “manifestation” or “showing forth”. It is also called Theophany (“manifestation of God”). There is a great tradition of Epiphany which while it has been around for a long time has only recently experienced a revival. It is “Chalking the Door.” It is when the formula 20+C+M+B+20 is written in chalk on the mantle of the door. It is an invocation of Christ’s blessing not only on the physical house but on the people who live there and those who visit.

The letters are an abbreviation for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat,” which means “May Christ bless this dwelling.” The letters C, M, B have also been associated with the traditional names for the three wise men: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, whose arrival at Mary and Joseph’s home is celebrated on the Epiphany. The first and last numbers refer to the current year, and the plus signs in between represent the cross. 20+C+M+B+20

With all that is going on in the world around us today it strikes me as a great way to start our new year.

To quote the Rev. Mike Marsh, rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Uvalde, Texas, “We’re all Magi, visitors bearing gifts to other people’s homes, and we’re all the Holy Family who received the visitors.” The chalk reminds us of that. It’s a reminder that this is a home of refuge, it’s a home of love, it’s a home of Christ for you to come into. And, it’s not only for the guests who come into our homes; it’s a reminder to us when we come home that we have a home, that we have a refuge.”

I invite you to adopt a new resolution, to chalk your door and vow to remember that your home is a sacred, special place for you, your family, and all who cross your threshold. It can be as simple as gathering the family together, and with a piece of chalk write, 20+C+M+B+20, above the door and say a thanksgiving for God’s presence in that place. As the season of Epiphany continues the chalk fades, but the blessing remains. Let the chalking into your heart where it will continue to be a guide to you to live a life that honors your God, family and all you encounter.

THE MANDALA
The Meaning behind the Name

The Mandala

The Mandala represents wholeness, transformation, integration, and balance. The Mandala, as used here, is seen as a universal image found over and over again in nature itself and, in some form, in all cultures. It is a circle that does not exclude but contains. It does not separate, but protects and holds opposing forces in such a way that it can be transmuted and transformed. We believe The Mandala is the perfect symbol for the Center. It is a sanctuary for “holding space” for our quests, healing work, pilgrimages, educational learning, and creative expressions.