The Mandala

The mandala is an ancient symbol that represents the inner and outer dimensions of the human experience—a kind of map for the territory of existence.

The truth in the mandala, if it is to be found and experienced, owes its existence to the understanding that our inner and outer worlds are engaged in an exquisite dance of development where each shapes and is shaped by the other.

“Each person’s life is like a mandala—a vast, limitless circle.
We stand in the centre of our own circle, and everything we
see, hear, and think forms the mandala of our life.”
– Pema Chodron

Reflecting on your own life, you may recall a few significant experiences with the outside world that deeply influenced you, shaping you into the person you are today. You may also be able to bring to mind how your inner passions and visions expressed themselves through time in ways that shaped the world around you. This ongoing dance of development is beautifully captured by the poet-philosopher, David Whyte, in his poem “Working Together.”

As you read Whyte’s poem, we invite you to consider the deeper meaning of this sacred symbol in your life, and how you can more consciously relate to the dynamic forces shaping your inner and outer worlds.

Working Together
David Whyte

We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again.

The visible
and the invisible

working together
in common cause,

to produce
the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way
the intangible air

traveled at speed
round a shaped wing

easily
holds our weight.

So may we, in this life
trust

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine,
and look for the true

shape of our own self,
by forming it well

to the great
intangibles about us.