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Making Sense

Beauty, Creativity, and Healing

Edited By Bandy Lee, Nancy Olson and Thomas Duffy

Regardless of field, from the art world to healthcare delivery, there is a growing need for practically useful theory and theoretically informed practice. The time is ripe for a collaborative, creative conversation among thinkers and doers who are concerned about the larger world and our role in it. Making Sense: Beauty, Creativity, and Healing is a collection of essays and creative expressions written and produced in relation to a colloquium that tried to address these matters at the Whitney Humanities Center of Yale University. Beginning with a powerful essay on the individually and globally therapeutic qualities of art and beauty by Elaine Scarry of Harvard University, this volume brings together a diversity of theoretically minded scholars, scientists, artists, and healers. In the form of critical and reflective essays, alongside images, poetry, and fiction, this book allows the reader to experience the bursts of ideas and sensory triggers that respond to and extend the artistic installations and performances of the colloquium – and welcomes the reader into the conversation.
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Mandalas as Spiritual Medicine

Extract



by Evie Lindemann

Introduction

Mandalas invite the psyche into a metaphorical dance of both expression and containment of psychic contents. The roots of mandala practice grow deeply in the soil of cross cultural practices, geography, and spirituality. The curving lines of the mandala, a circular shape, suggest wholeness, completion, clear boundaries, and an open space for contemplation. With the term originating in Sanskrit, the ancient classical language of India, the primary meaning is translated as “circle”1 and often refers to a sacred circular space. These circles existed in early cave painting depictions and in the sacred practices of Tibet and India. In the twentieth century the western world opened to the richness of mandala symbols and expressive art forms through the work of Carl Gustav Jung. The value and practices of working with mandalas are explored, with particular attention given to the symbols, shapes, and colors that fill the interior space of the circle. The use of the MARI (Mandala Assessment Research Instrument) in uncovering the deeper meanings and potential healings inherent in the mandala is also described.

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