The past month has been rather challenging—I’ve had to dig much deeper than I ever have before to find balance between the physical and spiritual. So, I’ve been working with this concept called The Mandala of Being, which was developed by Richard Moss, MD. It’s a tool that helps me stay centered in the present…which is a lot harder than it sounds. Trust me, just reading all the books won’t get you there. I’ve read plenty of metaphysical authors, I’ve meditated, I’ve practiced yoga, I’ve chanted, I’ve drummed, I’ve prayed. But I still find myself struggling with what the Buddhists call “monkey mind”—one that jumps around too much and can’t rest completely in present moment awareness.
Why is staying rooted in the present so difficult? According to the experts, it’s because the ego likes to tell stories. It gets caught up in what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. It spins tales about us and about what other people may or may not think about us. It cannot see a situation clearly and embellishes it with so many layers that we must meditate in stillness to find a kernel of truth.
We run from the present moment much more often than we realize, because the ego knows that it can’t survive unless it keeps us disconnected from our higher self. Stepping into The Mandala of Being is like plugging back in to our oneness, our wholeness, our true light within. It is shaped like a circle or a wheel with a center and four cardinal points. In the center of the mandala is NOW, which is the ideal place for our minds to be at all times. Above is the FUTURE, and below is the PAST. We spend a lot of time in these two spots, always drifting too far backward or forward in time…reminiscing or regretting…anticipating or dreading. It serves nothing other than to keep us further from the present moment and the serenity we deny ourselves.
To the left of the mandala is ME, and to the right is YOU. The ego also loves to keep us trapped in delusional thinking about ourselves or someone else. We are either overly critical of ourselves, or we are too pompous. We either obsess over what we perceive as someone’s faults and how they affect us, or we idolize others and thereby diminish our own power. None of this is healthy, but our minds stray before we even realize it most of the time.
Using The Mandala of Being has helped me to watch my own thoughts, because it provides a model for organizing them. There are only four directions in which they can travel. By visualizing the mandala and assessing where my thoughts are taking me, I can catch myself drifting too far from center. It’s like a catch-and-release game where I simply label the thought as past, future, me, or you. Then I throw it back and return to the present. If you’ve never done an exercise like this, try it for one day and see how your perspective changes. If nothing else, it has made me more aware of whether my ego is in control or my higher self is shining through. In time, I hope this practice will lead to greater peace of mind and balance through all of life’s winding roads.