This is a painting, a work of art. Something you can place on a wall to add color and beauty and, from time to time, contemplate its meaning.
This painting is also, though, a visual mala that can be used as a tool for a deeper mantra practice. I designed it as an instrument for developing the kind of concentration that is needed to truly still the mind for meditation. Instead of using an actual mala, I like to use this painting as a visual and auditory tool to focus and still the mind.
For example: at the beginning of your meditation practice, after you are seated comfortably, you begin to focus on the center sphere, being mindful of your body position and your breath. When you are ready, you simply shift your focus to the “bead” at the top left of the painting and begin with the mantra of your choosing.
The first time I tried using this Yantra during meditation, I was surprised at how difficult it was to stay with the goal, which, for me, is to follow the breath while chanting your mantra without shifting your gaze from each bead.
When I set out to simply work on my breathing as a way to experience this Yantra, I was surprised to realize how tough it was. I exhaled fully with a slight hold at the end of the breath, and then I slowly inhaled fully before gently moving my gaze to the next bead. My mind quickly realized that this could be a game, and it proceeded to flood me with all kinds of observations, such as, Wow, this is going to take a long time. … Are you sure you want to follow this all the way around? … Hey, you just skipped a bead! … Don’t you just want to look at the center?
I think I made it a little bit past half way before I stopped to readjust my attitude and regain my focus. When I began again, I implemented a chant.
I started at the upper left bead as I chanted Om on the out breath. During the inhalation, I gently moved my concentration to the next bead, and then chanted Om again for the full outward breath. This time, I made it through the entire Yantra. Upon completion, I rested in the silence that remained. I found myself to be inwardly motivated to continue this gratifying work.
Give it a try and see what you experience.
January 13, 2018