Mental Health Monday: Stage 5, “Target,” continued….
Back in August I ordered this wonderful coloring book of mandalas. I’ve been slowly working my way through the book, and through the stages of “Insight, Healing and Self-Expression” set out in the book. The author, Suzanne F. Fincher, explains the various traditions and meanings of the mandala throughout history—in Native American healing practices, in the Egyptian myth of creation, in Tibetan rituals, in medieval Christian churches, and even in the traditions of Europe, where mystics have used them for contemplation. (My next mandala to color will be a design by Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfth-century Benedictine nun.)
Jung used mandalas to help people find the true center of their psyche, which he called the Self:
The Self functions both as your potential for wholeness and as the energizing force that nudges you toward fulfilling your possibilities. Mandalas symbolize this pattern of wholeness in each of us.
This past weekend I had an upsetting interaction with someone, which resulted in a painful evening followed by a contemplative day. On Sunday afternoon I found myself returning to the book of mandalas.
During stage 5, Target, you may feel like a soldier patrolling your boundaries. Vigilance seems the only option when your perceptions make you feel as if you are the target of others’ attacks—even when you are not. Mandalas here can sometimes look like wall after wall of protection and defense. Feeling safe is very important to you during this stage.
I didn’t find Mandala 18 to be very “pretty,” but it does feel strong.
Personal habits and other rituals help you feel safe during stage 5, Target, when emotions intensify. Like the strong walls of a castle sheltering a garden within, this Celtic mandala has mazelike bands of designs protecting tender leafy vines in the center.
My emotions were definitely intense this weekend. This mandala is another image of strength and protection, but with a softness in the center. I know there is much I need to protect there, and coloring this design brought me a measure of peace.
Next I’ll complete stage 5, “Target,” with the mandala designed by Hildegard of Bingen. Stay tuned.