Sand Mandalas and Kaleidescopes

One of the most challenging aspects of the human journey is letting go of moments and experiences as we pass through them. Some part of our human nature, perhaps caused by a lack of spiritual understanding, causes us to hang on. We hold tight to the beauty of a sunset. We grieve deeply over the death of a loved one. 

Yet nothing lasts forever. Even in our quest to find our life partners, we must be mindful of the traditional marriage vows of “’til death do we part.” Our children grow up, becoming amazing adults, yet this requires the loss of the little boy or girl with whom we played and shared so many intimate days. 

Occasionally there will be groups of Tibetan monks touring the country, creating their beautiful and complex sand mandalas. After spending days or weeks in painstaking concentration, they destroy the finished product, returning the elaborate design to the chaos of colored sand. Our Western minds are boggled by this tradition. 

Picture the mandala as having the deity of Brahman at the center, speaking eternal truths of existence into the cosmos. With each word, these truths resonate through time and space, to be interpreted by humans in the world of form. Imagine the Brahman creating existence with each exhalation, and with each inhalation returning form to chaos. This can be visualized as the rhythm of the waves coming in and going out over a sandy beach. 

The kaleidoscope is also representative of the impermanence of form and beauty. Each time the little pieces of colored glass are shaken, they create the illusion of another perfectly symmetrical design. It isn’t real. It’s created with mirrors and random shards of glass. Each design will appear until the next time the kaleidoscope is shook, only to be replaced by another colored pattern. 

Likewise, in our lives, no two moments are the same. We move through a world of illusion, deluding ourselves about how to achieve safety, security and everlasting love. Yet, if we are willing to release old definitions, we find an underlying truth that provides all these things. 

We are eternal beings riding the current of God’s exhalation into time and space—and beyond. When we practice nonattachment, we realize that we are truly, and permanently, attached to a much bigger force than we can conceive in our temporary human condition. 

And so we breathe. We accept the mysterious, glorious, fabric of reality which supports us. We behold in amazement the wonder of each passing moment, allowing the ebb and flow of God Mind to carry us through our universal journey. 

And all the while, like a mantra ever being chanted in the back of our minds, we hear, “All Is Well, All Is Well, All Is Well.” 

And so it is, now and forevermore, Amen and Amen.