This latest Mandala is a very large piece, the largest I can physically manage without a scaffold! It measures 120cm x 120cm and has been such a journey to create. I would reckon over 60 hours of work have gone into this piece and the experience has been so very uplifting and revealing. My dreams have become very special, guided in some way with many bright lights, colours and symbols which I then bring into the work. I guess I am painting my dreams with these mandalas, the shapes, the colours and the feeling that comes with them, the energy of them.
Carl Jung famously said that "The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul." and Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist wrote "You came so that you could learn about your dreams," said the old woman. "And dreams are the language of God. When he speaks in our language, I can interpret what he has said. But if he speaks in the language of the soul, it is only you who can understand." And this is what I am painting here, what I understand these messages to be visually and energetically. I am not sure that I can put logical words on it, language. They have a language and energy all of their own.
Whilst creating the piece, there was such a calmness, and a feeling of unconditional love and the dreams felt that way too. It's lovely to be able to recall dreams, and it has taken some practice to do it. I am also certain that interacting with mandalas, be that creating them or meditating on them, increases the dream activities and allows for easier recall.
Do you remember your dreams? Certain techniques can help increase the likelihood of remembering a dream. Anything that captures your attention immediately after waking interferes with dream recall, so just as you are falling asleep, keep reminding yourself that you want to remember your dreams. Let it be your last thought as you are drifting off. Set that intention.
Keep a notepad and pen by the bed. When you first wake up, don't jump up or turn your attention to anything. Even if you do not think you can remember a dream, take just a minute to see if there is any feeling or image you can describe. Following these simple steps may cause an entire dream to come flooding back. If you need to be woken by an alarm, set a very gentle one (I use the harp setting on the iPhone) for about a half an hour before you really have to get up. Allow yourself to press the snooze button two or three times. I find drifting in and out of consciousness very gently allows for recall.
I have also found writing immediately on waking works wonders, even if it is just pure drivel. Just put the pen on the page and go for it, and then the dreams come back in through the pen.
I truly believe that there is power in dreams, that dreams are another state of consciousness. In Tantra, dream consciousness is known as tejasa, which means ‘illumined’ or ‘brilliant’. So the dream consciousness is a very brilliant consciousness. It is not a state of thinking, reasoning or forming ideas. It doesn't involve the intellect. It is a state of seeing. You can see in dreams and you can think about what you saw when you are awake.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati said in a talk in France in 1984 that "The objective mind cannot see; the subjective mind cannot think. The dream consciousness refers to the subjective mind. A yogi does not think like an ordinary person. He ‘sees’. Therefore he is called a seer. In India he is called rishi, ‘one who can see’.
Once a disciple of Sri Aurobindo wrote a letter to him seeking guidance. Sri Aurobindo replied, “I do not think as you do. I see and take from this seeing.” That is the state of dream consciousness. In Sanskrit, the term used for ‘dream’ is swapna, which means ‘independent experience’.
You may think that whatever you see in dreams is the projection of your objective experience, but you make a mistake there. I want to make it clear that dream consciousness is independent of any source of knowledge, it is not dependent on objective experience. Did you ever ask a person born blind if he dreams? You may think that he does not dream because he has not even seen himself. He has not seen a tree, a motor car or his own tongue. Then what is the source of his dreams? That is the level of mandala.
When an aspirant begins to see independent objects in his dream, they are mandalas.Sometimes you can project your dream consciousness over the waking consciousness and when you are able to do this, you begin to ‘see’ even when you are awake. There have been some painters, artists, musicians, writers, poets, army commanders and scientists who could project their subjective consciousness over the objective mind. The artist does not have to think how the colour red will look, he just puts it there. His thought forms flow in the form of perceptions. This is the source of mandala."
That passage very much resonates with me. So don't dismiss your dreams, pay close attention to them, for they have much to give to you and others.
And back to the waking world, do pop in to visit me in the Courtyard in Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin if you are about. I'll be there every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 10am-12pm and every second weekend from 11am-3pm.
The next full day Mandala workshop is happening in Clondalkin Dublin on July 21st. You can book here.
In the meantime,
Sleep well and dream well.
This piece measures 120cm x 120cm and is acrylic paint and metallic pen on deep edge fine canvas. It costs €2,800 and I am very open to taking installments if that is something that works for you. You can email me at email@example.com for more details.