We all know the quote “Art imitates Life”, meaning that a creative work was inspired by true events. This was illustrated beautifully at a recent workshop “Music and Mandala” that I facilitated.
A small group of us sat around a table filled with art supplies and a plain white paper with a lightly drawn circle, a mandala. (The word “mandala” is Sanskrit for “circle”). Led in a centering meditation, the group focused on connecting with the deepest aspect of their soul. The music began, leading the listeners on a journey to explore this aspect. What messages were the listeners being drawn to?
Each person had a different experience from listening to the same music, illustrative to how our particular life patterns and what we are being with at the time is unique to the individual. Following the listening, we all began to draw our expressions in and around the circle image, creating a mandala. (Try it! Here’s a guide to drawing mandalas)
When we finished each participant shared the representation of music and the drawing experience. Though the individual expressions were unique, the emotion, thought and messages resonated with each one of us. In the sense of sharing the artwork and the individuality it expressed, the art imitated the life experiences of each participant.
One of the drawings attracted us all. Called “A burst of flame”, this mandala by Cecile Batchelor of Reston, VA illustrated the intention of the class in the exploration of the deepest aspect of our being. In this case, art not only imitates life, but spirit illumines art. We all connected with that light in a realization that it lives in every living thing, the light of the Truth of our Being.
The mandala particularly resonated with me. The symbol of the flame is representative of our light within.
I was taken with Cecile’s mandala and asked if I could write about it. She agreed and took the drawing several steps farther! Cecile is a gifted seamstress and fabric artist. She proceeded to create elaborate and beautiful runners and quilts to decorate the Reston Unitarian Universalist Church, as shown here. So beautiful!
We had tea a few weeks later and she surprised me with my very own quilt of the mandala, intricate and finely crafted from a variety of fabrics. It reminds me of the quote by Michelangelo: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”.