Resources you will need:
- A selection of natural objects, such as leaves, flowers, sticks, sand, pebbles or water.
- A flat tray or surface
- A quiet corner in your house, the classroom, school or grounds where you can sit comfortably
- Creativity and some personal space for calmness.
Working on your own or in small groups, agree a good place for the activity. It does not have to be big. Find where you can sit comfortably.
Clearing – remove rubbish or obstacles to make a flat surface, or use a tray. Take your time and visualise, clearing away any worries or fears while you do it.
Collect objects that you like and individually or as a group, choosing one to go in the centre.
Focus on the detail. Try rolling a piece of paper into a tube, looking at the object through the tube and drawing just the tiny part that you can see. You could also make your hand into a tube by slightly opening up a clenched fist and focusing on an object through that.
Make a mandala. Mandalas are circles. They exist everywhere around us; in the flowers, in seashells, in fruits, in snowflakes! They can be used to help calmness and meditation and are lovely to make. Working on your own or together, build your mandala from the centre outwards and use repeating patterns.
Now practice some peaceful meditation. Sit comfortably and focus your eyes on the centre of your mandala - feel your breathing slow down. Move your eyes outwards and leave any worries outside the circle. Let your eyes return to the centre and close them. When thoughts bubble up, focus your eyes again on the centre, breathing slowly and gently. Try to do this every day. Refresh your mandala or create another when you need to.
Visualise your peace mandala. Use your memory to create an image in your mind of your peace mandala, so you can visualise it when you are in a different place. Drawing or describing your peace mandala can be helpful memory strategies, or you could play a game where a partner takes one object away and you have to guess what is missing.
Reflect on your peaceful meditation. How did you find making the mandala? Was it meditative, quieting, peaceful or calming? How can you use the mandala next time you are feeling upset or overwhelmed? Why is peace important?
You could add other items to your peace place, such as wind chimes, dream catchers, a small dish of water with floating petals or painted pebble patterns. Try to practice some peaceful meditation for at least a few minutes each day.
You can join in with the pupils as they create their mandalas. Share the process with colleagues and encourage them to create their own as well.
Mandala is from the ancient Indian Sanskrit and represents wholeness and life. You can find them in many traditions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Native American traditions, Judaism, and more. Mandalas are circles.