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Sand mandala holds key to spiritual healing

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on November 16, 2010 with No Comments

Tiny grains of sand may hold the key to healing for cancer survivors at the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster. At a recent workshop, participants took part in a sacred art of healing, by helping to construct a sand mandala painting.

ìThe sand mandala helps those who construct the images to focus their minds and holds their healing intentions,î Claudia McFarlane, M.A. and certified Mandala facilitator, said.

McFarlane said that in a sand mandala, millions of grains of sand are laid into place on a flat platform, beginning in the center and fanning out. Upon completion, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept back up to the center then poured into or near the water, where the water can carry the healing energies back into the universe.

First practiced by the Tibetan Lamas, today the sand mandala sacred art is combined with meditation and the process serves as a method for spiritual, emotional and physical healing.

ìItís a group process, improving the mind while producing a work of art through healing thought,î McFarlane said.†

There are five steps to the process which include:

ï Preparation, or cleansing the room including a blessing or prayer

ï Holding the intention or purpose in mind

ï Construction

ï Dismantling, or using a spatula to wave or push the sand ìintentionî back to the center

ï Scattering, or giving back to the center or ìdeityî†

According to McFarlane, participants experience a sense of well-being and harmony as they take a journey into the ìcenterî using colorful sand.

ìI didnít know what it was about,î participant Erin Tacke said about the sand mandala workshop. ìI thought it might be interesting. Anything to advance healing.î

Tacke was not the only one who enjoyed the sand mandala.

ìItís been frustrating being a patient at times,î participant Jackie Carr said. ìI want to be healed. I want to go on with my life.î

Perhaps it is no coincidence then that while Carr was creating the sand mandala, the intention she chose at random to think about and focus on was ìperseverance.î

The Resource Centre is a program of the Community Cancer Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of cancer care available in Northwest Indiana and the South Chicago Suburbs.

Since first opening its doors in 2003, The Cancer Resource Centre has offered all of its services free of charge to all who enter, including those receiving care from medical treatment facilities other than the hospitals of Community Healthcare System. The Centre is funded from donations and grants, in-kind donations and volunteer support.

Individuals may check out books, view videotapes and other educational material within the library, or conduct internet searches to obtain research concerning diagnosis, treatment and general information. Groups gather to share experiences in social and professionally-led groups for support. Classes and programs, such as the Sand Mandala Workshop, are offered to help individuals connect in their experiences and to promote emotional well-being.

The Cancer Resource Centre is located at 926 Ridge Road in Munster. For more information on the mind-body-spirit programs and a complete listing of upcoming classes and events, visit www.cancerresourcecentre.com, or call 219-836-3349.

CUTLINE: While focusing on their intentions (left to right) Jackie Carr, Erin Tacke and workshop facilitator Claudia McFarlane put the finishing touches on a sand mandala.

CUTLINE 2: Facilitator Claudia McFarlane begins the process of returning the sand to the center of the mandala at the end of the workshop.

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