The Mandala - The Lotus

While many spiritual techniques for reaching peace require nothing in particular except an open mind, some meditation and centering methods call for focusing on a piece of artwork.  You can meditate with any design you find inspiring and easy to focus on.  However, there are certain designs with a long history of this kind of use.  A Mandala is a design dating back to ancient India that is used as a meditation, teaching or healing tool.  Each Hindu or Tibetan mandala is different,  but many of the Indian versions feature the classic Lotus Blossom.

To Buddhists of all traditions, the lotus is a symbol of rising out of the material world and into spiritual union with the entire universe, also known  as enlightenment.  This is because the Gautama Buddha used the flower to explain how the soul is never soiled by the dirt of living like the lotus and is untouched by the mud it rises from as it grows.

In Hinduism, the meaning is similar but expressed a little differently.  The lotus symbolizes the purity of the human soul and its ability to  transcend physical limitations like birth and death.  Lotuses are also symbols of the chakras, the energy centers thought to control both the physical health and spiritual condition of the individual.