Last week I received a kind gift from a friend. She is one of the godliest people I know. My friend is smart, independent, and she loves the Lord. She is not naive. She is a professional, a leader. She is not a crunchy new-ager. I have known her for 15 years. We are super close.
The gift is a cool and popular new item that many of my other Christian friends have used especially during times of illness. They are popular with cancer patients who just sit all day in hospital beds, bored of Judge Judy.
They are sophisticated versions of what children daily do.
They are nostalgic.
They are adult coloring books.
I see them in Barnes and Noble. I see them in Michael’s Craft Store.
I have seen them in the Christian owned craft store Hobby Lobby.
They are just coloring books.
I have no problem with coloring books. I have kids. We color.
I do have problems with Mandalas though, which happen to be a part of most of these adult coloring books.
So, I just want to give a warning to my sweet Christian friends to stay away from mandalas and I will let you know why.
A mandala is that beautiful circle pattern that looks like it would be impossible to draw free hand. It is also a “spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe. In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.” (Wikipedia).
It is a concentric energy circle.
A mandala is used in tantric Buddhism as an aid to meditation. They meditate on the image until they are saturated by it. They believe that you can merge with the deity by meditating on the mandala. “A mandala is also visualized (dhyana) by the yogin whose aim it is to merge with the deity.”
Focusing on mandalas is a spiritual practice where you merge with “deities”–this practice opens the door to demons.
The thing is, how is the devil going to get Christians to meditate on mandalas?
No Christian would put one in their house and sit and stare at it for an hour, chanting the sacred word!
But if the enemy can get a Christian to stare at a mandala because they are coloring it, he can have them absentmindedly focus their attention on the image and they will unknowingly open up their subconscious to this image in almost the same way.
“Mandalas may be used to focus attention, as a spiritual teaching tool, to establish a sacred space or as an aid to meditation or trance induction.” (Ritual Objects of Buddhism and Hinduism)
According to the article above about “Ritual Objects of Buddhism and Hindusim,” a mandala is a key tool to practicing a religious ritual, and it opens people up to trances. When you think about how our brains zone out when we color anyways, this makes it even more interesting.
“When completed, a mandala becomes a sacred area that serves as a receptacle for deities and a collection point of universal forces. By mentally entering a mandala and proceeding to its center, a person is symbolically guided through the cosmos to the essence of reality. By constructing a mandala, a monk ritually participates in the Buddha’s teachings.”(ReligionFacts.com)
The mandala itself is a receptacle for “deities” and “universal forces.” It is not just opening a door to the spiritual realm, it is knocking on the door of a false temple.
If the monk constructing the mandala is participating in a spiritual ritual, what are we doing as we mindlessly trace the shape with a colored pencil and try to keep the pattern balanced with our coloring choices. We are also going through the motions, participating in this ritual without even knowing it.
“The process of constructing a mandala is a sacred ritual. It is a meditative, painstaking process that can take days or even weeks to complete. Mandalas are constructed from the center outward, beginning with a dot in the center. With the placement of the center dot, the mandala is consecrated to a particular deity.” (ReligionFacts.com)
We need to be aware of what these images are, because they are not just pretty shapes and designs.
Those are the spiritual roots. But how did they come to get associated with coloring books or relaxation?
Well, Carl Jung was a famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist in early 20th Century. He founded the school of analytical psychology. He focused primarily on the study of the integration of the conscious and the unconscious mind.
Jung wrote a book called “Mandala Symbolism.” In this book he introduced the Eastern mandala practice to Western psychotherapy. He began to have his patients create mandalas, to help him identify their emotional disorders. He didn’t look at their tea leaves or read their palms. But he didn’t just believe this was pure science either. Carl Jung was deeply into the occult. He even published a dissertation about the science behind psychic mediums called, “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena.” Where he sat in and even participated on seances. (The Portable Jung, by Joseph Campbell).
Jung was also seriously involved in practices of alchemy, astrology, studies in mysticism.
So Carl Jung brought the Eastern spiritual ritual of drawing mandalas to Western culture in a “scientific” context.
But how did they end up in our coloring books at Hobby Lobby? Is this purely recreational and relaxing? Is this therapy?
It is a surprising new trend. Even Katie Couric discussed an article about how it has become a craze, and publishers haven’t seen anything like this in 30 years. “Inside the Adult Coloring Book Craze” by Robin Stein.
Is it artistic? Is it therapeutic? Is it stress relieving?
Normal everyday people believe it is just some fun new hobby. But why didn’t they just choose to color with their children, or take an art class? Things that have been around forever?
Why do people want to color in these books with mandalas all over them?
In the article by Stein a mom says,
“I love it,” said Nichole Schmidt, a stay-at-home mom. “It’s very meditative. It gets me away from the kids. And this is my Zen.”
If you go to one of the coloring book websites they will tell you why coloring mandalas are relaxing–“they are energetically alive and promote well-being.”
Go ahead and read from this article by Stephen Vrancken called, “Your Introduction to the Healing Powers of Mandala Coloring.”
“About mandala coloring healing
Your Introduction to the Healing Powers of Mandala Coloring Pages
“I awaken to the power of the mandala,
A sacred circle of light and energy,
A pathway to center—to my center and to the universal All,
A channel for healing body, mind, and spirit”
How Do Mandala Coloring Pages Activate the Mandala’s Healing Powers?
Mandalas are used universally to promote healing and other positive states of being. Why? One explanation comes from its very design. The mandala is a circular matrix with a center point—a point from which all things are possible. From this sacred center comes forth infinite possibilities and unlimited potential. When you use your mandala coloring pages, you’re expressing your desires for healing and wellness.
You’re also acknowledging and declaring your own unlimited potential!”
He says, that just by using your coloring book you are expressing your interest in the mandala magic, therefore opening yourself up to spiritual outcomes. So even if you are a Christian, he is saying that you are a willing participant in a spiritual activity and essentially “declaring your own unlimited potential.”
He continues . . .
“You can think of the mandala as being energetically alive, a means of creating a pathway to a desired state of being. What state of being do you desire to create? Maybe you want to experience inner peace or maybe you simply want to use the circular pattern to express your artistry. For whatever purpose you choose to work with the mandala, know that you can achieve it through mandala coloring.
Imagine yourself with your mandala coloring pages in front of you. All you have to do is set your intention and awaken your mandalas by infusing them with color. It’s that simple and that powerful.
Amazing as it sounds, by simply coloring mandalas, you can accomplish the following:
• Relax & enhance your meditation
• Balance your body, your mind, and your spirit
• Make a spiritual connection
• Expand your creativity
• Increase your self-awareness
• Encourage your self-expression
• Just have fun, alone or with your friends”
So now, he has taken the use of mandalas from a spiritual ritual and transformed it into a New Age form of relaxation on a Sunday afternoon with a glass of iced tea.
“How Do You Unlock the Healing Power of the Mandala?
One of the easiest and most effective ways to experience the healing power of the mandala is by using mandala coloring pages. Why are mandala coloring pages such an effective tool for healing? First of all, coloring is fun and relaxing. It’s an enjoyable way to express your creativity. And, it’s an activity you can fully participate in whether you’re 4 or 94 years old.
Do you want more proof on why you too can easily unlock the healing powers within the mandala coloring pages?
• There is no right or wrong way to color a mandala.
• You can color just about anywhere.
• Coloring lifts your spirits and brings out the child in you.
• You can color at your own pace.
• You don’t have to follow any rules when you color.
• Kids and adults alike enjoy coloring.
• You know you’re creating a unique work of art.
• You can share the experience by coloring in groups.
• It’s affordable.
• It activates the intuitive genius within you.”
So my question when it comes to the whole adult coloring books is this–
Is it really about coloring?
Or is it about spiritual hosts of wickedness sneaking mandalas into our homes and into our subconscious minds?
Is it really about recreation or is it New Age evangelism?
I can color all I want.
But if I do, I am going to get a big fat coloring book of Bible stories.
It isn’t so trendy and cool, but at least it is honest.
*I am not endorsing beer either; I don’t drink alcohol.
Although I am sure many people think beer is more relaxing than a coloring book.
(This meme was just a joke)
I guess it all comes down to what do you want to practice?
Is it really about coloring pictures?
Would you be willing to stop coloring the mandalas?
I don’t think my friend sinned by getting a coloring book.
I don’t think my friends know that mandalas are “sacred objects” of other religions; that means they are off limits to solid Christians.
You wouldn’t color pentagrams would you? Upside down crosses? Swastikas?
No–Because you KNOW what they are.
I just want to help get the word out.
But in the end, I am sure that many people will accept it like they did yoga.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
For More Information:
My Response to Your Comments–Talking In Public About Christian Beliefs