3 – “Know Thyself” Application

Contributor: Ellen E. Swanson
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The mandala can be used as a tool for personal growth or as the ancients prescribed “know thyself.” This mandala exercise offers opportunities for the holistic nursing theory concept of expanded consciousness. It can be done as a life-review process, or studied only in the present. The definitions for the uses of the rings in either application are as follows.

Ring 1: Seven resources or sources of energy.

Ring 2: What each resource of source taught/teaches or contributes/contributed.

Ring 3: Describe your body, mind, and spirit either literally or conceptually.

Ring 4 and Center: How does all this manifest for you?

Feel free to download the following template to enlarge to 11×17 to use for your personal “know thyself” application.
Download PDF

Now, here are some tips on how to get started with the life-review version. Divide your age into seven equal segments. Place one of the seven segments in the space at the end of each rainbow, with the age range noted and at least one influential source or resource for that age range, such as a person(s), experience, animal, or book.

In ring 2, what did you learn from each of the sources or resources you named?

In ring 3, you have several options. One is to describe your body (i.e., size, shape, image), your mind (i.e., learning style, right- or left-brain dominant, your emotional tendencies, and spirit (i.e., spirituality, or think of spirit as energy, like a spirited horse and what energizes you) at this point in your life, now, the present. Another option is to note what you grew from, then to, in each body/mind/spirit segment, based on what you uncovered from age one through the present in the first two rings.

In ring 4 and the center, how does all this manifest in each life aspect for you? For example, if you noted you are an introvert, then in the fame and reputation life aspect you may prefer to be a behind-the-scenes person. In the relationships or community aspects, you may prefer one on one or small group interactions. Another option is to do as you did in ring 3, what you grew from, then to, in each of the nine life aspects.

Here is feedback from experiences with the “know thyself’ application.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that class on Sunday. It really was one of the most personal and life-enlightening events I have ever attended. To be able to look at my life in that circle and start to make the connection of how and why different events interacted and affected my life was both overwhelming and magically cathartic all at once.”

“I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to experience the mandala labyrinth… This magical tool holds endless potential for healing—not only for individuals, but for communities and cultures—through its ability to reveal patterns, themes, and other amazing discoveries. I will definitely consider it a valuable addition to my professional and personal toolbox.”

Holistic nursing concepts source:

Frisch, N. (2013).  Nursing theory in holistic nursing practice.  In B. Dossey & L. Keegan (Eds.) Holistic nursing a handbook for practice, 6th Ed.  (pp. 117-128).  Burlington, MA:  Jones and Bartlett Learning.