How I Designed Our Meditation T-Shirt

Today I published our new meditation t-shirt (unalome design) on Amazon. I’m incredibly proud of the beautiful design. It looks fantastic. And already our readers are buying it so they can start wearing it! [You can buy the tee here]

But I wanted to discuss the design of our new meditation t-shirt, because there’s a lot of symbolism in the shirt, and Buddhists will certainly recognise the symbol in the middle of the tee.

Our meditation t-shirt is designed around a unalome.

The unalome is one of the most popularly recognised symbols in Buddhism. You might know a friend who has a unalome tattoo because they are immensely popular. In fact, just the other day I met a girl at a bar who had a unalome tattoo on her wrist. I asked her about it, but she didn’t know what it was or what it meant, she just loved the look of it. I explained to her the spiritual meaning of the unalome and how it represents the pathway to enlightenment in Buddhism. She found that really cool and said she was glad to know what her tattoo meant (I found it slightly odd to have a symbol tattooed on your skin when you don’t know what it means, but there you are!).

So, what does the unalome mean?

The Meaning of the Unalome on our Meditation T Shirt

Yes, they look cool, but unalomes are about more than just the image. They have a very specific meaning. Essentially, the unalome represents the pathway to enlightenment.

Enlightenment is the Western word for the “Bodhi”, which is the knowledge of the awakened mind of the Buddha. Essentially, it is about spiritual awakening.

If we look at a unalome symbol, we see a line that twists and turns from the bottom upwards, gradually coming together in the middle. It then forms a straight line upwards to some dots and a lotus flower. The curves, the line, the dots, and the lotus flower all represent different things.

The spirals on the unalome represent the way that life moves in unknown directions. We all know what it’s like to be pulled this way and that in life, heading in unknown directions, and that is what the spiral represents.

The straight lights on the unalome represent enlightenment and a peaceful, awakened mind. This is the awakening we experience after many years of meditation and following dharma.

Finally, there is the dot at the end of the smybol, which symbolises death and nothingness.

I also added a lotus flower to the shirt. The lotus flower represents purity of body, speech and mind.

So essentially, with the unalome we see the numerous twists and turns of life becoming straightened and then fading to nothingness. It is the path we go through when we start out on life’s unknown adventure, start meditating and following dharma, become enlightened (if we get that far) and then finally dying and fading to nothingness.

So why did I use this on my meditation t shirt? Two reasons; firstly, because the unalome is such a popular icon and people love to wear it, whether in a tattoo or on a t-shirt. People love the symbol, even when they don’t know what it means!  And I also put it on our because it reminds us of how we can navigate through the unknowns of life by meditating and following dharma.

The final element I decided to put on our meditation t-shirt is the single word “Enlightened”, meaning “Awakened” (I went for an elegant cursive font for that personal touch).

And that is how I designed out meditation t-shirt!

I will probably create more t-shirts soon. I’d like to do ones that illustrate the most important symbols in Buddhism, like the lotus flower, dharma wheel, conch shell, and the endless knot.

Now, I’d love to hear your comments on my meditation t-shirt design. What do you think about it? What should I do next time?

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About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.


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