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The Meaning And History Of Mala Beads Add Malas To Your Meditation Practice

27 Jul

Do you have trouble meditating? Would your mind rather work on your to-do list than plunge deeper into consciousness? Do old rock ‘n’ roll songs in your head drown out your mantra? Is it hard for you to sit still, even for twenty minutes?

The ancient seers of India understood these types of problems, and thousands of years ago (around the 8th century B.C.E.) they began to use beads to help them during meditation. The use of these prayer beads, called japa malas, spread to other cultures and religions besides Hinduism and Buddhism. More than two-thirds of the world use prayer beads, rosary beads, or worry beads today, to aid in their spiritual practices. We could certainly stand some help in this department too!

I know that when I was growing up as a devout Catholic, my rosary beads stayed by my side as I prayed to Mother Mary, one of the more recent incarnations of the Divine Feminine. And as a young adult, when I was initiated as a meditation teacher, the guru gave me a japa mala that he had blessed. So I’ve always had a strong connection to prayer beads.

In Sanskrit, mala means garland. Just like the lei, the garland of flowers that is placed around the neck of a visitor to Hawaii as a token of affection, 108 mala beads make up a garland that reminds you of your spiritual essence. Japa means repetition. Here’s a cool little fact: When the Roman Empire was trading with India, they mistook the word japa for jap, the Latin word for “rose.” So when these prayer beads came to be used in Rome, they were called rosarium, or rosary in English.

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What Can You Do With A Mala?

For many spiritual aspirants, simply wearing a mala around your neck or having them nearby on an altar or table when you meditate will help keep you connected to a meditative state. That means less fidgeting and fewer mind distractions—always a good thing! Wearing it will also keep you more connected to your inner Guides. You can even wear your mala when you go out to surround yourself with an aura of protection. Hang a mala—in your car, on your computer, or over the kitchen sink—anywhere you need a reminder that you are a spiritual person.
Some, like the Tibetan Buddhists, use malas to help them keep track of the thousands or hundreds of thousands of times they must repeat their mantra. Now, with the meditation I teach, that isn’t necessary since I give you just one sacred seed sound that is specifically chosen for you.
Incidentally, I don’t want you holding anything in your hands while you are meditating as it’s critical that the higher level energies be able to access special chakras in your hands and fingers during meditation. More on that in an article coming here soon!

Why Are Malas Made Of 108 Beads?

Going back to the ancient Vedic culture, their mathematicians knew that 108 was the number of existence. In the yogic tradition, there are 108 Upanishads (the sacred texts), 108 sacred sites throughout India, and 108 marma points, which are the sacred sites of the body. There were 108 gopis dancing with Krishna in Vrindavan. This number is so engrained in the Indian consciousness that 108 is the telephone number for emergencies, like 911 in the U.S. In the Jewish tradition, 108 is a multiple of 18, which is the number connected to the Hebrew word chai, meaning “life, or alive.” And in Islam, the number 108 refers to God.

Additionally, there are 108 lines of energy that converge to form the heart chakra, with one of those lines leading to the crown chakra and self-realization. And on a larger scale, the Sun’s diameter is 108 times that of the diameter of the Earth, while the Sun to Earth distance is 108 times the Sun’s diameter. So everywhere you turn, there’s 108!
What Beads Are Used For Malas?

Different types of beads are used to heighten certain qualities of your character. Some of my favorites include rudraksha beads, which increase clarity and calm down the central nervous system, helping to keep the mind quiet and free of any negativity.

How to Use Mala Beads

Ancient Tools for Today’s Spirituality

Prayer beads have been around for centuries; they exist in many cultures around the globe. As a devout Catholic child, I kept my rosary beads next to my bed to help me in my prayer practice to Mother Mary, yet another representative of the Divine Feminine. As a young adult in an ashram, I was given a set of blessed mala beads by the guru when he made me a teacher of meditation. If you have decided to learn how to meditate or you have an existing practice that you want to strengthen or reaffirm, mala beads can help you make and keep that commitment to reach an expanded state of awareness.

Meditation Will Change Your Life — Mala Beads Will Help

One of the most common questions I receive is how to start or maintain a meditation practice. As a meditation teacher, I provide a twenty-minute practice along with your own personal mantra. Doing it daily will help keep your chakras clear and balanced, your stress level in check, turn back the clock physically, make you look and feel younger, improve your sleep, AND connect you to Spirit. Wow, that’s a lot! If you’re not yet meditating, click here to start today – don’t wait!

I began meditating when I was diagnosed with cancer back in my twenties. I had an amazing remission at the hands of an energy healer and as I dedicated more and more of my free time and eventually my life’s work to practicing energy medicine, the more I came to understand that the foundational practice of meditation was the single most important thing I’d ever done for myself. It literally changed the entire course of my life, opening me up to my Higher Self, the cosmos, and Source as well as helping to calm my mind and heal my body. I can’t say it enough: meditation will change your life just like it did mine, if you let it. Click here to learn more.

Boost Your Spiritual Focus with Mala Beads

For many though, even twenty minutes of meditation can seem daunting. It’s hard to commit and even harder to sit still. Mala beads can help: wear them around your neck or place them near you on an altar or bedside table, and their essence will help connect you to the meditative state. Wear them when you leave the house to protect you and keep you connected to your Guides. Hang a pair on your car mirror or your computer monitor or the bed frame to remind you that, above all, you are a spiritual being having a lifetime and that everything is small stuff, everything.

To aid you in your practice, I’ve selected a few different mala beads that will best support you – you can check them out here. These beads are handmade in Bali with love. They incorporate sacred rudraksha seeds that are harvested in a sustainable manner and are fair-traded. I’ve personally blessed these beads and can vouch for their unique ability to help connect you to Spirit. Click here

Here’s how to use your mala beads:

– When you first receive them, wear them for a few days to connect them to your personal energy field.

– Every couple of months, cleanse your mala beads by putting them out on a dry surface under a full moon. Like pendulums, mala beads can absorb energy, so you’ll want to cleanse them periodically with moonlight.

– You can also wear your mala beads around your neck or keep them close by; in your kitchen, your office, the car. This will keep you safe and remind you of your intention to meditate every day and give your practice an extra boost of spiritual energy.

 

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