Mala beads are these magical meditation garlands that have been worn for centuries by spiritual seekers from all around the world.
Malas are strands of beads worn around the neck or wrist and are a part of many spiritual traditions. Often called Buddhist prayer beads, japa malas, meditation beads, or simply Buddhist necklaces, mala beads are an ancient tool that were developed to keep the mind focused on the practice of meditation. Whatever you call them, it is important to know where they come from, how they may help you, and their meanings. They are very fashionable these days, but there is more than just a fun trend here.
First created in India 3000 years ago, malas are meditation tools that have roots in Yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
The ancient seers of India perceived the truths that were beyond the grasp of senses and dove into the subtle aspects of creation and spirituality. But every journey into one's own spiritual being needs a little assistance along the way, do you agree? These seers of India understood the need for an aid during their spiritual practices and that is why, thousands of years ago, they started to use mala beads to help them during meditation. It was in 8 B.C when the use of these prayer beads started to spread in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Inspiring mindful evolution, mala beads are thought to serve as a reminder of the divinity that lies within every one of us. Malas are a beautiful way to connect the beads with your energy and intention, and to keep the mind focused on the act of meditation.
For many spiritual seekers, simply holding a mala will keep you connected to a meditative state with fewer mind distractions.
Buddhist malas were typically made of fragrant woods like sandalwood and rosewood. Coming from the Sanskrit word meaning "garland", malas were used to track the repetition of mantras. Mantras are prayers to deities and a form of practicing concentration.
They soon became very popular, traveled the world, and took hold of Buddha's followers. Malas encountered new places, changed with each new culture, and arrived in China, Burma, Nepal, and Tibet.
Mala beads from different lands are distinguishable from one another in their material, tassel, spacing, and symbol. As they became more widespread, malas began to be made from different gemstones and woods.
A Mala’s primary purpose is keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or name of a deity. Counting should always begin by holding the mala in your right hand and moving one bead to the next reciting one mantra per bead. Mantras counted on the beads serve to aid in your concentration while meditating and help you access heightened levels of awareness. Practitioners pick up a mantra and repeat it 108 times.
108 is a spiritually significant number. Traditionally, a mala is made of 108 beads of the same size with the 109th being slightly larger. This 109th bead is called Guru Bead.
➳ Stages: Some believe there are 108 stages on the journey of the human soul.
➳ Pranayama: Some associate the possibility of enlightenment taking only 108 breaths a day, while in deep meditation.
➳ Feelings: Another theory is that we experience 108 feelings, out of which 36 are related to the past, 36 to the present, and 36 related to the future.
➳ Desires: It is also said that there are 108 earthly desires.
➳ Lies: It is said that there are 108 lies people tell.
➳ Goddess Names: There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names.
➳ Moon and Earth: The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.
➳ Sun and Earth: The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.
A stone traditionally worn to guard against negativity and to instill a sober mind; it is used as a dream stone and to help insomnia; known to inspire spirituality.
➳ Lapis Lazuli
A gemstone of that brings positivity and inner peace. It is known for enhancing intellect and promoting wisdom, problem solving, and good judgement.
A stone that amplifies energy and thought. It is used to increase spiritual wisdom, promote clarity of the mind, and aids in creativity.
A gemstone that helps in balancing yin/yang energy, courage, protection, healing, and calming. Agate enhances creativity and strengthens the intellect. It is especially protective for children.
A protective stone that provides a connection to the moon and lunar energy. It encourages personal spirituality and self-discovery.
Known as a calming stone that harnesses the purity and relaxation of the sea. It promotes soothing energy and encourages truth, knowledge, and understanding.
A stone of awareness. It can also be used to release attachments. It formulates ambitions, both spiritual and material. It teaches patience and absorbs anger.
Although the best way to choose a mala is to use your intuition as a guide, there are some questions that you have to ask yourself.
➳ What colors are you typically drawn to?
What colors do you wear more often? What color are your favorite foods and scents? If you wear a lot of pink, maybe the rose quartz is the right pick for you. If you love purple and find yourself in love with an amethyst mala, go for it! It's important to choose a stone color that you are drawn to. Read the intention and meaning, and choose the one that you need at that moment.
➳ What is the shape you connect with?
Have you ever heard of sacred geometry? Sacred geometry ascribes symbolic and sacred meanings to certain geometric shapes and certain geometric proportions. It involves sacred universal patterns used in the design of everything in our reality like the strands of our DNA, pine cones, flower petals, and the cornea of our eye. Some stones are teardrop, circular, or oval shaped and you have to find the one you connect with.
➳ What is your intention?
All mala beads carry their intention. Ask yourself "What do I want to create in my life?" "What do I desire?" "What am I struggling with?" "Am I looking for more love in my life?"
➳ What does your intuition say?
Every time you find yourself in doubt, trust your intuition. What mala do you keep thinking about? What was the mala you were originally drawn to? Follow your intuition and follow your dreams.
➳ What kind of energy aligns with your intention?
Every stone emits its own energy. Each stone can produce specific therapeutic effects like purifying and detoxifying the body, grounding negative energy, or connecting the thoughts of your subconscious with your body. See if you can find something you connect with as an individual.
➳ What do you find beautiful?
Observe the things you find beautiful. A scenic landscape, a lavender field, a cute animal, or a fascinating mala. Develop your own personal aesthetic. Surround yourself with beautiful things and strive to see beauty in everything. When you find something aesthetically pleasing, it will take over your consciousness and move you to a new place.
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