Malas, also known as Buddhist Prayer Beads are simply, on a conventional level, counters. They are a traditional tool used to keep count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating mantras, affirmations, or prayers. It represents something different for everyone, even if you’re not as spiritual you think you must be.
Do you remember the Buddha quote - “What you think, you become.”
When you’re not focused, words lose meaning. And when words lose meaning, mantras and your thoughts lose their power. (Or maybe your mind just like to wander around a lot which is like reading the same page from a book over and over again and still not understanding what’s going on because you’re distracted.)
To keep you from losing the intention behind your mantra, use your mala as a counter to help in concentration. Malas have been used for thousands of years by many different cultures and religions. They contain 108 beads to signify the 108 stages of the human soul.
Choosing your Mala
Malas represent something different for everyone. It can be a good luck charm, a tool for meditation, a reminder of intention or just an accessory. Malas are generally made from a variety of materials, from gemstones, to metals, to wood.
I suggest gemstone malas, as not only are they durable (others tend to wear out from constant wearing and use), but each gemstone also has its meaning and healing properties depending on what you’re seeking for.
Quite often your intuition takes over and you’ll know exactly which gemstone malas you need right now. At the end of the day there is no wrong or right way for choosing yours.
Using your Mala
(How to hold your mala picture)
Start by holding your mala necklace in your left hand. (Look at the picture above.) Draw the mala one bead at a time, as you repeat your mantra, towards you with your thumb. When you complete the mantra by reaching the guru bead, simply flip the mala around; now the last bead becomes the first and you can continue.
When not in use, I wrap the necklace multiple times around my wrist and use it to remind myself to be mindful in daily life. You can also wear it as a necklace to honor whatever it means to you, or as a charm. Like I said, it has a variety of uses and represents something different for each person.