What Is A Mala & Why Would I Want One?
I have recently begun a new spiritual journey; or rather, I have begun searching for the right spiritual journey. I think these paths are very personal and unique to the individual seeking them. I have never been one to feel a complete belonging to organized religion. I ask too many questions and don't agree with all methods or practices. And you know what?! That is OKAY! I have found myself to be more of an eclectic spiritual practitioner, I find different aspects of various religions that feel right to me and put them into my own beliefs and rituals. It's really about what works and feels right to you! This journey has led to me explore the practice of Japa meditation with the use of mala beads. What is a mala? Well, I am so glad you asked ;)
**Japa (Sanskrit: जप) is the meditative repetition of a mantra or a divine name. It is a practice found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. The mantra or name may be spoken softly (enough for only the practitioner to hear it) or it may be spoken within the reciter's mind. Japa may be performed while sitting in a meditation posture, while performing other activities, or as part of formal worship in group settings.
You know how at the beginning of the year there is always this big movement to choose your word or phrase for that upcoming year? Well, I have found Japa meditation to be the perfect tool to really ingrain that word into my conscious and subconscious. So this year, my word is "Responsibility" or "I am responsible" (always use a phrase in the present tense and in a positive form) and this is the most common phrase/word I use in my meditations when I am not focusing on a more specific roadblock in my life.
Mala Beads or prayer beads (very similar to a rosary in Catholic practices) are strands of 108 beads plus a "guru" bead traditionally used for meditation and prayer. I prefer mala necklaces that combine gemstones and crystals that represent and help you heal different aspects of your life in which you are currently struggling. There are many theories behind the significance of the number 108, which is considered a sacred number in Hinduism. I was most drawn to the theory that the number 1 stands for God, the universe or your own highest truth; 0 stands for emptiness and humility in spiritual practice; and 8 stands for infinity and timelessness.
Want to know how to use your mala? Check out easy beginner steps to using your mala HERE.
A personal mala offers you a wearable reflection of something in your own journey. The mala really becomes whatever the wearer intends for it. They are essentially programmable tools to aid you in your life journey.
I want to stress that the mala can be used in ANY religion that utilizes prayer and/or manifestation. It is a tool to help you focus your mind on a thought, prayer, or meditation. I wish more religions could be open minded to aspects of other spiritual belief systems but, it's not a perfect world is it? You do you <3
I have started to craft mala necklaces from gemstones and crystals for myself, loved ones, and to offer in my boutique. I select the gemstones based on their metaphysical properties as well as their aesthetics to create beautiful and healing pieces to assist those seeking help with their personal and spiritual journey.
I hand tie a knot after each bead to create a secure mala (if it breaks you would only lose the one bead not the entire strand) but I also place love and good energy into the mala with every knot I make. I create these with love and only when I am of clear mind and spirit (no worries, I won't be weaving my stress and anxiety into your mala, LOL).
- Francesca Schwarz