Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Mindful Progression, Meditatin With Mala Beads = OM

Meditation With Mala Beads

July 19, 2006
A Mindful Progression
Meditation With Mala Beads

Oftentimes, the mind is like an unruly child. When we long for stillness and centeredness, we sometimes only find lots of activity within ourselves. Our attempts at focusing inward fail as our attention is averted by worldly concerns. It is because of this mental rowdiness that many people find meditation challenging. The mala, a string of 108 beads crafted of wood, stone, crystal, or rudraksha seed, was conceived of in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions as a meditation aid, designed to act as an anchor that combats the mind's natural tendency to wander. A mala itself is not a holy artifact. Rather, its significance and power is derived from the depths of your heart. Each time you meditate with the aid of the mala beads, you imbue it with your devotion, your love, and your hopes. Eventually, your mala becomes a portable sacred space that is a physical representation of your intent to achieve enlightenment.

Traditionally, the mala is used to count a mantra. Recitation begins at the bead immediately adjoining the sumeru or "summit bead"-also known as the guru bead-and each subsequent repetition of the mantra is represented by the next bead. Upon reaching the sumeru, the recitation begins anew in the opposite direction. Throughout the meditation, the fingers move from bead to bead in rhythm with the breath and the cadence of the mantra itself. The properties of the mala, however, remain the same whether you choose to recite a mantra, speak a word you find calming, or simply take a breath while you move along the strand with your fingers. As one unhurriedly travels around the mala, the mind is rooted in its own divine nature and simultaneously fixed in moment. The beads can furthermore serve as a reminder of the importance of your journey toward enlightenment and a means of avoiding outer world distractions.

Buddhist and Hindu traditions recommend moving round the mala 16 times, but a single round of repetitions can have an enormously positive effect on the soul. It is more important to actually meditate in the way that appeals to you as an individual than to follow any rules. But a mala meditation can be a good way to start, and as you become familiar with mala meditation, it will become soothing and relaxing. When your mala has become an integral part of your meditation practice, simply touching it will still the soul and quiet the mind, preparing you to slip easily into a transcendent stat

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