What a treat I gave myself yesterday by taking a Mala Intensive class at JSM BeadCoop with teacher Mary Jo Zagozen. My mom also joined me which was such a special way to spend time together.
What I really appreciated about this class, besides making our own personal mala’s, was all the information given to us during the class and in the handouts that I devoured with eagerness last night.
I’m really beginning to grasp that there are so many ways in which one can practice being mindful. I’ve certainly discovered that in my yoga practice, forms of meditation I do, creating SoulCollage cards, and working with oracle cards, which are part of my rituals.
What I didn’t expect yesterday was how meditative it would be in actually creating my mala beads. From choosing our beads, of which I chose honeycomb agate as I was drawn to the softness of the color which I paired with sandalwood beads which are about compassion and courage, and are traditionally used in making mala’s.
In the traditional mala, 108 beads are used, of which there are many fascinating reasons why. Just to share a few here that I learned and found interesting:
- There are said to be 108 earthly desires in humans.
- Some say humans have 108 feelings; 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
- The chakra centers are where energy lines intersect, and there are said to be 108 energy lines which meet to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, which is the path to self-realization and enlightenment.
- The number 1 represents God or higher Truth, 0 represents emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 represents infinity or eternity.
There are oodles of other reasons that I could share here as I was in awe of all the connections with 108! But back to my discovery of it being meditative in actually making my mala.
Placing a knot after each bead, at first, I thought would “take too long.” My desire to get my mala made so I could get using it, was first and foremost on my mind. But as I began to make the knots and place bead by bead on the string, I was moved to a peaceful place within. It was so relaxing! I truly didn’t expect this to happen because oftentimes when creating I’m too busy looking ahead to the finished result.
What a welcome respite of knotting and connecting with each bead as I put together my mala. Just writing about this I feel myself transported to the calmness of the experience again.
And another leap for me when I used my mala beads in meditation this morning. I’ve never been able to mediate in silence. I either have earbuds in listening to something on the Insight Timer app or I pick a soothing station on Pandora to listen to while I sit.
But today I took my mala beads in hand with no music. With my mantra I gave thought to this morning which is something I am working on for myself, then closing my eyes, and bead by bead I ran my middle finger and thumb across each bead pulling my mala beads toward me, repeating silently to myself my intention.
When I was at the end where the “guru” bead sits, a wave of gratitude washed over me as that bead is not to be gone over, but rather used to take a moment to thank our teachers and/or higher spirit.
Now I’m looking forward to making more mala beads for myself – not only for the beauty of them, but really for the fact that I was pleasantly surprised by the double meditative process of it – once in creating and then in using them.
And one last thing, besides getting yourself to a Mala bead class if this calls to you, which I have a feeling JSM BeadCoop will offer again as it was a big hit, is a great book about how mala beads helped change one authors life, check out The Magic Mala by Bob Olson.
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