Getting Spiritually Dressed: Malas
For the past several years, I have made it a point to get “spiritually dressed” for the day before I even get physically dressed and head out the door. I do this in a few ways, one being a ritual of wrapping my malas, or prayer beads, around my wrist, while silently reciting a personal mantra. This is my physical expression and reminder that I am “protected, connected, guided and directed,” as my mantra goes, to and by something bigger than myself.
This practice began for me a few years back when I was going through a huge transformation in my life. I was shown through multiple meditations the Buddha coming to me and handing me a set of sacred beads. He gently encouraged me to wear the beads, that a former client had given me years ago, as a sign that I was eternally connected to Source, and that I am stronger, braver, and wiser than my limited mind may believe. And when Buddha comes knocking on your door, you honor and follow the guidance without a second thought! Since then, there hasn’t been a day that I don’t wear my malas; in fact, I feel naked now without them on.
What Are Malas?
So what exactly are Malas? Malas, or Buddhist prayer beads, are a traditional tool used to count the number of times a mantra is recited while meditating. This practice is known in Sanskrit as “japa”. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads. In Tibetan Buddhism, malas of 108 beads are used, and these are the ones I use on a daily basis. The material used to make the beads can vary according to the purpose of the mantras used or the intention for the malas. Some beads can be used for all purposes and all kinds of mantras. These beads can be made from the wood of Ficus religiosa , or bodhi tree, or from “bodhi seeds”. Another general-purpose mala is made from rattan seeds. And then there are malas made from all sorts of crystals and stones, which all hold particular powers and healing qualities unique to the stone.
For example, one of my first set of malas were made of a stone called Opalite. I was drawn to these beads without being able to explain exactly why. But that is how I knew some part of me needed the healing qualities this stone could offer. Opalite is a delicate clear or milky iridescent stone, and spiritually speaking, when placed on the Crown Chakra in meditation, they are said to enhance psychic abilities and induce visions. I have since collected numerous other malas made from other crystals and stones. Now, I stand before my beads every day as I mentally ask my higher self and Guides which set to wear that will best serve me now. I then feel drawn to one set over the other, and without questioning it, I put them on.
How Do You Choose a Mala
One of the questions I get the most is how to choose a mala. My guides have told me that the mala actually chooses you! Whether you are browsing malas in a store and one just happens to “jump” out at you, or someone gifts you with a set of these sacred beads (acting as your earthly messenger on behalf of your guides above), malas have a way of finding their way into your lap if or when you are meant to use them.
Here are a few things to consider when exploring the perfect pair of beads for you:
What’s your favorite color in the moment? What color are your drawn to? This is a likely indication that you are in need of that particular color in your energy field, a color that corresponds to a chakra(s) that may be in need of some love!
Each gemstone contains its own special vibration and healing energy and properties. Certain gemstones line up with certain chakras in the body, and you will gravitate to the one(s) you most need balance, healing and connection with at that time. Take the malas, hold them in your palms, close your eyes and tune in to how they make you feel. Do they feel light and airy? Or heavy and cold? What emotions come up for you as you hold or wear them? Just breathe and pay attention to whatever surfaces, and a good rule of thumb is if it provokes a positive emotion or sensation in your mind, heart, or body, then it is good fit for you!
What was the first mala that caught your eye? Even if your mind can’t make sense of why you would like this particular mala. Which mala do you keep thinking about and going back to? This is where you can offer a little prayer and ask your guides to help you choose the mala that is highest and best for you at that time. Then all you have to do it trust your intuitive hit!
Stay tuned for more divine insight I have received on the intentional use around these sacred mala beads!