These days, my friends may notice that my wrists and neck are covered with multiple strands of mala beads that I've discovered on my travels. However, my first mala was a rosary.
I connected to a mala from the moment I first held one. The energy and significance I feel when using a mala for meditation is transformational. The mala holds me accountable and stores my best energy. I liken my mala beads to a comfort blanket — they never fail me and they are always there no matter what.
Here are three reasons why a mala can enhance your meditation practice:
1. It serves as a reminder.
A mala is something I can wear that reminds me to make time for meditation. It also serves as a spiritual touchstone in even the most difficult experiences. The mala reminds me that I am a spiritual person, first and foremost. My life is my practice — whether I'm sitting in silent meditation or taking out the recycling.
2. It gives you focus.
A mala — like yoga — helps your mind to concentrate and focus without requiring the physical movement of asana. Using mantra as you touch each of the 108 beads is a way to count breaths and track affirmations. This allows your mind to form new patterns that take you away from the same, often unproductive thoughts.
The more ingrained in our mind we can make a new thought, the sooner we can set a new course of action. The mala helps us to harness the power of manifestation by directing our roughly 60,000 thoughts in any given day. As Einstein is famous for saying, "The ancestor of every action is a thought."
Many of us struggle with to stay centered. But with a mala, touching each bead focuses our mind for a specific, manageable timeframe.
3. It helps hold a sacred space.
Ideally, we might have a special place at a regular time each day to devote to our meditation practice. But of course, with life and its challenges, this is not always possible or practical. With my mala however, I have a transportable sacred space. Some days it's at the same time and other times it's whenever I can hold my mala — it doesn't matter where I am.
And other times, when unexpected crisis can arise, my mala is there to help me repeat a mantra and ground myself. It reminds me of my best self and frees me from the drama.
I've found that my mala always holds space for me. It holds my best energy, my breakthroughs and my future intentions. It never judges. A mala reminds us the best of what is possible and stands as a constant observer of our progress on the path.