Mala beads are a very effective tool when it comes to taming the mind. They were primarily designed to serve as meditation and prayer beads in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. In theory, they are very similar to rosary beads or healing beads. Anyone can reap the rewards of using these beads, regardless of their religion.
An authentic strand of mala beads contains 108 beads, plus one larger bead known as the guru bead. The number 108 is considered auspicious for many reasons and is open to interpretation. Beads are often used to count mantras, but they are also an effective tool used to focus the mind on the breath. Mala beads allow your mind to concentrate on something tangible.
If you are new to meditation, find a comfortable position and hold a string of mala beads in one hand. Begin by holding the big bead (guru bead) in between the thumb and index or middle finger. Complete one deep cycle of breath (one full inhale and one full exhale) on that same bead. Then, repeat another whole cycle of breath on the next bead, and then every bead after, by sliding the beads clockwise through your fingers. When you reach the guru bead again, your meditation practice is over. Or, if you wish, you can repeat another round of 108 by going backward through the strand.
By incorporating these practical techniques into your meditation practice, you will eventually be rewarded with a calm mind and healthy body. You may not feel the effects immediately, but with each meditation session, believe that drastic change is taking place. Even if you don’t feel it right away, transformation is on its way.
There are times when your meditation practice may anger you or make you cry out of frustration because the ego refuses to cooperate. This is completely normal. When you meet resistance, these are the exact times when the biggest changes are taking place. You are breaking down barriers of the mind. Even if meditation upsets you sometimes, be consistent with your practice. It will change your life.