Using your mala
Sometimes the practice is as simple as holding the mala in your hand or wearing it. Having the energy of the stones nearby can be enough to help you find that connection to the energy within you as you move about your day. Know that even if your practice is simply wearing your mala or wrist mala that is a beautiful place to be.
If you want to explore mantra meditation with your mala, keep reading.
The Practice of Mantra Meditation
One of the things I love about this form of meditation is its accessibility. The idea of sitting in silence and stillness to meditate can be intimidating. With mantra meditation, you are giving your mind something to focus on (the mantra) and you are giving your hand something to do other than fidget (move the fingers from bead to bead).
Before you begin, find a comfortable and quiet space where you can be present.
Choose a mantra that connects you to the energy you desire to cultivate.
Hold your mala in your right hand and close your eyes. Take a full inhale, and exhale with a sigh, grounding yourself into this moment.
Beginning with the first bead to the right of the guru bead, say or chant your chosen mantra either in your head or aloud. Continue this practice of repeating the mantra as you move your fingers from one bead until the next until you have reached the guru bead.
If you would like to continue, flip the mala around and go back in the direction from which you came (not crossing over the guru bead). The guru bead is said to represent your teacher, and crossing over the bead would be like stepping on your teacher, so not crossing it is an act of respect and reverence.
When you reach the guru bead at the completion of your meditation, pause for a moment there, bringing yourself back to your intention.
Close your meditation by chanting OM Shanti Shanti Shanti, OM Peace Peace Peace. Rest in this space for as long as desired, and then continue on your journey with renewed energy.
Here are some of my go-to mantras for meditation. I find my way to them again and again because the meaning resonates with me and because they offer enough of a challenge to keep me from going on auto-pilot during my meditation. For now, here are the words. Video and audio coming soon!
Jappa Meditation in Practice – a story
I walked down to the water and sat near its edge. My mind, as it often is, was buzzing with thoughts, frustrations, confusion. A few weeks later during a reiki session, a friend would tell me that she could feel my head buzzing.
I had my mala in my hand (this one made of picasso jasper with a chevron amethyst guru bead). It is one of the few that I have made that felt were meant to stay with me, at least for the time being.
I took in a deep breath. I exhaled. I held my mala in my hand and closed my eyes. In the spirit of satya, truthfulness, I can tell you that I do not recall what mantra I used. A few words in English to calm my mind, to heal my hurting heart.
I spoke the mantra in my heart, moved my fingers to the next bead, and spoke it again. Again and again and again until I returned to the amethyst.
I paused. The circle complete, I held this intention for myself and slowly opened my eyes.
And there they were. Eight ducks sitting on what had before been an empty dock. It would be weeks until I understood their presence more. What I knew was that they were there to remind me to trust, to remind me that all would be okay.