MALA – THE MEANING AND MERIT BEHIND MALA’S
Across the globe there are various cultures and groups that utilize necklaces and bracelets as more than aesthetic jewelry pieces, many use them as tools of a religious, spiritual or personal practice.
Like any other every-day object, these jewelry pieces are only “things” until they are given a purpose or an intention is placed behind them. This is where Mala’s gain their merit, via the intentions they are worn with and the meaning instilled into them when they are created.
Similar to a Rosary used amongst Catholics, Malas originate from the Vedic culture that developed in Southeast Asia; India, Nepal and Tibet, etc. In these countries they were most commonly made from precious stones, seeds or wooden beads that are strung in groups of 108 on simple strands of cloth, nylon and wire. This number is significant to those whose practices stem from Hinduism or Buddhism; these belief systems use 108 often as the number of times many deities reincarnate, as a number that signifies cosmic perfection and what many believe is linked to life existing here on earth, it is also a numerical unit that seemingly possesses auspicious sources of power.
When chants are repeated 108 times or perhaps our breathes and affirmations counted in this patterned way, it is thought that this amount of repetition can help us to tap further into a source of potential and awakening that we all have access to. The repetition helps to
strengthen our own individual convictions as much as it helps strengthen our minds, bodies and lungs.
Imagine, for a moment (wether you are still skeptical or not to this whole concept) that you are able to take 5 to 10 minutes each morning or afternoon, to stop what you are doing and to sit still with a tool in your hands; one that has been handmade with positivity and intention. This tool is soothing and fairly smooth to the touch, it moves organically, it is malleable in your hands and between your fingers like tumbles stones softened by running river water. As you sit silently and peacefully, you gently roll each of the 108 beads between your thumb and your middle finger. You take a deep breath IN…. pause and then let a deep breath OUT…. pause.
Each long, deep, intentional breath you draw in and allow to flow through your body before releasing slowly back out – is a single count on the mala – it is a single bead rolled thoughtfully in your fingertips (and you still have 107 more soothing, healing breaths affirmations, chants, prayers to take in) before you get back to your usual day of hustling & bustling.
A full 10 minutes of this kind of meditation would benefit anybody, I would invite you to argue otherwise, ha.
In all honesty, Malas have developed so much over time as have the cultures and groups of individuals that originally reserved the right to make and use such tools. These days we have a beautiful blending happening on every continent of multiple religions, multiple spiritual practices and modalities that all push us towards healthier, more conscious living. Any body can adorn themselves with such a tool or acquire it for their own personal practice and as a way of caring for themselves.
It is the desire to evolve and to seek out resources for self-development and personal growth that have kept Mala’s and tools like them alive to this day and it is also what has helped them to reach us here in the West.
Each of the malas available in our shop are handmade; each bead tied one at a time by hand and with nothing more than positive intentions tied into them. They are made to be worn and to be loved, the knots holding the beads in place and securing them over time. If and when a mala ever does break, it can be returned to the earth as a blessing or re-made (it is always up to the wearer). I often say that when a mala does break, the intention we may have been wearing it for or the “things” we may have been working on (or towards) have likely come to fruition and it may be time to move on to a new path, a new intention, a new mala. Wether you choose to wear it in public or keep it to yourself again, is up to you, as long as you choose to use it with positive intentions!