Using a Mala
Using a mala is one of my favorite forms of meditation. A mala is a string of 27 or 108 wood beads. The beads are used to keep count of a mantra used during meditation. Using a mala with 27 beads is said to be effective for spiritual progress. A 108 bead mala is for fulfillment. These beads are strung together with what is called a guru bead. This is a bead that differs from the others in shape. Traditionally there is an addition of a tassel on this bead. This bead is used to tell the user by feel when they have completed the cycle of the mala.
To begin, you must choose your mantra. Start with a simple mantra that can be easily repeated and remembered. To choose your mantra, decide what you could use most in this incarnation. To get to the simplest form of this answer, say the first thing that comes to mind. Then ask yourself why. Continue asking why until you have gotten to the real answer.
Answer: I want success.
Question: Why do I want success?
Answer: To make my loved ones proud.
Question: Why must I be successful to feel worthy of love?
Answer: I don’t feel that I am enough.
Your mantra: I am worthy
Once you have decided your mantra, sit comfortably with your spine straight. Use back support if necessary. Hold your mala in your right hand. Close your eyes. Start at the guru bead. As you use your thumb to bring down each bead, chant your mantra. You can do this verbally or mentally. As you repeat your mantra from bead to bead, focus on the words and let go of everything else. Once you have made it back to the guru bead, take a moment to reflect, and open your eyes when you are ready.
Try this method as often as you like. I recommend once a day for 40 days. It is said that it takes 20 consecutive days to break a habit and 20 to form new ones. In this way we can change the way we think and the way our brains work. We can actively choose the type of thoughts that inhabit our minds.