I bought some mala beads a little while ago on Amazon. Where else? I am too anxious to shop for such a product in person; God forbid someone ask me about what I’m looking for. But anyway, I shopped in my PJs, received them the other day, and I really love them.
The beads are beautiful white gemstone marbled with grey streaks called white howlite (fun fact: that trendy turquoise stone necklace you got on the cheap? It’s probably howlite that’s been dyed blue.) It has lovely silvery marker beads and a clean white tassel. I chose it out of all of the colour options because I thought they were like, really pretty.
After I bought the necklace, I decided I should look into what the metaphysical healing qualities of this stone are (even though, to be honest, I don’t buy into that stuff). Naturally, I planned to hand-pick those attributes that best align with my situation, thus justifying and crediting some value to my purchase. Kind of the way a fortune teller does it.
Oddly enough, all of the websites I looked at classified it in the same way: howlite is used to reduce anxiety and tension, and to help bring mental awareness.
Well. I guess I chose the right stone! Although, I suspect that many other stones are claimed to have similar qualities. But let’s pretend for a moment that howlite is the only one that does, so I can pretend it facilitates my spiritual journey and the beads were worth the money.
To be perfectly honest, though, the reason I bought my mala beads was because I am struggling with meditation. I do believe in meditation, and I think it can help me if I can learn to do it.
But the truth is, it really intimidates me. It sounds lovely and relaxing and enlightening, but when it comes down to it, I’d really prefer to re-watch Party of Five and have snacks.
I tell myself again and again that I can find 5 minutes to meditate. Especially since I have so much time on my hands right now. I plan on doing it every day, but inevitably end up half-assing it as I lay in bed at night, and end up just falling asleep.
When I do meditate, I sit there thinking about the movie/book Eat Pray Love. Remember that scene when Julia Roberts is trying to meditate, but all she can think about is decorating her meditation room back home? I think about that scene, then about my own meditation room. Then I think about how ridiculous it is that I’m thinking about a movie scene and projecting myself into it. Do I even want or need a meditation room? I start to think about pretty the meditation zafus that Chapters was selling last year – they were like $75, though. I wonder what I could find online? Oh jeez here I go again, thinking I’m meditationy enough to spend money on a pillow, let alone meditation room. Well if Julia Roberts can, then I can too!
I have not been able to work up to more than a couple of minutes of meditation, all because of Julia Roberts.
Desperate to find something helpful tips, I started reading up on the subject on Pinterest, as we do, and noticed a trend: mala beads. I had no idea what they were. I thought they had something to do with yoga. I dunno, maybe they’re something hippies make while they’re on acid trips.
But reading into it, mala beads are actually a legitimate meditation tool that I thought could help me. They are not only used to help you count the times you repeat your mantra, but the also are used as a physical, tangible meditation guide.
I need a guide.
And not the type who tells me via YouTube to imagine that my body is a melting ice cube.
You can use mala beads to count as you recite your mantra (you repeat it 108 times – once per bead) by moving through the beads one by one. But more simply, and perhaps more importantly, they act as an uncomplicated reminder of what it is you are doing: Meditating.
Some of us are able to “gently return our attention back to our breath,” but I am not really one of them. I start to think too much about how my breath feels and whether it feels too cold in my sinus cavity or other irritating feelings. Trust me to find something wrong with anything.
But my mala beads? They are smooth, cool, and hard. There is a gentle weight to them. There isn’t much more to the sensory experience I have when I hold them. They are just there. And I am able to gently usher my mind back to them quite easily.
So I just hold them. I might try reciting a mantra, since that’s actually pretty easy for me (“money……money…..money….”), but I have come to appreciate them for the simple object they are. I just hold them, think about what they’re meant for (in addition to the fact that they’re said to help calm anxiety), and I can just be.
I totally recommend trying some.