Malas, or sacred necklaces, are made of 108 beads and used to hold our prayers and our mantras, our blessings, and our wishes. These little necklaces of string and beads provide us with so many opportunities to learn and grow, using them as a tool in meditation practice, or as a daily reminder by wearing as an adornment, However I’ve used them, they repeatedly teach me to trust myself.
Bali Malas is asked often about buying malas for ourselves and for others and about giving them away. Is it okay to buy a mala for yourself? Is it okay to buy for a friend? How do you pick a mala for yourself? How do you pick a mala for a friend? There is a Buddhist tradition of “gifting” your mala, particularly if your mala was complimented on. This is a practice of letting go of our attachments, of not being “attached” to things and to their meaning. NOT an easy practice, especially when it is your favorite mala! We have done this, this spontaneous gifting of our malas, about a half dozen times, and it does bring up that initial “ack” but quickly melts into peaceful graciousness. I encourage you to give it a try. My husband has actually given away his favorite mala several times. If he would meet up with a friend who may be in a rough patch in their lives, he would take his mala off from around his neck, still warm with his body heat, and place it around the neck of the friend in need, with a quick “you need this more than I right now” and a twinkle in his eye. Some of these friends still wear his gifted on the spot malas to this day, years later.
Mala beads actually can hold the essence of the wearer. My husband and I trade our malas, especially when we are traveling separately, in this way we carry a bit of our beloved with us on own individual journey. This is a little tradition other couple friends of ours have adopted as well.
So many times I have seen people at a show who walk up to our table filled with hundreds of malas and their hand goes directly to one and touches it or even picks it up. This can happen while they are still in conversation with someone or absent mindedly passing by. How do you pick a mala for yourself? You don’t the mala PICKS YOU. We can spend an hour or more trying them on, mulling them over, reading up on different gemstone aspects, but more often than not, that original one, the one you are drawn to without even realizing it, is YOUR mala. Same holds true for buying a mala as a gift for someone else. I tell people to close their eyes briefly and pull up an image or a feeling of the person they are buying it for and then to slowly open their eyes and allow their hands, led by their soul, to retrieve a mala off the table. This, most often being the ONE. Be open, let the mala choose you, let the universe surprise you with what she is offering you. Which mala speaks to you? You’ll know when to take the mala off your neck and place it on someone else’s, you’ll know which mala has chosen you, you’ll know the one you want to give as a gift. Listen in and trust yourself then take action…