What is a Mala?

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Mala translates to “garland” in sanskrit, one of the oldest languages spoken in India. The use of gemstones as beads comes from the Hindu tradition, representing deities and planetary energies that are embodied in corresponding minerals based on the Hindu Astrology called Jyotish. Traditional Buddhist Malas are made with more natural materials such as wood, seeds, and clay. The Mala serves as a tool to count and recite prayers or Mantras during meditation leading the individual towards a profound state of connection to a higher power, the divine, god, and one’s true Buddha nature. The size of our beads and the length of the string varies to accommodate different practitioners. Full malas have 108 beads; wrist malas have 21 beads.

“In many traditions, strings of prayer beads reputedly have Miraculous origins. Catholics tell of the Virgin Mary revealing the rosary to Saint Dominic, bidding him teach it to the faithful… In Tibet ,ancient dzi, Or a Buddha-eye, beads have been found in tilt fields, their origins obscure but considered sanctified. Tiny seed beads used in Native American beadwork are thought to be gifts sent by the great spirit, all the same auspicious materials – Crystal’s, Amber, Rose Wood, all olive pits – are revered and incorporated in rosaries universally.”

– Beads of Faith

Spiritual Progress not Perfection

The Benefits of Meditation

While most contemplative traditions are comprised of spiritual practices that aim to bring the practitioner closer to actualization, transcendence,o or enlightenment, from a neuroscientific and clinical perspective meditation is usually considered as a set of diverse and specific methods of distinct attentional training in order to bring mental activity under improved insight into one’s own metal activity. Through the observation of ongoing mental and physical experience, this training is thought to improve the mechanisms of underlying self-regulation and  can manifest  as changes in mental states or as longer lasting traits.- Progress in Brain Research by Narayanan Srinivasan

10 Scientific Based Benefits of Meditation

Written by Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD

  1. Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress. Meditation can also reduce symptoms in people with stress-triggered medical conditions. Habitual meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
  2. Some forms of meditation can improve depression and create a more positive outlook on life. Research shows that maintaining an ongoing habit of meditation may help you maintain these benefits long term.
  3. Self-inquiry and related styles of meditation can help you “know yourself.” This can be a starting point for making other positive changes
  4. The improved focus you can gain through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity. These benefits can help fight age-related memory loss and dementia.
  5. Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first toward yourself and then toward others. Metta increases positivity, empathy and compassionate behavior toward others.
  6. Meditation develops mental discipline and willpower and can help you avoid triggers for unwanted impulses. This can help you recover from addiction, lose weight and redirect other unwanted habits.
  7. A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control the “runaway” thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep quality.
  8. Meditation can diminish the perception of pain in the brain. This may help treat chronic pain when used as a supplement to medical care or physical therapy.
  9. Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart disease.
  10. If you’re interested in incorporating meditation into your routine, try a few different styles and consider guided exercises to get started with one that suits you.

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