Using your mala

Mala beads have been used for thousands of years in various spiritual practices. A traditional mala is made of 108 beads used to count mantra recitations. Depending on tradition, a mala can include additional beads called 'markers' and a larger, more distinct bead called the guru bead. Marker beads are used to orient the user of their position on the mala while reciting mantras. The position of the marker beads varies between traditions or may not be used at all. Mala of Merit positions marker beads positions in the Tibetan style, dividing the mala into quadrants.

The style of the mala and how it is used varies depending on culture and tradition. In India, the mala is always used in the right hand and the beads are counted using the thumb and any finger except the first finger, which is considered the rude or “accusing” finger. However, in Tibet, the mala is typically used in the left hand and manipulated with any of the fingers. You are free to choose whichever hand is most comfortable for you or decide based on tradition.

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How to meditate with a mala

 1- Begin with one of the beads next to the guru bead, holding the bead between the thumb and finger, allowing the rest of the beads to drape over the hand while you recite your chosen mantra.

 2- Pulling the beads towards your body, move your thumb and finger over to the next bead and recite the mantra again; then repeat the process.

3- When you arrive at one of the marker beads, you may either stop and begin again later; or you can skip over the counter bead and continue around the mala.

 4- When you reach the end of your mala (the last bead next to the guru bead), mentally bow to your guru, teacher, or your own higher state of consciousness. You can either stop here or turn the mala over and begin again where you just ended.

*You may wear your mala as a necklace or wrapped around your wrist several times and worn like a bracelet however, wrapping your mala around your wrist may cause the structure of the mala to weaken over time.*

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