Making a Mala

I’ve been wanting a mala for several months now. If you haven’t heard the term before, a mala is a meditation tool, a set of beads that is used for counting prayers or repeating mantras, somewhat like a rosary, except that a mala is favored by Hindus and Buddhists.

Mary's MalaQuite some time ago I saw a video that talked about 6 power words that could transform your life. It was a sales pitch for the man’s program, however, he offered a lot of information in his introductory video, which I really appreciate. (For anyone interested in checking it out, here’s the link. You do have to sign up for his newsletter, and I can not vouch for the quality of his training.)

The six power words are a mantra: “Aum gum shreem maha lakshmi yei namaha”. Aum means pure force. Gum means removal of obstacles. Shreem is the sound of abundance. Maha symbolizes the increase of energy. Lakshmi yei represents purpose. And Namaha represents completion. The vibration of the words can, as the vibration of any words can and does, affect you on a deep and cellular level. (Which is why negative self-talk is so harmful!)

When I have used this mantra in the past, I have definitely noticed positive things – opportunities for abundance – come into my life.

Repetition is also powerful. The mantra is most effective repeated 108 times daily. Do you know how hard it is to keep track of how many times you’ve said a mantra WITHOUT the help of a mala? I do. Let’s just say I haven’t been very effective at creating a habit of saying this mantra.

I’ve had a couple of friends who had offered to make me one. For one reason or another, it hasn’t happened. (And there are absolutely no hard feelings, friends!) I even saw a woman at the Market who was selling some. Unfortunately, they were WAY out of my price range. Apparently, I needed to make it myself.

The first hurdle was what to make it from. Traditional malas are made of seeds, wood or bone. Malas made of crystals are quite popular now, and that is what I wanted. But what crystals to use?

I had a strand of emeralds, though there weren’t enough to make a mala on their own. So what to put with them? I headed to my favorite crystal guide, Love is in the Earth.

Emeralds are good for combining “intelligence with discernment, allowing for the choice of “right” action to be the only choice available. … It can be used to open, activate and to stimulate the heart chakra… [and] bring harmony to all areas of one’s life. … It can be used to eliminate negativity from one’s life and to bring forth the positive actions required to assist one in remaining centered in the practicality of one’s lifework. … It can help one to maintain the rhythmic breathing conducive to entering and attaining a meditative state. After the meditative state, it helps one to maintain the cool brilliance of the deliberate reflection and to emit the radiance of the light.”

The stones I ultimately chose to go with the emerald were kunzite and ruby.

Kunzite “activates the heart chakra and aligns the heart chakra with the throat chakra and third-eye chakra. It synthesizes the energies to produce loving thoughts and loving communication. … Kunzite can be used to remove obstacles from one’s path… and acts asa facilitator in the physical, emotional and intellectual realms. … It assists one in attaining deep meditative states and provides for centering in all situations; it helps one to mentally retire when in the midst of a crowd, to remain calm in the midst of distraction, and to sustain wisdom in the midst of folly. Kunzite also stimulates intuition and creativity during the meditative state.”

Ruby “stimulates the heart chakra and assists one in the selection and attainment of one’s ultimate values. It further stimulates the loving emotional side toward nurturing, bringing spiritual wisdom, health, knowledge and wealth. … It has been used to induce a stability in one’s economic status; it has been said that as long as one retains a bit of ruby, wealth will never depart. … The ruby encourages one to follow bliss. … The energy can assist one in changing one’s world, promoting creativity and expansiveness in awareness and manifestation.”

All together, the three stones help keep me heart-centered, promote meditation and aid abundance – very much in line with the mantra.

As I said, traditional malas have 108 beads, which is four rounds of 27 (3x3x3). When I looked at visual examples online, some showed just the 108 beads in a single loop, while others had a different bead that divided the four sections. I chose to divide mine, and because I had three different types of beads, mine actually has 112 beads, because of the dividers. I’m good with that. 🙂 And yes, I made the tassel, too!

I chanted the mantra with each bead as I placed it on the string. By the end, I was definitely in a bit of an altered state! I am looking forward to seeing what regular practice with the mala and the mantra brings me!

Blessings,

Mary

All quotes are from Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals – The Reference Book Describing the Metaphysical Properties of the Mineral Kingdom by Melody.

Link Share: 50 Incredibly Successful People Who Credit Meditation

Just before I went on hiatus, one of my readers sent me a link to an article about 50 successful people who credit meditation as one of the keys to their success. The article categorizes these celebrities into categories based on their expertise, and there are some pretty amazing people on the list!

Benefits Of Meditation

While many around the world have long known of the benefits of meditation, Western medical science has just recently begun to take note of the short- and long-term effects meditation can have on the body and mind. The practice has been shown to not only help individuals to relax and de-stress, but also to improve concentration, expand understanding, and to actually create sustained changes in the brain itself.

While meditation has grown in popularity in recent years, many of the most successful people in everything from business to writing have been using it for years to expand their minds and find clarity. Some even credit it with helping them to achieve their goals and to advance their careers. Here are just a few big names in literature, acting, business, politics, and music who’ve used meditation to improve their lives and their work, who may just inspire you to take up meditation yourself.

Read the article, and the list here and have an excellent weekend!

Blessings,

Mary

*UPDATE: I’ve been asked to remove the link. Sorry everyone!

De-Stress in a Pinch

This past week was pretty stressful for me.  I didn’t really realize it so much in the midst of it, but by the end of the week, I was done.  Fried.  Stressed out!

I had a first aid class that was in the evenings for four days, right after work.  This meant wolfing down my dinner in the car on the way to class.  I was getting up and exercising in the mornings, and then going directly to work.  I also had to read the first aid book before my last class.  We also put our house up for sale last week, and I got my moon time.  By Friday, I was way behind on my sleep, and I was becoming very sensitive to every little percieved slight.  And most of them were all in my head.

Because I was out late at my class, and then reading the text book when I got home, my meditation practice got shoved to the side.  This definitely did not help my mental state! So on Saturday, when I had an event to run after work, I was not at my best.  I was irritated that I had to make dinner, AND pack the vehicle for the event, BY MYSELF, AND clean up the kitchen, AND… well, you get the idea.  My mind was running away on the “poor me, I have to do everything myself, and no one helps or appreciates me” track to misery.  All of this is completely untrue, yet this was the tape that was playing in my mind.

Thankfully, my husband drove to the event.  I could tell I was not in the right frame of mind to lead this event, which was about spiritual growth.  So I closed my eyes, and breathed slowly and deeply.  I dropped out of my mind, and into my center.  I observed my mind playing the tape, and I let the emotions flow.  Yes, I cried. I meditated the whole way to the event.

I’d like to say that by the end of the 15 minute drive I was all better.  There was still a little residue and sensitivity there.  But I was now the one in control (not my mind and some outdated program), and the frustration was flowing out of me.  By the time I had everything set up, and everyone had a chance to chat for a while, I was fully in my center, in the moment, and ready to facilitate the event.

Meditation is a wonderful tool for de-stressing.  You can do it anywhere, and within a relatively short amount of time.  Of course, getting enough sleep, exercise, or a relaxing bubble bath help, too!

What’s your favorite method of de-stressing?

Blessings,

Mary

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Saturday morning my back yard was calling me.  So I decided to change up my morning meditation routine.  I went out into the middle of the back yard, sat down, closed my eyes and listened.

I heard the crows and the blue jays, and the other little birds that I can’t identify by their calls.  I heard several different dogs in the neighborhood announcing their presence.  I heard the wind whispering to me in the trees.  I heard two different sets of wind chimes on the house down the hill – one high and metallic, and another low and wooden, both musical in their own way.

I heard traffic on the highway half a mile away.  I heard conversations from several different directions, and my husband and eldest son waking up inside the house.  I heard my son ever so quietly cross the lawn and sit down next to me for a morning snuggle.  And I heard a child (not mine!) crying.

In amongst actively listening to all these sounds, my mind was quiet.  The random thoughts were stilled.  Why?  Because I gave my mind a specific job to do: Listen.  Giving your mind a job to do is a great way to get it off of something your worried about, or to get it off of creating more worries.

The great part is, you can do it anywhere.  At your desk, or go outside on your lunch break, or just before you drift off to sleep.

Close your eyes for a moment (once you’re done reading).  What sounds do you hear?

Blessings,

Mary

What’s your favourite position?

My husband likes to do it lying down.  I prefer to do it sitting up.

I’m talking about meditation positions.  What were you thinking?

There are several common positions that people use for meditating:

  • Crossed legs
  • Lying down
  • Kneeling
  • Seated in a chair
Crossed legs

There are several variations to this position.  In all of them, make sure your spine is straight, with your chin tucked slightly in.

Lotus Meditation Position

Lotus Meditation Position

The most challenging for many people is the lotus position.

Half Lotus Meditation Position

Half Lotus Meditation Position

In the Lotus position, your right foot rests on your left thigh, and your left foot rests on your right thigh.  An alternative if you are not able to do this is to put one foot on the opposite thigh, and rest the other foot on the floor in front of you.

A much simpler variation is what my kids call, “criss-cross applesauce.”  This is your traditional crossed legs pose.  You know, the one you sat in at circle time in kindergarten.

Crossed Legs Meditation Position

Crossed Legs Meditation Position

Lying Down
Laying Down Meditation PositionLaying Down Meditation Position

Lay flat on your back, with your legs out straight and your arms at your sides.  You can put a pillow under your head, and one under your knees if it bothers your back to lay flat.  As I mentioned above, this is my husband’s favourite meditation position.  I find that I am more likely to fall asleep than meditate laying down!

Kneeling
Kneeling Meditation Position

Kneeling Meditation Position

This pose is not recommended if you have knee problems!  Sit on your knees, with your butt on your heels and your toes stretched out behind you.  You can use a meditation cushion to sit on to cushion yourself.

Seated in a chair

Choose a chair with a straight back.  Sit all the way back in the chair, with your feet flat on the floor.  Ideally, your legs will form a 90 degree angle at the knee, and at the hip.

Sitting Meditation Position

Sitting Meditation Position

Those are the most common meditation positions.  What’s your favourite?

Blessings,

Mary

Breathe Love

The other night I woke up in quite a lot of pain.  The muscles all up and down my back were spasming.  I prefer not to take medication until all my other options have run out.  I also avoid getting out of bed if I can! 🙂

So I started by slowing down my breath.  When I’m in pain, like most people, my breathing gets shallow and quick. Then I started a technique that my dad taught me when he was learning to manage chronic pain.  With each inhale, think, “I am.”  With each exhale think, “Calm.”  Each breath affirms that your entire being is calm.

I have used this technique to successfully manage pain and anxiety in the past.  This time, a flash of inspiration came to me.  Change the word “calm” to “love!” I AM…LOVE. Now each breath affirms that my entire being is love!

I instantly felt my pain level decrease.  After only a few breaths, I felt my heart expand, and a feeling of peace and joy washed over me.  My mind kept taking me out of the experience to analyze what I was feeling so that I could write about it this week, and I would return to focusing on the breath.  I AM…LOVE.  I AM…LOVE. My heart expanded, and I felt a deeper connection with my family, and soon with the world outside.  I was in unity.  I was relaxed.  The pain was not completely gone, but it was significantly decreased to the point that I was able to go back to sleep.  And I felt great!

For a deeper meditation experience, do this in combination with alternate nostril breathing.  Here’s how:

  1. Hold your right hand up, palm facing you.
  2. Bend your index finger and middle finger down, leaving your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers up.
  3. Using your ring finger to hold your left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril for a count of four.  (Think, “I AM.”)
  4. Release your left nostril and using your thumb to hold your right nostril closed, exhale for a count of eight. (Think, “LOVE.”)
  5. Continue holding the right nostril with your thumb, and inhale for a count of four.  (Think, “I AM.”)
  6. Release your right nostril, hold your left nostril closed with your ring finger, and exhale for a count of eight. (Think, “LOVE.”)
  7. Lather, rinse, repeat three to seven times.

Alternate nostril breathing activates both sides of the brain.  Even practicing here while I am typing out the instructions, I can feel the positive effects!  Let me know what you experience.

Blessings,

Mary

Where my spiritual path and science meet

I read this article by Stacia Topping last week, and it really affirmed my choice to use meditation and guided meditation in my life.

A Soul’s Code insider asked herself, “Can enlightenment happen through meditation or practice?” Drawing on examples like Eckhart Tolle, her personal experience and science, the answer is: Yes

I began meditating about two and a half years ago, at the urging of a then-friend (translation: a fellow I was very briefly dating.) I was an avid journal-writer, and felt that was enough for clearing the detritus-of-the-day from my mind.

But a couple weeks later, when someone came into my office and was handing out flyers for beginning meditation classes, I decided to take up the invitation. My work ’situation’ was super-stressful, and I thought that meditation might help ameliorate the effects more than what I saw people around me using to cope — from Ambien to alcohol.

Continue reading the article here…

Blessings,

Mary

There’s a new meditation available for you. Download for free here…

12 Steps to Help You to Relax, Heal & Commune With Nature

Posted by Julie Griffin in Hypnosis on January 17th, 2010

Scores of books and articles have been written on the benefits of physical relaxation. There are many things that you can do to prompt your body to relax, including spending time outside in nature.

If you enjoy self-hypnosis and guided meditation, the following steps will help you get the most out of any time that you spend in nature. You can add your own thoughts and imagery to these steps, to make the process more personally meaningful.

You can read the 12 steps here…

Blessings,

Mary

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download Creating Sacred Space for free!
And keep your eyes out for another meditation available for download soon!

Project Meditation LifeFlow Sample

My recommendation for this week: Project Meditation’s free LifeFlow sample.

LifeFlow is a product designed by Michael Mackenzie to increase relaxation and help you move into a meditative state faster and easier.

LifeFlow® has been specifically designed using extremely precise frequencies that resonate and impact the body at a cellular level. You can truly feel your deep relaxation or meditation on a physical level, in surges of positive energy and a flow of deep heartfelt emotions.

I listened to it the other night before bed, and I had a good night’s sleep.  And I turned it on underneath my yoga DVD this morning, and it was wonderful, especially for the meditation at the end. I was able to stay more focused.

Listening to it sounds like pleasant nature sounds, but underneath the sounds are Isochronic, Monaural and Binaural tones that lead to brainwave entrainment.  What exactly does all that mean?  Stay tuned for next week’s post, as I’m doing the research to break it down.

For now, give the sample a try.  You will need to enter your name and email address, which will sign you up for another list.  The whole system is a bit pricey, but he gives away other freebies from time to time!

Blessings,

Mary

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download Creating Sacred Space for free!
And keep your eyes out for another meditation available for download soon!