Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Blessing and Offering A New Mala
What do you do after you get a new mala?
You've acquired a mala, either through purchase or as a gift. Maybe it's a special custom mala you have designed with a mala maker, or perhaps you have made it yourself. What now?
Sit down in your favorite meditation place, settled into or on your seat.
Set your intention—be it to settle your mind, come closer to peace, or all of the above—and think about generating compassion for all sentient beings, including yourself.
As you begin your recitation you might feel you're not resonating with your mala. Even if you ordered it with enthusiasm and chose the stones for their significance to you, sometimes it takes awhile to feel connected with the beads.
You can try offering it in your practice and blessing it that way. Getting a mala blessed by a qualified master is wonderful, if you get a chance. But on your own there's quite a lot you can do. You can simply offer it to whatever sacred higher power you feel a connection to and dedicate the mala. You can think of compassion, of benefiting all beings, and you can pray that whatever meditation and mantras you do with it will be blessed. If you work with crystals you might be familiar with this process of offering something and receiving blessing gently into it.
Just hold it in your hands while you say a blessing prayer. Or you could hold it in open hands in an offering gesture. You could hold it with your hands clasped to your heart, eyes closed. Your way will be your own.
I often say the mantra, "Om Mani Padme Hung" as I go around the beads of a new mala. This seems to me to dedicate the mala to compassionate use, as it is the mantra most connected with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But any mantra will work!
After using it repeatedly, with the power of your practice, your mantra will remind you even more of your intentions and it will develop an energy that will bring you back from your wandering thoughts as you meditate. It will become a good companion and a tool for developing mindfulness, awareness, and compassion.
I just used the word "intention" quite a few times. It seems that this is the main thing about using a mala, whether you use it for prayer and mantra, just to come back to center and refocus, or mostly enjoy wearing it to remind you to stay positive. Intention works. And remember, a mala is just a string of beads until you use it. Your energy and motivation are what bring it alive.