Sunday, 6 July 2008

What is it about beads?

I have ordered three new malas for meditation: rose quartz, carnelian and amethyst. I got them from Green Man Gifts, and would just like to take a moment to praise the customer service I received there. My malas arrived promptly and were all very nice, but the amethyst mala had one bead with a chip out of it. Not only did the owner, Pangie Jackson, offer instantly to replace it at no extra charge and pay my postage for the return, but also is generously including an extra mala for free to 'make up for my disappointment.' That is fabulous customer care! The two new malas are to ship out on 8th July. I will definitely be doing more business with Green Man Gifts if I need additional meditation aids or other New Age gifts.

But anyway, what is a mala? It's a circle of 108 beads, with a 'meru' or 'Buddha' bead and usually a tassle. It is used as a meditation aid for counting mantras during chanting or silent meditation. The mala is sort of the Eastern equivalent of the Roman Catholic rosary. I have always loved prayer beads of any faith, and have a collection of 8 or 9 Catholic rosaries, 2 Anglican rosaries and 1 Tibetan Buddhist mala. Now I have added to that collection 4 japa malas. Only the Buddhist and japa malas were purchased for actual use. The others are for display and enjoyment of their inherent beauty. There are other traditional prayer beads from various faiths that I intend to add to my collection, such as the Islamic tasbeeh, which has 99 beads, the Greek komboloi, Wiccan Goddess prayer beads, and any other tradition I discover along the way.

I selected the rose quartz, carnelian and amethyst malas for specific reasons, as they are associated with certain chakras. I have cut and pasted a few snippets of information about the three stones from various sources:

Rose Quartz
Rose Quartz helps to open the Heart Chakra and connect to the energy of love. It is rejuvenating to both the physical and emotional body and assists the wearer to remain present, calm and peaceful. Helps us discover the ability to love ourselves and makes us more open to other people.

It is of particular value in helping us to forgive ourselves, hastening self-acceptance. Helps us realize that all change is important, even difficult change. Stimulates love and tender appreciation of all things.

Pink quartz (rose quartz) allows you to be in touch with your basic self. It will allow you to get to know your true self and to love that true self in all its beauty.
Rose Quartz is a good stone for someone who has trouble loving themselves or accepting love from another because they do not believe that they are worthy of being loved. It opens up the heart for both giving and receiving love. It soothes negative influences. This stone is good for dealing with issues on an emotional level. The rose quartz is also good for helping one to release childhood traumas, neglect, lack of love, self-esteem. The best stone for opening the 4th chakra.

Carnelian brings good luck and opportunity, awakens talents within and encourages creative visualization. It provides protection and was referred as the protection stone to warriors.

Carnelian dispels apathy, helps to increase motivation, energy and endurance. It is a stone of strength, self-worth and satisfaction and helps to open doors while bringing joy, confidence and happiness. Stimulates the Sacral Chakra, appetite, emotions, passion, sexuality, physical energy, celebration, reproductive system, fertility, menstrual cramps, lower back pain.
To many Carnelian is a powerful motivation stone and some have called it the "Self-Esteem Stone."

Among the New Age community, believers revere Carnelian’s mental grounding power and believe this is the source of its greatest mental effects. They say it teaches one to focus on the present for the moments in life when all one’s mental powers are necessary for success at a single, important task and is a source of confidence, eloquence and inspiration. For instances when you need a boost to creativity for problem-solving, Carnelian can assist in getting the mind out of mental ruts and back on track for success. In the long-term, it bolsters ambition and drive and reminds the wearer of the future’s goals, hence becoming a powerful tool in major decision-making. Overall, many hold Carnelian dear as a stone with the ability to protect the individual, bolster confidence and generally enhance and expand the experiences of life.

Chakra healers regard Carnelian for its connection to the 2nd Chakra or the Spleen Chakra. This area is the body’s center for creative and sexual, pure emotional energies, but healers also associate it with the five physical senses. The six petaled Lotus, deep orange colors and Aries are all connected to this region. When these energies are unblocked by Carnelian and the energy flows freely, one feels a deeper appreciation of his or her body, a greater connection with friends and lovers and a reduction of guilty feelings. These effects result in a more spontaneous, energetic and giving individual.

Amethyst is a stone of spirituality, contentment and meditation. It has the ability to absorb negative energy while emitting positive energy. It is considered a stone of wisdom as it increases ones psychic awareness. Amethyst is worn to enhance intuition, inspire creativity, quiet the mind, and encourage peace and stability. Wear to reduce anger, impatience, and headaches. Can benefit people with insomnia or troubled sleep. Stimulates the Brow and Crown Chakras.

Amethyst has come to be known as a power crystal with prolific healing powers which can be characterized as purifying, pacifying and transitional. Amethyst has the ability to transform lower energies into higher and acts as a healer at all levels of mind, body and spirit. The healing powers of Amethyst date back as far as the ancient Greeks who believed that Amethyst protected from the intoxicating effects of alcohol. The word "amethyst" is of Geek origin and is translated as- "amethystus" meaning not drunken, or intoxicated ("-methystos" from "methyein" or intoxicated, "methy" = wine).

Amethyst as a healing stone contains sobering and calming qualities which allow this stone to be commonly associated with peace. Amethyst is known to calm and protect the mind. It soothes those who have engaged in constant rigorous mental activity. It has been deemed "nature's tranquilizer" by many healers because of its effectiveness in relaxing not only the mind but also the nervous system.

Amethyst is related to and found to heal and align ailments of the the 6th and 7th Chakras, which are the Third Eye or Brow (6th) and the Crown (7th).
Amethyst aides the 6th Chakra, Third Eye, by opening and heighten awareness, both spiritual and psychic. Its calming qualities help to awaken and ease stress in this area. It helps to also heighten perspective and allows development of strong introspection (inner-self view). Amethyst is used to also increase intuition and psychic development. The Third Eye is the energy center for all levels of consciousness for which amethyst aides the in the transition from a normal state of consciousness to a deeper awareness.

The 7th Chakra, or the Crown controls the energies used in any mental activity. Amethyst helps to relieve strain or tension in this area. It is considered a helpful aide in meditation and in the facilitation of psychic visual enhancement. Its tranquil sobering effect allows those who are energetic to relax. It also is a cure for insomnia and nightmares and makes the intuition sensitive to understanding that outside of scientific reasoning.

I love this stuff!

Anyway, I have enjoyed meditating with my new malas, and look forward to receiving my amethyst replacement mala and the surprise freebie!

May all beings at ease.


Derek said...

Your new malas look great, and I'm glad you had a good experience with that on-line supplier. I guess we'll have to have another look at the site and see what other goodies they have.

Have you found that meditating with the new malas works better for you?

I'm interested in displaying all of your prayer beads on the wall of our flat, by the way!

Morandia said...

ok.... why is the index finger never used to touch the mala?

very nice!

Carla said...

Morandia, the fingers have meanings in yoga. The index finger represents the ego, the biggest impediment to self-realization, so it is considered best avoided when meditating. The middle finger represents wisdom and patience, consciousness beyond ego. The ring finger represents vitality--the energy of life. The pinky finger represents communication. The thumb represents the Divine. So to move the mala with the middle finger and the thumb is to connect the inner self (beyond ego self) with the Divine, connected by the energy of the crystal mala.

Plus it's easier to use the thing in that position! :)

I use my left hand instead of my right because I'm left handed and it's more comfortable for me like that. I have tried it with my right hand and may make the switch. But Tibetans always hold the mala in the left hand. So there are all sorts of traditions.

Carla said...

Following on from that, though, the preferred mudra for meditation is gyan mudra, where thumb and index finger meet:

This position is said to ground you and increase concentration.

So who knows why you shouldn't touch the beads in one instance but should focus on it in another! Actually I tend to have one hand rotating the mala and the other in gyan mudra when I meditate!

Morandia said...

what is your preferred chant for this? just wondering ...

Carla said...

I like the following:

satanama wahe guru (Truth is my name, indescribable ecstacy)

om mani padme hum (Hail jewel in the lotus, Tibetan)

namyoho renge kyo (Hail jewel in the lotus, Japanese)

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi--swaha (gone, gone, all the way gone, everyone gone over to enlightenment--hooray!)

ek ong kar satnam siri wahe guru (All that's created created us. Truth is our identity, great beyond description. Unspeakable ecstasy, infinite light from infinite darkness)

I don't really have a favourite. I use these most, though. I guess I like 'satanama wahe guru' a lot. It's on the Mantra Girl album, too, by the way, as is 'ek ong kar'.

KittyDobson said...

For the love of goodness woman!! YOU POST TOO MUCH!! Google leads me here with an image, and besides the whole vegan thing (no offense I just love a nice turkey..) we seem to have a lot of the same interest!! But do you think I can find the one thing that google treid to show me?! nope. I mean don't get me wrong, blogs and i seem to envolve some sort of imploding because the thoughts tend to come out slightly crazy!! Anyway (see what I mean?!) I am looking for the peice you wrote where you included the catholic rosary break down image, I"m currently putting something to gether on teh history of the Anglican rosary and its use and feel the catholic rosary is an important thing to include, because though we may differ by the 'little things' realtive to life, though they may be big things in faith, we are all children of God and his care. I looked through all the titles for all your posts and I'm either blind or you're far to witty and creative for a pre caffine brain....neither one is bad however! Hope you can help, if you have no idea what i'm talking about thats ok too! When I have more time i'll deffinetly be purusing your posts!! you tottally don't have to approve this, you could just drop me a line at my email (amymcdonald89 at gmail dot com) or follow me to my uh....defunct blog ;)