Love Your Mala - Mala Use and Care
Cleansing Your Mala
Like all crystalline objects, malas are believed to conduct and absorb energies. It is a good idea to ‘cleanse’ your mala and charge it with your energy when you receive it or get it home. Cleansing can come in many forms; placing it in a sacred place (your altar or shrine), 'smudging' it with white sage or lemon grass, placing it in sunlight or strong moonlight, or placing it in a singing bowl or sacred chalice and ringing the bowl or bells over it.
You may have a spiritual teacher that you can ask to ‘bless’ your mala – or you may want to do a blessing yourself; lighting a candle or saying a prayer invoking the energy and setting the intention of the use of your mala.
Using Your Mala
Mala beads are meant to be prayer beads – and as such need to be treated with reverence. They are there to assist you in anchoring your mind while in meditation. The ‘counting’ or moving of the beads in time with your breath or the rhythm of a mantra serves to focus your attention and assist in raising your prayers toward heaven. The purpose of your mala is to focus your intention and spiritual energy.
Your mala will grow in spiritual significance with use – as you charge it with your prayers and intention.
Beyond its spiritual intention, your mala has been made with semi precious gemstones which have their own vibrational and healing frequencies.
Wearing Your Mala
In truth, a mala is not a piece of jewelry, but it is a beautiful object and the visual reminder of your intention, so it is understandable that you will want to wear it. Please do so with the care and reverence it deserves.
Wear your mala as a sacred object. If you can – reserve it for times of prayer and meditation. If you wear it into the outside world – protect it. Remove it before bathing, swimming or doing physical activity. Avoid getting it in contact with chemicals, cleaning solutions or perfumes. Don’t get it wet. Don’t tug at it or carry it by its tassel. Don’t allow it to knock against hard surfaces. Don’t place it on the floor or let it drop.
Remember that your mala has vibrational frequencies which can be interfered with by the vibrations of mundane activities.
Try to resist the temptation to wear your mala wrapped around your wrist. You would probably have to stretch and stress it to get it over your hand. And wearing it on your wrist is when it has the greatest chance of being knocked, getting dirty and undergoing stress and breaking – and the gemstone vibrational energy also has the greatest chance of disturbance.
Caring for Your Mala
Remember that your mala is made of natural substances – of silk (or cotton) cord and semi precious gemstones. Gemstones can crack if they knock against a hard surface. Silk can break if it is tugged at or treated poorly.
Over time, the tassel of your mala may get soiled, frayed or messy. Simple kinks can be steamed out over a boiling kettle. If it needs to be cleaned, dip it gently into a cup of cold water, squeeze out the excess and hang the mala to dry (it may also need a simple steam once fully dry). If the tassel needs trimming, slide your fingers down it and cut across the ends with sharp scissors – as you would if you were trimming hair.
Your mala beads are protected by the knots that surround them and should only require a wipe with a warm slightly damp cloth to freshen. But with use, the thread of your mala will eventually break – silk is a natural fiber and the gemstones beads and your fingers rubbing against it mean that at some point, it will wear out.
A Thought on Breaking
If you have treated your mala with care – it will have served you well and become a treasured object. When it breaks, there is the chance that you could feel sad or disappointed. Don’t be. See it as an opportunity to reassess your original intention and take stock of where you are in your spiritual journey.
A mala break can be a sign that this phase of your journey is complete and it is time to start anew. Take a moment to meditate on the original intention of the mala and to visit the progression of situations and encounters that have followed. Understand if you have arrived where you had intended – or still have some journey ahead – before you decide on the mala’s future.
Depending on your revelation, you can decide to have your mala restrung (at what should be a minor cost), or have the beads incorporated into a new piece in line with your new intention – or use those sacred beads in another way and choose a new mala altogether.
And a new relationship will begin.