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How to use Mala Beads for Meditation

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A Japa mala or mala (Sanskrit:माला; mālā, meaning garland) is a set of beads commonly used by Hindus and Buddhists. Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. This practice is known in Sanskrit as japa. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads. ~ from wikipedia

Although malas are most comonly used to count mantras, they can also be used for Mindfulness Meditation as an aide to keep track of the breath.

Using the beads to keep track of yor inhaling and exhaling, serves to ground you and help against loosing yorself to the stream of thoughts…

There is a very powerful grounding that happens when you count each breath with the flick of a bead. They connect your breath to the physical universe and it can be the difference between constantly loosing yorself to the thoughtstream and staying grounded much more easily in the present moment.

You can use them with eyes open or closed, but if you feel you’re getting dragged into the raging river of  thoughts, you can open your eyes and look at the beads.

They can be used to practice Mindfulness Meditation and if you use a mala that is divided in groups of nine beads, it can be used to practice the Nine Deep Breaths to Peace Technique.

For a description of the mala and a visual demonstration on their use, please see the video below:

 

 

Einstein’s Simple Wardrobe

It has been said that Albert Einstein had a closet full of the exact same clothes so he could wear the same thing every day and not have to waste time and energy in deciding what to wear.

Although there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to the fact, I once decided to follow what I thought to be Einstein’s brilliant example.

I’ve never been a morning person and always slept till the last minute and then rushed to get to work on time.

I actually timed my morning ritual to the point where if anything didn’t go as planned I’d be late for work, and although I usually made it on time, my work environment was pretty forgiving about this type of thing, so it was no biggie if I was late.

Since time was of the essence, I had turned my morning ritual into such a refined work of precision that even Einstein would have been proud of, but… I still had one annoying variable that would often trow a monkey wrench into the whole operation and inevitably mess with my morning Zen thing: trying to decide what to wear.

Maybe not really deciding what to wear, it was more about combining my clothes correctly, cause I didn’t really care too much about looking good, I was aiming for just looking decent. I had given up on learning how to dress myself since third grade.

My first technique to deal with my problem was to do all this matching the night before and leave my clothes laid out and ready for the morning rush, but this wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be rid of this clothes matching nonsense once and for all!

I gave this problem some thought and remembering Einstein’s wardrobe story I thought – I’m not trying to impress anyone at work. Most of my peers already think I’m kinda odd, so what’s one more little eccentricity going to do to my image? They can’t fire me for that, can they?

So I went out and bought five, white, long sleeved shirts and five khaki, pleated Dockers slacks. Then I decided to use a brown belt and shoes. The best part for me was buying a big bag of plain white cotton socks because matching socks with the rest of my clothes was what made me give up on this stuff in the third grade to begin with!

Although I was freaking out quite a bit over the whole experiment, the socks were what made me the most nervous. I was sure everyone would notice my plain white socks and I would get my butt fired on the spot.

I know you’re dying to hear about how I became the butt of everyone’s joke at the water cooler, and how all the ladies ran away from the freak, but in reality, the experiment was a success.

I must have shaved off at least ten minutes from my morning routine since I had what I thought to be an Einstein-Type office wardrobe, and at work, no one ever asked, commented, nor avoided me as if I had forgotten to put on deodorant – at least not any more than usual…

A friend at work once commented on not liking to spend money on work clothes and I told him that’s just one of the reasons I had come up with my “office uniform” and proceeded to tell him how I was following Einstein’s lead, because I’m smart like that…

So it all worked out for me because:

  • I picked a decent enough uniform for my office environment (slacks and long sleeved shirt).
  • White and beige doesn’t call much attention to yourself, I could have also used a blue shirt and Khakis but I didn’t want to be mistaken for a Blockbuster employee…
  • I had a good back story if some one questioned be about wearing the same thing every day – Einstein’s Simple Wardrobe.
  • I’ve never really cared what anyone else thought about me – I am shamelessly immune to peer pressure.
  • The peace of mind of not having to deal with matching shirt, pants and especially socks outweighed any worry about being thought of as odd…

Since I really got into this no-brainer-wardrobe-routine, I expanded it to my weekend casual-ware this way:

I usually wear jeans, any colored t-shirt and Teva sandals – no socks at all – Woohoo! So there is nothing at all to match because Tevas and jeans go with any colored t-shirt.

I know that this type of radical, gorilla warfare wardrobe editing is not for everyone, especially for most women, since they have much worse clothes matching complications that men do – with so many purses and shoes thrown into the mix, but with a bit of effort, I believe they can also come up with a viable office uniform of their own.

Females should do a search on capsule wardrobe to open their minds to a much simpler wardrobe experience. There are even capsule wardrobe professionals! I am definitely working too hard to make a living…

So, if you are immune to peer pressure like me, and want to simplify your life a bit, try Einstein’s Simple Wardrobe Technique and save yourself some time, money and clothes matching agony and watch how one simple life editing exercise spills over to other areas of your life.

Simple + Life = Peace