People ask me almost daily if I design jewelry. Honestly, I’ve never had the aspiration. People ask me because every single day, I’m adorned in at least one mala / bracelet / earring / crystal from Live Your Truth Malas. I use a mala every day in my chanting practice. And I photograph these malas and inevitably one always “calls to me” as the very first one pictured did last year. For my wedding, I had the multi-talented momma / yoga goddess / studio owner / effortless fashionista / friend / fellow Buddhist soul, Lauren Dashiell Wessinger, create one for me to wear through the weekend to remind me to stay where my hands and feet were. That one is unpictured but absolutely gorgeous.
A mala has 108 beads and is used in Japa Meditation where you chant a mantra 108 times. It is one of my favorite meditations – often the only one that truly quiets my mind. There are days when I simply cannot sit still without twitching and itching and climbing out of the present moment to plan my busy day. And these are the moments when I know I need the meditation most. So, I started chanting. 108 times with my middle finger and thumb stringing each bead toward my heart. And then sitting for several minutes in the silence.
After you chant the Gayatri mantra (seen below + hear it here) 108 times,
om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt
there is a deafening and beautiful silence that only the Divine can break. I’ve not been so consistent with the aforementioned Gayatri mantra because it takes around 45 minutes to chant. However, “Oṃ Maṇi Padme Hūṃ” for compassion and “Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha” for abundance take around 8 mintues. Both of these mantras I chanted (separately) for 40 days straight. I chanted Lakshmiyei leading up to SoulSpace Yoga Community’s opening when I knew I needed a change. I didn’t have enough time, strength, money, etc. Lakshmi changed me daily. And, om mani padme hum helped me in the realm of forgiveness like no therapist ever could.
People say, “Why chant sanskrit?”
I’m sure there are a number of reasons but for me there are two main reasons:
- Sanskrit vibrates at a beautiful frequency that actually raises my own vibration. it’s not unlike the way the National Anthem feels or a beautiful rendition of Silent Night or Ave Maria. The words move me beyond the translation.
- My mind cannot compete with sanskrit. When I chant “I am peace” more stuff slips in between. I meditate to calm the bad neighborhood that is my mind. I don’t go in alone. I always take a mantra or a spiritual friend to help me hash through the stuff inside there.