I have been making malas again. It's a meditative experience, transportive, really. When a touchstone emerges from a mass of unexplored stones and beads, it becomes the focal bead of the mala, which is meant to begin the contemplative experience with its eloquent tactility.
The beads that will make up the mala speak up for themselves. Their shapes, their hues ask - insist, sometimes, to be included. Like poetry of limited syllables, great discipline must be used to balance the mala and hold its focus.
The mala has a message that is spoken in ancient shapes and materials. It is a message of spirituality through physicality.
I think that beads were created for this purpose: to be a reminder of something. To stand as a symbol of a promise or a hope. And to count - to impart a number to remembrance and show devotion through repetition.
Today we have a long history of the making of beads in almost every culture, and many wonderful strands of this history hang by my bead table, waiting to find their calling in a piece that will give them meaning and purpose.
The house mala is meant to be contemplated, like the hand mala, and seen everyday as a matter of conscience. It can be hung on a door - inner or outer - on a door knob, or anywhere you pass frequently.
It is also meant to be a protector, or a reminder of protection, or guardianship. A comfort upon seeing. It marks this familiar space, where you have peace, and make and take your blessings. It is an emblem of the boundary between your Inner world and the Outer world.
If it is the last thing you see as you leave home, it reminds you that you have power, and a glowing spirit to take with you, which will be nourished and replenished again when you return.