Traditionally, the beads have been used in prayer and meditation. But don’t let that intimidate you. Anyone can wear mala beads, whether you meditate or not. Often, people are drawn to the necklaces for their believed healing qualities of calming the mind and providing inner peace. You can wear them around your wrist, your neck, hang them at your altar, or meditate on them.
If you choose to meditate on your mala, you will most likely use a mantra. A mantra is a word, sound or phrase repeated to aid in your concentration. It can be as simple as the word ‘love,’ something you are thankful for, or a Sanskrit phrase such as ‘om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti which represents all-encompassing peace. During meditation, each bead is held between the thumb and middle finger while the mantra is chanted once for each bead. Never use the index finger. A mala counts usually 108+1 ‘guru’ bead, which like a pendant is separate from the necklace of 108 beads. It is given the name “guru” — meaning “that which leads from ‘gu’ (darkness) to ‘ru’ (light) — because it is both the beginning and ending point of a mantra repetition circuit.
It’s widely believed that when one uses a mala for meditation and makes it all the way around, they will have found enlightenment. A Mala’s practical value is not just its use during meditation. Because of its inherent magnetic power, it not only holds its own charge, it also gains and holds the charge of the mantra. Thus, when your soul is fully charged with the power of the mantra, so is the mala. In this way, your mala is not only a sacred power object in its own right; it takes on the divine charge of the mantra and your personal divine fragrance as well. One powerful healing technique is to simply place a mala, sufficiently charged, onto a person’s chest. It is written that the healing power of a mala lasts for 7 generations.