* Why I Wear Mala Beads
Updated: Feb 3, 2019
Brought to you: Mental Gear Closet
I have a strong dislike of cheap souvenirs. Too often I've found myself shelling out hard earned money for cute items which - once brought home - seem to quickly loose their luster, creating more clutter than joy.
Therefore, while in Nepal two years ago I frequently passed by the mala bead necklaces and billowing pants I saw many backpackers flocking to daily in the markets.
And yet here I am ... a proud owner of both.
Soon after arriving in Pokhara, Nepal I found myself in the presence of two local singing bowl healers, Atul and Kwan, who offer their meditations by donation-only in an open-air second story space amongst the bustle of the town center. I quickly fell into routine attendance, joining a rag-tag group of mostly western backpackers eager to connect with this vibrational healing power, each for reasons that were as private as they were personal.
Over the month, I become incredibly connected to the experience of these meditations as well as the infectious, immeasurable positive energy exuded by Atul and Kwan. How does one explain in printed letters the feeling of being so totally seen and loved within the embrace of each welcoming hug (which were shared freely with every attendee), or the bubbly, inviting delight felt through a pair of eternally playful eyes and giddy laugh? Their energy was almost as healing as the singing sound bowls.
And then it was time to leave.
It was time to walk away from this spring of connection, happiness and healing, returning instead to a world dominated (at least in part) by young backpackers seeking Insta-worthy attractions and cheap booze. A piece of me felt devastated.
At the end of my last session, as the cloth covering my eyes was removed, I cried. As Kwan helped me stand to my feet, I cried. As we hugged deeply, I cried. And after exchanging vows of “we will surely see each other again”, spoken with the usual twinge of desperation and sadness, Atul presented me with the mala beads I now wear daily. They serve as a reminder of these two powerful souls, of my experiences and healing while in Nepal, and as an invitation to bravely continue my personal journey with the spiritual protection the beads are traditionally believed to offer.
Now, to the wearers of these and other symbols, whether they serve as a souvenir, a reminder to act or just a pretty trinket that brings a moment of joy I pass on this wish for you:
May peace, clarity and strength accompany you on your own journey,
however you have arrived, and wherever you may go.