Living on a prayer (mindfully)

In the blog category “Mindfulness Meditation techniques”, I will list various techniques that will help practitioners of this form of meditation. Over a period of years, I have compiled a variety of such techniques and formed a virtual toolkit from which I draw upon on a regular basis.

Buddhist prayer beads or rosary beads are traditional tools used in the practice of meditation or reflection. They have been used for meditation and recitation of chants for thousands of years in the Chinese, Buddhist, Hindu, Indian and Tibetan culture. Different designs of prayers beads are also used in Christianity and Islam. Some prayer beads have decorative tassels on them. The idea is that you start with the bead adjacent to the tassel. Once you finish your unit of practice, you turn the bead up (or down) and move to the next one. You repeat this cycle till you make a complete round. Most prayer beads used in the Buddhist tradition have 108 beads.

buddhist_mala_beads_in_nuns_hand from Wikimedia Commons

The mindfulness meditation technique goes like this: Take the prayer bead. Sit in a relaxed but erect posture. Keep your eyes open or closed. Turn your attention to your breath and watch every inhalation and exhalation. Start with the bead adjacent and below the tassel. Every time you exhale, move a bead up, thereby making the tassel move away from your fingers. Continue this meditation and this action. From time to time, your attention will wander enough for you to lose track of your breath and/or the turning of the bead. When you notice that your mind has wandered off, gently bring it back to the breath and to the physical action of turning the beads. If your eyes are closed, when you turn the last bead, you will encounter the tassel again. This will be a sign for you to stop the meditation session.

Since there are 108 beads, you will likely take about 10 minutes to finish this practice. The beauty of this practice is that you are now adding a physical action to the mindfulness of breath meditation in a very unique way. This is one way that countless people have meditated for thousands of years in many different traditions and in many different parts of the world.

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