I do a lot of traveling, and often find myself in busy airports with lots of noise and disturbance. In such situations, one of my favorite tools for focusing and accessing my calm go-to place inside is my mala.

A mala (Sanskrit for “ garland” ) is a set of beads used for counting repetitions of breaths, prayers or mantras. They’re used by people of many faiths, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Bahá’i.

The number of beads in a classic mala/rosary may differ (Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist rosaries have 108 beads; Islam uses 99 or 33; Bahá’i, 95; and Catholicism, 55+5), but the result of using them is the same: calming the busy mind and spirit.

For people who want to use a mala unobtrusively, in a crowded airport, for instance, there are smaller bracelet-like versions like mine, consisting of about 20-25 beads (more or less, depending on bead size), with some kind of dangle—larger bead, tassel, or ornament— to mark the end of each circle of repetition.

I use my own private mantra, and sliding the beads, one at a time, through my fingers with each repetition always helps to soothe, focus, and quiet my mind. Even when surrounded by harried travelers, recorded announcements, arriving and departing flights, and crying babies, I can use my mala to create a circle of peace.

Wishing You Peace & Blessings

~ Melinda

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