prayers when I look at my watch

Finding Meaning in the Mindfulness of Life

I know some friends who have never lost a sibling or a parent. It’s as if the hardest death they’ve had to deal with is a grandparent or pet. My life has been a bit different.

I lost my father at 22, my oldest sister at 24, my brother at 54, and my mom at 57. Yes, I’m still livin, so that’s the good part. But each loss has come with an impact on my emotional life. I’m trying to pull back the curtain on some of my mindful/spiritual practices that help me in everyday life. Loss changes people. I have two HS friends who are about to lose at least one of their parents, their first loss. I can’t explain it to my old friend. “Get all the time you can with them, even if they suck a bit. When they are gone everything changes. Especially you.

Affirmations and Love

These days we see a lot of people (celebrities, even politicians) wearing prayer beads or mala bracelets. It’s sort of like the LiveStrong rubber band thing that kicked off an entire “rubber band” industry. Today the spiritual sales machine is alive and well. And I’m guessing that our senators are trying to be hip rather than mindful. But I’d like to give you my loving practice that involves my two mala bracelets and my prayer necklace.

Today, I wear two mala bracelets on my left wrist. One for each of my kids. It’s not a mystical thing, just a thought. When I put them on, adjust them during the day, or simply check my watch for the time, I see the two bracelets. In that instant I send a prayer of health and happiness to my kids, both making their way at college.

My necklace also has a deeper meaning. A bit deeper than the given topics below.

mala beads on sale

This one, Amethyst Chakra Mala

Amethyst Chakra Mala

From the website:

Throughout Buddhism, the 108 bead Mala has remained a powerful meditation tool, helping it’s user gain knowledge, discipline & love through ancient mantras.

This Chakra Mala is composed of pure Amethyst.

In my world, the amethyst is more about self-awareness and self-love. I have my own mantra when I put the necklace on or off, “Let me feel and express love that gives energy and support to others.”

On the website (no affiliate link provided) we learn this:

Generally referred to as “the crown chakra,” Sahasrara is not usually considered a chakra by traditional Yoga lineages because it is not an energy center in the same way as the other six chakras. Sahasrara is about non-duality. It is representative of the point at which all differentiation is transcended into oneness. Sahasrara is like a portal between divine oneness and our individual expressions; it transcends all duality. Sahasrara cannot be said to have any energetic attributes or, perhaps, we could say that it contains all energetic attributes simultaneously.

– An excerpt from 7 Chakras: A Modern Guide To Ancient Wisdom.

Here’s the point of my own mindfulness practice involving these colorful symbols of wisdom and prayer. When you remind yourself, talk to yourself, encourage yourself, and give help to others, you are connecting yourself to a higher power. (Interpret this as your spiritual program allows.) As I remind myself how much I love and support my children I am the one who is changed. I receive the benefit. I feel comfort. I express my gratitude for healthy and vibrant kids. It doesn’t really matter if my prayers are felt by my kids. The prayer and the praying are the point. By returning to “prayer” 20 – 30 times a day, I am bringing my life in closer alignment with my own understanding of “higher power.”

Finding Your Own Meaning in Ritual

Find rituals and spiritual objects that remind you how blessed you are, and how your love radiates more love into the world around you. Our energy affects everyone. Even the waitress at the diner where I’m having breakfast. I can be indifferent, like many of her customers. Or I can be interested and friendly. Open. She calls me “Darlin,” and I leave her a 25% tip. We have a thing. But, it’s just energy. Intention. Love.

I’d love to imagine others have the same spiritual practice centered around their mala beads, but I’m thinking most of them are more like Livestrong bracelets. Yes, a trend. Powerful for the moment. Destroyed by Lance’s admission of doping. Yoga, chakras, and affirmations might all be a fad. An empty display of a colorful object. When you meet someone who is also on the spiritual path you will recognize each other. It won’t be the mala beads, it will be the feeling, the openness, the vibe. Friends on the Path.

Find your inner buddha. If you want mala beads they are fun and easy to find. If you can attach prayer and ritual to these ancient minerals and their “energetic” purpose, you are creating your own modern-day ritual. A ritual of affirmation, love, and hope.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
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Additional articles of interest:


And please check out my books on Amazon. Including this one

my first book on *mindfulness* in everyday life.

the little red book of mindfulness - john oakley mcelhenney

John McElhenney’s books on Amazon.

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