by Angela Clark
I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday and went to pay the bartender for her rosé and, yes, my kombucha (so sad) when out of the corner of my eye, I caught a string of something hanging from my wrist. “OH NO!” is what went off in my head. “My malas broke…” is what came out of my mouth. Trying hard to not show my clear attachment to these sandalwood beads, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I have more at home.”
Clearly my mala beads mean a lot to me. I mean, we named our yoga studio after them. When Steph asked me what I was going to do with them, I said. “Put them in my bag and carry them around for a while, till I figure it out.” HA! Isn’t that a very funny and very literal way to hold onto something that cannot serve to help us? Six months from now, if I were digging around in my bag and found my broken malas, I would be very sad and nostalgic. Finding them would throw me back into the cycle of suffering. Just a thought…
Everybody has a different take on what happens when your stringed malas break. Some people re-string them. Others toss them out. Some say when your malas break, you have learned something. Unfortunately for me, they did not tell me what I have learned. At this moment, it’s still similar to what people say when a bird shits on you. “It’s good luck!” But you still got shat on, and now you have to clean up the mess.
I know, I know! Such a silly attachment to an object (be that of devotion) but I loved my sandalwood malas. Their smell, the way the wood darkened from the oils of my skin, the fact that they were just the right length for me to wrap around my wrist and practice yoga-asana. The spaces between each bead was also just right for when I sat and did my mantra meditation – being able to touch each bead and not fumble them in my hands. And as much as I admit my love for my sandalwood malas, there is something I’m finding intriguing by the dissolution of my prayer beads.
Perhaps it is the idea that I’ve learned something, and usually I’m better off in doing so. Perhaps it’s that I can’t help thinking of all the Mala Yoga folks that we’ve seen come, practice, stay, and leave our sacred space. People move away, life changes, someone new steps through the door. It is the evolution of living and, why should my malas be denied this?
For now my malas have been taken out of my bag, placed in a sacred space – my lesson learned. We practice for many things and one of the greatest, if not most challenging, is the dissolution of our ideas and thoughts of absolutes.