I received a mala or string of Buddhist prayer beads at Christmastime. Being that I’m not really a buddhist, I wasn’t exactly sure how to use them. There is a prayer that I recite for each day of the week, though, so I built my practice around that. I used the mala for the last week of December and the first few weeks of January. Yesterday it broke. As it did so, it scattered beads around. I asked a friend what that meant.
She said, “It means you’ve broken through; you’re getting somewhere. Or it means that your prayers have been released to the universe, and sent to the appropriate destinations.” (It’s kind of like spam e-mail in that regard, I guess, or an explosive-charge battery — all the power released at once).
Once upon a time, I was a praying man. Then I stopped. Now I’ve started again. Now I don’t know whether to stop or start. I do know that I feel charged up. Was it the mala breaking, or was it simply the reconnection with the idea of prayer that matters? Either way, there’s a sense that I’ve started a new cycle somehow. The Buddha famously said,
“There are two mistakes on the path to enlightenment: The second is stopping; the first is not starting.”