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.”
[…] doing my best to play with sacred time in 2012. Accordingly I’ve been setting aside some time more formally to pray, and to do the work of grading student papers, and using time in my studio at home to work and make […]