In celebration of World Meditation Day today I took time to reflect on what led me to start Mala and Mantra over 6 years ago. Prior to starting M+M I was on my own personal journey inward searching for my dharma (purpose) and trying to find my true self as I was not feeling fulfilled in the work I was doing at the time.

I have always been a spiritual person and since I was in my twenties attracted to Eastern philosophies and all things Zen. What appealed to me was the simplicity of the teachings, the focus on compassion, the search for your true authentic self, and the aesthetic of Zen art and design. I had even created a concept for an apparel business in my late twenties based on Zen but never got it off the ground. My obsession with Zen introduced me to mala beads so I started to collect them back then but didn’t delve into their purpose, as a meditation tool, I just loved how they looked and felt and had always had an affinity for beads.

While going through some personal and business challenges I found that I needed something in addition to my faith to create inward peace and strength. I remember a friend of mine taking me to The Chopra Center in La Jolla the early 90’s for a lecture and booksigning with Deepak Chopra. I had no idea who he was at the time, other than celebrities and some of my favorite designers like Donna Karan would fly to La Jolla to come work with him and he had a lot of popular books on spirituality. I was so inspired by Deepak Chopra’s teachings and started collecting and reading his books. I even recall giving his book “ The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” to my father, who was a very spiritual and religious man and how much he loved the book.

I delved further into books on spirituality and read more and more about meditation. I had always misunderstood it to be something very difficult that I could never do. I have quite an overactive mind, am easily distracted, am a total multi-tasker and have trouble focusing. I was intimidated by the idea of meditating so I didn’t even try. Then for whatever reason, I can’t remember exactly what triggered it, I decided to give meditation a try. Since I had a collection of mala beads I was able to start using them in mantra meditation to help me focus my mind. I am so grateful I started this way as I found sitting in silence extremely challenging at the time. I would find a quiet place in my home, light a candle, close the door and sit in silence reciting my mantra as my hands crossed each bead. The sense of calm it created felt like something I had not experienced before, as if I had been transported to another place, one of serenity.

I continued to practice my mantra meditation with my mala beads through the years then as I could sit longer than 10 minutes at a time, I graduated to 15 minutes, then 20 minutes. In the beginning the longer I tried to practice the more difficult it was however at some point I had achieved a state of nirvana, where I was able to focus on my breath and just BE-ing in the present moment. I was able to start meditating for longer periods of time, both with a mala as a tool and without.

I have pushed myself to continue and develop my meditation practice through the years no matter where I am traveling or how busy I get. It has truly changed my life along with my mindfulness practice of pausing. Now I meditate daily in total silence, which I crave so I have no distractions from achieving the nirvana type state of pure presence and connecting with my true self.

So, in honor of World Meditation Day today I invite all of you who may have been on the fence about trying meditation to give it a try, I promise it will be a positive addition to your life if you make it a practice. I am saying this because it has changed mine and for that I am deeply grateful. There are so many tools available to jumpstart a meditation practice including the free guided meditations on our ‘MALAS + MEDITATION 101’ page. Also apps like Headspace and Calm make meditation incredibly user friendly.

I choose today and everyday to MEDITATE to ELEVATE to a higher state of BE-ing.