It’s not a Rosary

About a week ago, I ran into some emotional issues with my oldest son.  As some of you know, my oldest son has autism and because of his autism, he often overreacts to situations that you and I would simply brush off.  This was the case last week.  First, we defused the situation and then I went downstairs to meditate on what we should do to help my son deal with this situation.  I did my best to review the problem from all angles and I tried to come up with any possible solutions but nothing really seemed like it was going to work.  I prayed and expressed my need for divine inspiration on behalf of my son.  I closed my prayer and composed myself for meditation.

As is often the case, my mind flooded with thoughts and concerns but unlike my every day meditation—well I say every day but I probably should say usual, because I haven’t been meditating every day—my thoughts weren’t random, instead, they were all centered on my son and the situation at hand.  However, unlike the few minutes previously when I had been consciously thinking about these things, I was now able to simply watch what I was thinking almost as if I were a neutral observer watching the situation from the outside.  I realized that he needed some sort of tangible reminder that he is loved and that he is very important to his mother and me but I was unsure what that reminder should be.  It was then that the first seemingly random thought crossed my mind:  Malas.  About a week or maybe two before this event, I had been studying about malas and mantras.  I have never used either and had simply been reviewing them out of curiosity.  Now, however, my study of them was presenting itself as a possible solution.

A mala is a string of beads, 108 beads to be exact, that is used as a tool in meditation.  The beads on a mala are used to help count how many times a mantra has been recited; so, instead of actually counting the number of times the mantra has been repeated, you simply move the beads through your fingers.  The next question was what should his mantra be?  What would help my son remember how loved and important he is?  Oddly enough, that was the answer:  Mom and Dad love me.  I still have to remind him that he needs to count, and I’m not sure whether it’s the mala and mantra, but he does seem happier and more at ease.

Some of you might be wondering where I bought my mala for my son.  I didn’t.  I made it myself.  I also made one for myself and for my wife.  Unfortunately, making your own mala is not as cost-effective as making your own practice floor.  Unless I can find a more inexpensive source of beads, I’m stuck making malas at twice the expense of what it would cost to buy them.  Still, I think that having made them myself was more important than simply buying a mala.

The title of this entry is It’s not a Rosary and the reason for this is that people see the beads of my mala under my collar and immediately assume that it must be a rosary and that is very confusing to them.  The reason that this is confusing is that I am a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) and we don’t use rosaries.  The moral of the story, of course, is that we shouldn’t make assumptions.