Reprinted with permission of Red Wheel/Weiser.

There are so many ways in which you can use your prayer beads for present-moment practice. What we offer below are only suggestions. We hope you will enjoy exploring the many ways in which the beads may assist you in discovering your own personal prayers.

Use prayer beads to:
  • Begin a new day
  • Walk in the present moment
  • Ground your practice
  • End the day
  • Battle addictions
  • Celebrate achievements

    Beginning a New Day

    Each morning when you wake, reach for your prayer beads, let the texture awake your fingers, and allow this vitality to permeate your entire body. Now you are ready to set your intentions for the day. These can include anything you would like to emphasize during your day: listening to people more carefully, telling the truth, being grateful for small things. Later, as you make your way through your day, touching the beads will return you to your initial intentions.

    Walking in the Present Moment

    As you move from one place to another during the day, use these moments as a time to acknowledge the transition between tasks. Bring your beads into the palm of your hand, and as you feel their texture, let that be a reminder to feel your feet on the floor and take a breath -- feeling both the inhalation and exhalation. Focus your mind on the physical activities of walking and breathing. Bring yourself into the present, and this focus will slow down the pace of your mind and heart.

    Grounding Practice

    During important conversations or even thinking about things by ourselves, we can find ourselves getting caught up in "what was" and "what if." You can use your beads to ground you when you find yourself worrying about the past or the future. When things get difficult, take up your beads and allow their pleasing weight to bring you into the present moment. You will then be able to see more clearly into the current situation. By remaining grounded in the present, you will be more open to listening and accepting life as it is, rather than as you wish it to be.

    Ending the Day

    When you are in bed and ready for sleep, pick up your beads and let their texture resonate in your body. As you rediscover each bead passing through your fingers, let yourself feel grateful for your day. It's also important to recognize the pain we might have caused or experienced. By acknowledging the truth of who we are, we can change and grow. As you approach sleep, breathe in and out with an awareness of your body. As you breathe in, focus on your toes, and on the exhalation, relax them. Continue breathing and moving up your entire body until you reach to the top of your head. It's perfectly okay to fall asleep while you are traveling.

    Battling Addictions

    Addictions come in many forms, but usually two things are involved when engaged in them: a certain amount of time, and your hands. Whether you're trying to quit smoking, stop drinking, spend less, or eat more mindfully, creating prayer beads as a symbol of your intention can be a powerful aid. And one of the benefits is immediate: You can't engage in an addiction and make prayer beads at the same time!

    Your prayer piece could help you visualize freedom from your addiction. For instance, someone who is trying to quit smoking might make a bracelet or hand-held piece out of pink beads to represent clear lung tissue. A compulsive shopper might want to craft something out of gold-toned beads or coins to represent abundance already at hand. You might use alphabet beads to spell out an affirmation, or a rune charm that symbolizes freedom. Pick whatever elements speak most strongly and clearly to your desire to be free from your addiction. Keep your piece with you at all times and let it be a companion and comfort as you begin your recovery.

    Celebrating Achievements

    Creating prayer beads that honor achievements can acknowledge the obstacles that you've conquered through faith, as well as give you a wonderful incentive to keep persevering toward a long-term goal. You can add beads to a prayer piece when you accomplish things along the way of a big task, which can look impossible in its totality. Trying to lose weight? You could add a progress bead to a string for every five pounds lost. Finally decided to write that novel? You could add a bead for every chapter you finish. When you've completed your goal, your prayer beads will testify to taking it "one day at a time" -- and will be great encouragement as you pursue the next dream on your list!

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