Malas, Earphones, and the Throat Chakra


I keep my mala in a pocket in my purse. Constant and sure, I always know where it is.

I could take it out every day and sleep with it under my pillow like I have in the past. I could take out the little Siva that keeps it company in that pocket; I could place them both somewhere over my bed where I’d see them right when I wake up, somewhere I would always notice. I could wear my mala around my neck. I could — and wouldn’t this be novel — actually use it during my daily mantra practice instead of counting on my fingers. I don’t do any of those things right now. Instead, I keep it in a pocket in my purse.

I lost it once, that mala. Realizing I didn’t know its location was one of the most panic-stricken hours of my life. When I close my eyes and conjure the image, I can still see the dark purple of it contrasting the charcoal Berber carpet of the Wellington library.

It had slipped out of my pocket while I sat curled around my laptop that day. I didn’t notice until later in the evening. Panicking, I called the library after ransacking my bags, pockets, and living area. They didn’t have anything in the lost and found. I ran down there anyway, retraced my steps, and, sure enough, there it was coiled on the floor where I’d been sitting.

Clutching it, I made my way to the harbour and wept tears of relief as the sun set. A little dramatic for a series of beads strung on a metal wire? Perhaps. I know this thing isn’t what grounds my practice, or my life, but it sure is a palpable symbol.

Today I reached into that pocket to grab my earphones. Oh yeah, that’s where I keep my earphones, too. It’s just Siva, a winding circle of amethyst beads, and my earphones.

I’ve wondered at my decision to store such incongruous items together. It makes logistical sense. The pocket has a zipper so I can keep it secure, and it’s on the inside of the bag. I trust that what I keep there will stay put. The earphones won’t get tangled, neatly wound around themselves with no risk of chaotically unravelling.

Today I realized how apt my placement really is. Hearing is the sense that both rules and is ruled by the fifth chakra. The throat: surrender, discrimination, ether. Can I surrender what’s going on in my brain and truly listen to the world around me? Can I discriminate which messages I want to hear and which to disregard? Can I tune in to another layer of reality?

Mantra runs through my brain. I’d rather listen to it than some of the thoughts in my head: the ones that judgementally tell me I’m too childish and irresponsible compared to my brothers, the anxious ones that say I should sit somewhere else at this dinner function, the insecure ones that worry about my ability to be financially solvent.

Keeping my earphones next to some of my sacred objects makes perfect sense. It’s a gentle reminder of what I want to listen to, what I want to remember, what subtle influence I want to expose myself to.

I’ll use this as a reminder about who I really am every time I pull out the earphones.

I am created by Divine Light.
I am sustained by Divine Light.
I am protected by Divine Light.
I am surrounded by Divine Light.
I am ever growing into Divine Light.

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