In some spiritual traditions, strands of beads are used during times of prayer and meditation. My background did not include such a tradition but from what I've read, it helps to quiet the mind and retain the focus. I think, too, just the practice of moving one's fingers along a strand of smooth beads while sitting in contemplative silence must be more than that, too. It seems perhaps the practice itself must be more intertwined with the activity itself. There's something prayerful, meditative, about calming one's mind and repeating a step. Of course I return to the quiet mind, so perhaps I'm belaboring two sides of the same point. If you quiet your mind by allowing the busy part of your mind focus on this seemingly inane activity, the thinking part of the mind can be free to follow its stated purposes.
I thought of these prayer beads earlier when I realized I'm designing a new necklace in my mind this morning, but first I want to sort beads. Tomorrow I'm teaching another beading workshop to "my seniors" and along with the supplies I ordered to supplement my recent design-frenzy, I ordered some new beads for them, as well. Some of these beads have come in assortments. Experience tells me I'll do well to sort those beads for my ladies before I walk into that room. Everybody'll be much happier if I do.
Thinking of sorting the beads coalesced with the music that's centering my mind while I move through my morning, and I found myself feeling more calm... even by imagining the sorting process. And so maybe sorting beads, then, is for me a bit like using a strand of prayer beads.
One can only hope. Because I have rather a lot to sort...
So throughout my little Sorting Beads Can Be A Little Like Using Prayer Beads experiment, I kept thinking, "Oh, so this is what they mean by 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'" A phrase over which I mulled and contemplated off and on throughout my bead sorting extravaganza since writing earlier.
It seems I've changed my mind rather a lot since that writing. I think prayer beads are probably best used if your intention is to still your mind and occupy the unfocused part of your brain, and sorting beads is a way to entertain all those thoughts while keeping another part of your brain occupied. Of course, I'm still making assertions regarding matters over which I'm only partially informed. So maybe I'll get myself some prayer beads one day and see what I really think.
Meanwhile I've sorted the fool out of some beads today and have now quite contentedly followed my stream-of-consciousness thinking to the next logical space. Which is to say I'm looking at a selection of beads, have added to that selection two pendants to which I've added curled and hammered copper, and am deciding if I'm actually ready to choose one and make a necklace out of it, already. It's been a few days and while I'm no longer in that zen-like state I'd achieved when I was preparing to take my new inventory over to The Marshall Art Gallery, I've reclaimed my creative impulse - perhaps by sorting beads and perhaps by listening to music and perhaps, instead, just because creativity never really went away and I'm now merely giving it the space to resurface and lead the way to something new and beautiful.
I guess we'll see!