What is this centre bead? I am often asked. The guru bead has many positions of importance...when chanting and meditating we use malas to keep count of our recitations. I practice a form of Tibetan Buddhism called Vajrayana and am meant to recite specific mantras 10,000 times before I continue on with other instructions and teachings...a sort of "right of passage" one could say...so we keep count and track of the recitations...so at the point of getting to the guru bead one must stop, and turn around to continue counting in the opposite direction...why? well...when one meets the guru bead he/she must remember the guru-disciple relationship and strive for a closer bond and union. A guru bead also reflects the awareness that one must have in every aspect of life, a moment to reflect on the importance of your chanting, a time to reflect on your intentions and motive for sitting in meditation. A reverence of the guru...you turn around and continue counting but never going OVER the guru bead.
Malas are a great tool which I like to call a "stopwatch for meditators" because we know after a length of time how long our practice takes to recite 54 times, 108 times and we can prepare ourselves to sit for this length of time without distraction. When the mind wanders and you wonder how long you have been sitting then you can depend on the mala and your recitations to advise you when you have completed a "round" (the entire length of the mala)