The Essence of Namaste
Om. Namaste. I fold my hands in prayer, in reverence. The left palm meeting the right palm and a soft bow of my head. I show you that I come in peace so that you’ll lay down your weapons — be them words, actions or thoughts. My eyes meet yours and I see you. I see beyond your masks, judgements and projections. I see, you. I see your worries and your fears, your loss and your sadness. And I also see your joy and celebrations, your triumphs and dreams. I see your hopes and love, I see your willingness and strength. I see all this in you because I see it all in me.
I fold my hands in prayer, the soft bow to acknowledge that I am in service. That however many breaths I’ve been given are a gift and that I will not squander them convincing myself that our journies are not inextricably woven as one – but rather that we walk together on the path home. And I see you, a fellow soul on the journey. Though I may never know what it’s like to be in your body and have experienced what you have, I see you.
All the pads on my hands press warmly together, the calluses of hard work have even now softened as the walls I once built around my heart returned back to dust. The work to see another being, in all their perfection, has become the ‘real’ work. The essence of ‘namaste.’ A moment to meet another being exactly where they’re at – to see beyond my own filters, egoic fears of inadequacy, comparisons, judgements, likes and dislikes. To simply witness another living, embodied experience. This is the great work.
I bow my head in, knowing there is something greater than what my small self sees, trusting that Grace is in every moment and every person. And I say the word ‘namaste,’ emphasizing each syllable… ‘na - mas - te.’ Not me, –– YOU. While there is eloquence in the often used translation, “The Divine in me sees the Divine in you,” a closer translation is simply this; Not me, –– YOU. You are the reflection, you are Grace embodied and for a moment when I look well beyond my limited senses I see God in this moment of connecting with another soul. As if time no longer exists, it is all reflected back at me.
May we never let this term and our use of it become devoid of the power it carries in concept and sound. When you say this sacred word, mean it with all your heart and challenge yourself to step up and live it. The world needs empathy, compassion and basic kindness now more than ever. If we can all leave a class with this profound practice of sincerely trying to see another then we will make radical changes – actually practicing the real yoga.
One of my greatest teachers, Rusty Wells, used to always remind us in classes that no one being has any more than another. And in fact, if you meet someone who says they do… ‘turn the other direction and run away as fast as you can!’ We would all smile and laugh because his delivery was so charismatic. Yet it’s true. We are all amazing, powerful beings. You have the magic of creation in you, I see you for the miracle that you are. Perfect in every way. I see you.