It is a Sanskirt word most commonly used by Hindis, Muslims and Buddhists that pop and new age culture is beginning to embrace. I’ve heard it recently at a yoga studio, at the end of a meditation, even by a cashier (can you believe it!) at the supermarket. But, what does it mean exactly? Most simply stated, Namaste is a greeting that means “I bow to you.” My interpretation of this word goes a little deeper and is: “I recognize the Divine light that resides within you and that shines wisdom upon me.”
Unfortunately, as with any phrase that becomes mainstream, it is my opinion the true intent of the word Namaste is getting watered-down. Due to this, you will rarely hear me utter it.
I do, however, attempt to live EVERY DAY by its meaning.
I do this by honoring the role everyone – from the garbage man to the doctor to the bus driver and policeman – plays. I’m embarrassed to say that there was a point in my life due to my privileged lifestyle, I looked down on pink and blue collar jobs holding only the ‘educated’ white collar workers in high regard. Fortunately, I have matured and recognize the important role we ALL play. Can you imagine if we didn’t have garbage men or plumbers??
To honor the role each of you play, I always try to express my gratitude. Sometimes it is through words. More often through my actions.
One of those actions, the most important, is Respect. I recognize that due to each individual’s unique role and experience, we each have a unique wisdom to share. I try to Listen. It is why if you’ve ever attended a class you will see me facilitate discussion and exercises, rather than lecture or demonstrate. While yes there is information I have to share, I will often defer to others opinions. It is common for other practitioners, be it a chiropractor, licensed counselor or teacher – all experts in their own right – to attend my classes. These individuals (as well as the moms and real estate agents) have knowledge that does not only inform their peers AND adds value to the class.
Unfortunately despite the prevalence of the catch phrase in these groups, I have found individuals DON’T always honor the wisdom others bring. Sometimes people are critical of others opinions. And sometimes they are even critical of me for allowing these outside opinions. There has actually been occasions where due to this practice an attendee has made it apparent that they see me as “less than,” “inexperienced” and “unqualified” to teach.
Fortunately, I am confident in my abilities so the criticism didn’t phase me. When it comes to mediumship, I know I know A LOT. I also know, however, I DON’T know everything. AND, what I have found… when I defer to another attendee, more often than not they give the same response I would. So, the class is getting good information and more importantly… The simple act of honoring and respecting their wisdom is more empowering than a thousand of my words.
It’s amazing how far this kind of honor and respect, without hierarchy, goes. It is effective and memorable. And, IT FEELS GOOD! So, I’m going to keep doing it (most of the time… what can I say, I’m an imperfect human and sometimes the ego does get in the way!)! And, I encourage you to embody Namaste too.