At the end of a yoga session we always close our practice with saying, “Namaste,” which means, “The divine light in me honors the divine light in you.”
While we normally use this as a statement of reverence between teacher and student, I’ve been wondering if we really give this phrase the consideration it deserves. Because if you begin to break it down, this expression actually reveals a process.
Most of the time, we think of “the light” as the energy given off to, and from, those around us; when someone is happy, or in a state of peace or contentment. While that’s part of it, “the divine light” points to something more profound.
Moods are a superficial layer. They are the residual evidence of what’s going on deep within. Everyone carries some sort of emotional scar; an imprint from being judged or mistaken beliefs about our purpose or roles in society. And those wounds are usually demonstrated in a defensive reaction of fear which is expressed as insecurity, rage, contraction, or stubbornness.
We can witness these moments and issue superficial labels such as: “crazy,” “angry,” or “weird.” It’s only when we’ve arrived at a place of comprehension for how we displayed or reacted to our own pain, that we can then practice compassion and forgiveness for others and see beneath the behavior.
“The divine light in ME honors the divine light in YOU.” We first have to connect with, and respect, the struggle within ourselves before we can in others.
It takes work to shift our thinking. By using svadhyaya (self-study), we can notice when we’re quick to judge and instead we can transform these times into opening up and creating a greater understanding of the human condition.
If we want to have expansive experiences of connecting at a sincere, heartfelt level, isn’t that the goal? To be more loving, is to authentically acknowledge everyone as an individual with unique qualities and different experiences. That’s the divine signature in all of us.
So, “namaste” every day, not as a simple greeting but as a reminder to being committed to discovering a higher level of awareness for everyone.