When I first started practicing yoga, I thought Namaste must mean in some way “class dismissed”. Over the years I came to understand the literal interpretation as “the God in me acknowledges the God in you.” But it may just now be coming to full understanding of what living Namaste might mean.
A few weeks ago, we went to the Agape Center in Los Angeles for the first time. Agape is the powerhouse interdenominational spiritual center- now grown to 1000s of participants. The walls carry Gandhi and Jesus and the Dalai Lama and MLK. The congregation in itself- even without a word being said- is a vision. It represents every race, age and nationality. Their service starts with this cavernous room of people in 30 minutes of silent meditation, followed by a blow the roof off gospel choir and universal positive messages of giving and connecting. For those of us from mainline, often divisive traditions, it’s revelatory.
So, during this service, there’s some teaching from the actual Bible told, and I’ve been carrying it with me every since. The story they related was this one: the moment at the Last Supper when Jesus says to those gathered, “So, who do people say I am?”, and the disciples respond, “oh..they say you’re Elijah…Abraham…”.
Jesus turns to Peter and says to him, “So, who do YOU say I am?”. Peter looks at him directly and replies, “You? Oh, you’re the son of G*d”. This observation doesn’t need to be limited- we can walk in the world with this recognition all the time.
So when you meet your friend, your child, your colleague, you see them through this lens, greeting them with a silent “Hey, I know you! You’re the daughter of god!”
When you are connecting to your partner, you are connecting to the beloved. When you are feeling separate, you come to connection through your COMMON connection to the universal energy that flows through you both.
That is Namaste. Namaste doesn’t mean class dismissed.
It means, “Hey, I know you…I see you…I recognize you…you’re a child of the universe…the same energy flows through both of us… in our highest and most abiding selves, we are the same.”