Namaste, Mitakuye Oyasin, How are you?
Greetings: they are used every day in thousands of words and ways. Do we pay attention to the greetings? What is our intention when we greet someone? There are lots of people walking the sidewalks, meeting other’s eyes, smiling, saying hi, but not being aware. A greeting is a simple thing that most of us do every day and if done with intention could change the world. Too strong? I think not. If we could all master being present for something that brief, but done regularly, like greeting someone on the street, we could grow from there and well...there are no limits.
There are a great many people who ask us what Namaste means and so I thought it a perfect thing to open this article with. Even though it is a word that a great deal of people are beginning to use as a greeting, it represents so much more. Many people have been under the assumption that this word means Peace. In a way it does for some, but it is more than that. Here is a widely accepted definition of Namaste today: A greeting from the ancient Sanskrit language, used by modern Hindus, that roughly means, “I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, We are One.” Or even easier to remember, “The light (or God) in me honors the light (or God) within you”. Peace and understanding are inferred because the greeting is said with the intention of uniting two spirits. When two spirits unite they have no choice but to have some understanding of the other. Unity and understanding are the first steps to peace.
There are hand and head movements, and there are gestures that are done certain ways to also convey Namaste, so that it need not be said, but it isn’t so much the words that are important as the intention behind it. How many times have you been walking down a sidewalk and greet someone with “Hi, how are you”? It gets to be such a habit that we all do it but don’t even realize that we are doing it. Not being aware of this simple gesture and words that we say several times a day loses everything, and becomes nothing if we do not stay in the moment and understand the reason for greeting others. I believe those that are trying to use a new greeting, such as Namaste, (new for us in the West), may not only be caught up in the newness but also are trying on something new because it has meaning. And when something has meaning we tend to pay more attention to it. The more attention we pay to something the stronger it becomes. The greeting “how are you”, has lost most of it’s original intention, which was to find out how your neighbor really was. When it first began people had the time to both tell and listen to what was truly happening in their lives. We don’t seem to have (make) the time anymore. But that doesn’t mean that we need lose the intention behind the greeting. It doesn’t have to be less because less is spoken. The intention of caring might be all that is required or needed. It is felt between the two spirits because of the intentions, or thoughts, not the words.
I started to only say Hi to people as I passed them on the street. I still did the smile but didn’t say how are you anymore. I changed because I assumed the others didn’t really care to hear from me about how I really was and, quite honestly, I didn’t have the time or didn’t want to make the time to listen to them. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t care about that individual, and it doesn’t mean they didn’t care about me, but both of us had so many things to do and people to listen to already that neither could take on one more. I was ten paces ahead and my guess is they were too. So, do we stop all together because we can’t say it all? No! A smile, a nod, a Hi, or How are you, are exceptional ways for us all to stay connected. But we can’t keep that connection if we are unconsciously mouthing words. Change it. Stop, in that moment, and truly FEEL it. Be WITH it. Honor that other soul. (this doesn’t require actual physical stopping, nano seconds of thought is all that’s needed)
Namaste is a beautiful way to recognize and honor another! The next person might say Mitakuye Oyasin, (Lakota for “all my relations”, meaning “we are all related”), and yet another may say how are you, or simply, hi. They are all greetings to honor another, and acknowledge oneness if there is intention added. Again, it isn’t the words but the thoughts and intention held. I love the line from the song ‘What a Wonderful World’ that says, “friends shaking hands, saying how do you do, they’re really saying, I love you”.
When people set egos aside, to recognize another’s worth, a type of magic happens! Staying with the intention is so important. If we start seeing and honoring another for how beautiful they are, and are present with it, imagine all the change that can happen?
I have stayed in the moment of greeting or honoring another a few times recently, and have felt the universal connection. I have also found that by seeing the Divinity in another, I find the Divinity within myself. I urge all of you to try it. When you say your greeting, be in the present with that other soul. Being in the present shows respect, respect ignites understanding, and understanding brings peace. And so begins a wave. Let’s see how far we can get this wave to travel. A tsunami of honor and respect, love and peace. Too much? I think not.