Have you ever driven down a street that you routinely travel and out of the corner of your eye you notice something you don’t ever remember seeing? So you turn to your companion and ask “Has that five foot bright pink azalea bush ALWAYS been in front of that house?” To which your companion responds (at least in my experience) “Ummmm it’s FIVE FEET TALL so yes, it’s been there as long as I can remember.” I always think it kind of nice to find something new on a road so familiar (it’s also disconcerting that I’ve never seen the azalea bush before – but glass half full and all that).
Recently I was pondering Namaste or more specifically the phrase “the light in me sees and acknowledges the light in you.” As I pondered (pondering things truly is my favorite past time), I found myself repeating – the light in me. The LIGHT in me. The light IN me. The light in ME. Hmmmmm Namaste starts with ME. It starts with seeing my own light, my own divine spark. This requires that I see the light in myself to see the light in others. Now before you determine that I’m a narcissist of epic proportions let me unpack this a bit.
As I pulled on this thread of the “light in me.” I began to see a pattern emerging. I wasn’t just a fountain meant to pour out to others, I was also a vessel, all fountains are. The times in my life that I was most able to offer the space to truly “see” another human being were the times I felt truly “seen” myself. The moments that I was able to pour out love, grace and compassion to others were the moments that I most freely offered them to myself. It is only when I see myself as a vessel of the divine light could I see others that way as well.
You would think it would be easy to look at myself and see divinity. Not so much. I struggle. I believe that light and truth are synonymous and true self-reflection requires that I see myself as honestly as I can. That I genuinely assess my motives and behaviors. I see my flaws, my scars, the unhealthy coping mechanisms that I have put in place. I’m not blind to my fears and the walls those fears have built. Sometimes in this introspection I can get bogged down with negativity when I confront what I see as weakness in my own character.
That’s where Namaste comes in. To truly acknowledge the divine light in others I HAVE to see it in myself. Every one of us is inherently valuable just by virtue of our being, this value is not transmuted by our shortcomings. This is a beautiful grace from which I cannot exclude myself, because I can only truly see your light when I see my own.
I feel like there’s a responsibility in Namaste to find and cultivate our own light, through internal work accompanied by great compassion and love for ourselves. It’s not an easy task but a noble one. When we see and acknowledge our own light and power then we discover the agency to become the person we long to be. We find the ability to let go of the things that diminish our light. Then as we nurture the light within ourselves it becomes brighter, illuminating the path to see the beauty of our own soul and of others.
Although I’ve been saying Namaste for years, now much like finding a surprise azalea bush on a well-traveled path, Namaste has a blessing for me that it didn’t have before. Namaste holds a vision of how the world might look if we all could see the light not only in others but also ourselves.
So next time you bow your head don’t forget to Namaste yourself.
Peace and Love