A breathtaking crimson sunset… the sound of children laughing… an exquisite landscape painted by a brilliant artist… the majestic plume of a peacock. There are so many beautiful things in our world to behold and be awed by. For me, however, there truly is nothing more beautiful than experiencing or bearing witness to a moment of namasté.
Namasté is an ancient Sanskrit word that essentially means, “the divine in me honors the divine in you.” There are three key components to the practice of namasté. First, we come from a place of understanding that we are made in the image and likeness of God and that our true essence is divine. Second, we recognize that truth for another. Finally, we not only recognize that truth, but we ACT accordingly. When we come from a consciousness of namasté, we seek to honor, to bless, to appreciate, to serve and to love others.
In my 25 years in Unity, I have experienced literally thousands of namasté moments. In a ritual called an “Angel Wash” I have walked down the center of two lines of people that blessed me with honoring touch and whispered words of affirmation in my ear as I passed by. At retreats, I have led participants in finding a partner, looking into their eyes and singing “You Are the Face of God” by Karen Drucker. Time and time again at youth events and church services I have joined in the practice of extending our hands towards an individual or group and saying, “We love you, we bless you, we appreciate you and we behold the Christ in you.” In each of these moments my heart has been opened and I have felt the presence of God. Namasté moments like these always bless me but, given the context, never surprise me.
Just recently I was truly blessed and pleasantly surprised by a magnificent moment of namasté. While on vacation in Orlando, I was awakened by beautiful singing coming from out in the hall. I got dressed and went out to discover that in the expansive atrium of our hotel there was a Hindu wedding taking place. The singing I heard was sacred chanting welcoming the bride down the aisle. The entire thing was an incredible sight to behold. Guests and wedding party alike were dressed in traditional finery. They wore intricately beaded saris and sarongs and a jeweled bindi adorned the center of each forehead. The ceremony was filled with rituals and traditions involving the families of the bride and groom. I wept at the beauty of the entire scene.
Many hotel guests had gathered to watch this amazing sight. On the balcony next to mine, a woman sat and watched with her eyes wide and wet with tears. I noticed that she was wearing a name badge from the convention that was taking place in the hotel. I recognized it because I had walked through the convention center from the parking lot the day before. It was a national conference for the Knights of Columbus, an organization that describes itself as “the world’s foremost Catholic benefit society.” So, here she was, a devout Catholic, bearing witness to a traditional Hindu wedding.
She turned towards me and as our eyes met she said, “Isn’t it all just so beautiful?” There it was… namasté. She could see the holiness, the sacredness and the beauty in the people and the illusion of religious separation was shattered in that moment of oneness. I felt my heart break wide open and allowed the tears of gratitude to flow. I believe we are here to practice namasté not only in the comfy confines of our happy Unity world, but everywhere, everyday, with everyone.