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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Namaste?

My regular followers and all the Saturday Centusians are aware that I close every comment and most e-mails with “Namaste.”  It occurs to me that you may wonder why.
I am not Hindu nor am I Buddhist.  I am neither Christian or Jew.  I am not Muslim.  I believe there are many paths to God, but I don’t subscribe to any one of them.  Instead, I have read about the world’s great religions and taken a little from here and there.
Here is my understanding of this spiritual word/gesture.  It’s the short version, which I am sure you will appreciate.
Namaste can either be a salutation or a parting gesture.  It is widely believed to have originated in the Hindu traditions.  In Sanskrit, the word namaste means, “I bow to you.”  It is a self-deprecating word or gesture that is actually directed towards God, who lives in all of us.  It signifies reducing one’s ego in the presence of another human being.
Namaste may be spoken or written.  It may also be a silent gesture in which one closes ones eyes and places the palms together over the heart - or the heart chakra - and bows the head.  It is believed to bring the mind closer to the heart.  It is a more profound gesture when the closed palms are held together with fingers touching the center of the forehead, then moved down to the heart. 
In my reading, I have learned that namaste exists in many religions, especially in Eastern faiths.  In America, it is used at the beginning and the end of every yoga class.  It is a self-centering gesture that conveys respect both for the God in one’s self and for the God in others.
When I use it in my writing, I am saying to you, “I honor the God within you who has blessed you with your talent, and I thank you for sharing that talent with me.  I am humble in your presence.”  I think about what it means every time I write it down or say it or show it in a gesture.
So, you see.  “Namaste” is not just a parting word that I plucked out of mid-air.  It is a sincerely respectful acknowledgement of your worth as a child of God.
Now, how do I reconcile this spiritual belief with some of my pieces, especially my poems, that appear to be so anti-God?  Writing, and particularly poetry, is my way of working through that reconciliation.  I said I was spiritual, not perfect.  Sometimes ranting at God frees me to forgive myself and others.  Sometimes, it clears my head.  God understands.
And the cuss words?  She has heard them all before.
© cj Schlottman
Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Linda @ A La Carte said...

Yes she has heard it all before. I'm glad you explained this. I like it. I respect the God in each of us also and love your explanation.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Nice: well said.

BECKY said...

CJ, I "kind of" knew what namaste meant, but thank you for the explanation. I think of myself as a spiritual person, whether I have any particular religion or not...like you. I don't particularly like labels on people, either...Aren't we all free to be you and me?! :)

Sue said...

It's good to read your explanation, and your intention in using the word is just as I thought.


The Lovely One said...

I love what namaste means to you! I am honored that you used that term with me.... namaste right back at you!

Madeline said...

I knew of the word, but never really understood it. Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know how meaningful that word truly is :)

Martha Mawson said...

Beautifully written, as always. As I've aged, I have thrown off and away the limited understanding of the spirit as taught to me in church. I have found the god within and the god without - in nature, particularly. Age gives us that ability to learn more as we wish to learn, rather than what is dictated to us. Namaste to you, CJ. With all my heart.

jeff campbell said...

You are my kind of chick...it is funny that I often use Namaste in my emails, yet I sign off my comments with "Peace and blessings"... Peace and blessings and a whole lot of Namaste...