If you have ever taken a yoga or meditation class, you most certainly have heard the term Namasté. It is often used as a greeting, a farewell, or both. It’s traditionally accompanied by a slight bow, with both hands pressed together in front of your chest, with your thumbs pointing to your heart. It’s a powerful gesture with deep meaning. However, some people toss it around flippantly, without fully knowing the powerful meaning.
Here’s what it 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.”
An intense meaning for one word.
Namasté is used in Hindu and Buddhist practices. Buddhism embraces yoga and meditation practices as a way to achieve enlightenment and perhaps nirvana. Some Buddhists believe that nirvana can only be achieved in death. So full enlightenment becomes the goal. Enlightenment involves learning how to rise above the suffering of the world to be one with the beauty of the universe.
The Lotus Flower is a stunningly beautiful flower that grows in muddy waters. It has a long root that extends through the water to anchor in the muddy pond’s floor. This flower emerges from the muck around it and shines. A gorgeous light among the darkness. In Buddhism, this flower symbolizes the journey a person takes to rise and bloom among the mud and achieve enlightenment.
In Buddhism, all humans are born among suffering. Suffering is an essential aspect of all human experiences. It is through suffering that we learn what is important. It is how we gain strength and knowledge in who we are. The goal of enlightenment is to make sense of the suffering, let go of its hold upon us, and become one with the truth and peace that is the true representation of the universe.
Clearly these two concepts are related. They are the most prominent symbols of Buddhism. One a greeting, the other a gorgeous flower. Both powerful in their beauty, simplicity, and meaning.
I have been connecting so deeply with these concepts lately. Having studied Buddhism and practiced yoga and meditation for years, I have always felt such a strong connection to the universe. I feel the most alive among nature. To look up at the stars, gaze at waves crashing, feel the air and sunshine on my face. A beautiful flower blooming.
It is remarkable that a wondrous flower can bloom within muddy waters. For a lotus flower to burst among the obstacles around it. For it to dig deep to find the nourishment it needs to thrive.
It reminds me of the first small flowers of spring. Those purple and yellow buds that pop above the slowly melting snow to prove that the earth is not going to be asleep forever. The cold, dark winter does have an end.
These are the ways the universe speaks to me. These are the divine.
I am open to the divine in all that is around me. I am open to the divine that is within me. If a lotus flower can maintain its gorgeous color among the muddy darkness, there is hope for all of us. For us to fight through the suffering and rise our faces to the sunshine.
I will continue to embrace these concepts in all aspects of my life. Remind myself of the lotus flower when there are obstacles or struggles in my way. Continue to grow and blossom within the universe. I will embrace the meaning of Namasté with every person I meet. We are all part of the divine universe. We are all on our own journey toward enlightenment.