Finding the Sacred Space Within

namaste imageIn yoga, we greet each other by saying Namaste. It's a lovely way to say both hello and goodbye. The word originates in India and the root, nama, means “to bow.” Namaste recognizes the wisdom within each person, so we bow to that wisdom through greeting one another with sincerity. It may sound odd at first, but it becomes more familiar as you practice it, just as the yoga movements do. By the end of class, there's such a sense of quietness within, that saying Namaste feels like completion to what the mind and body have experienced. Jack Kornfield interprets it as “I bow to your original goodness.” Many of us haven't had the experience of feeling this goodness or we've actually been taught the opposite. We may also feel that we've done something wrong that resulted in our lives feeling like punishment or suffering. Namaste reminds us that within each person is a bright light, something we are born with that can never go away. This light is our birthright and can sustain us in times of illness, fear, doubt, panic, or terror. We cover it up through these heavier emotions and through self-judgment. We sometimes talk to ourselves in cruel and negative ways. This makes it harder to find our inner light because we can feel dense and dark within. Our light shines on, regardless. It fills our hearts and waits to be recognized.

Sometimes it's easier to see it in other people, so when we say Namaste, we truly mean it. The nature of the greeting, though, is that the light within us sees the light within others. After awhile we begin to understand that our own inner light is reflected in those around us. Who do you have in your life that reflects your own inner peace? Where do you feel at home within yourself, free from the constraints of personality, of shoulds and oughts? Over time, the greeting of Namaste creates a sense of inner space and recognition of our own sacredness. We learn to trust in our inner goodness and find respite there.

As we approach the holidays, in may be necessary to return to your inner sense of Namaste, of your own sacredness, again and again. Just as you would light a candle in the winter evenings, you can acknowledge your own inner light whenever you need to. Light the candle of your original goodness as often as you can. Keep your inner sacred space safe and alive this holiday so that your heart can open to the beauty of the season.

Blog, Mind-Body, YogaSusan Whitaker