You know how we typically pray with eyes closed and head bowed? From what I understand, it appears the early Christians prayed with their heads raised, because they understood we’re all masterpieces from a marvelous Maker and lowering their heads was a mark of shame. Is it good and important to be humble? For sure! They didn’t do this out of pride or as an affront to God. Instead, they practiced prayer this way precisely becauseGod made us in the Divine image, putting glorious sparks of Light and Love in each of us so we might reflect and embody God’s goodness in the world. It was a way of both honoring our Creator above all and namingeach and every person as a precious child of our heavenly Parent.
Now, think about the news and all the murders, wars, drone strikes, terrorist attacks, mass shootings, political lies, oppression, exclusion, abuse, and other wrongs shown or described on a daily basis. Next, consider history and all the violence, genocide, racism, sexism, and such we’ve perpetuated for hundreds and thousands of years. Imagine, my friends, how different the world would be if we simply treated each other with inherent and equal value and respect, recognizing each and every one of us—regardless of race, nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation, social class, and external appearance—is born with divine DNA. It blows my mind to think how beautiful this would be, what do you think?
This brings me to “Namaste”, a word derived from Sanskirt, which we generally use to close yoga practices. It means: The divine in me, salutes the divine in you. In my mind, this is one of the most Christian things we can say or practice, because it reminds us we’re each a reflection and embodiment of God’s goodness. The image of God is equally “imprinted” on every person. With this in mind, I’m convinced the most fundamental Truth about each and every person is at our cores we are wellsprings of beauty, kindness, harmony, and self-sacrificial care for others. Do we do bad things and is there a bunch of harm in the world? Of course! AND, given that we came from the womb of God, I both believe the deepest Truth about us is we’re reflections and bearers of our Creator’s incredible enlivening unconditional love, and I’ve experienced how naming this in ourselves and others literally brings it out of us!
Even though I’ve been practicing and teaching yoga for years, the power of living into Namaste and starting The Namaste Revolution didn’t hit me until recently when I read an article by Josh Radnor (actor of “How I Met Your Mother” fame). He points out how in Carpe Jugulum, author Terry Pratchett has a character observe: “Sin, young man, is when you treat people like things.” It seems to me this is powerful observation and a major problem today.
Objectifying people is at the root of many problems and evils in the world. Men objectify women in movies, advertisements, porn, etc. Women, in turn, objectify themselves and other ladies in their efforts to be “beautiful”. Ethnicities objectify one another in our racial stereotypes and divides. Nations objectify other countries in our wars, be they militaristic, economic, or political. We objectify our neighbors in our competition to die with the most “toys”. We objectify our coworkers, friends, and other parents in our striving to get a position or bonus, have the coolest life, and raise the best kids. I could go on and on, but hopefully you get my point.
As Radnor writes, though: [In Namaste] we have an antidote to objectification. Something infinite, immortal, mysterious, loving, and alive abides in me and it is from this light that I bow toward that which is infinite, immortal, mysterious, loving, and alive in you. What if this was our set-point, our baseline, the fundamental assumption we had about every single person we encountered?
Radnor isn’t saying we’re gods and goddesses or anything like that. Instead, he’s pointing out every single one of us is a masterpiece who reflects the beauty of our Creator. Each and every one of us is made to connect, relate to, and become evermore like the Source of our being. Another way to put this is “Namaste” reminds us other people, you, and I are NOT objects; instead, we’re ALL subjects. When we live in the world of objects, we live in hell. Objectification enables violence, oppression, and exclusion, as it’s WAY easier to harm people who are other and less than us. Conversely, when we dwell in the world of subjects, we live in heaven, because we see and honor the divine stamp of approval on each of us, which naturally leads to peace, care, and connection, as it’s WAY easier to love equals.
I truly believe seeing, speaking, and acting with a Namaste mentality would be incredible across the board. It would start a revolution of awesomeness. I recently heard a song by Satsang with a line that captures what I’m saying here well: “I deserve to be here and so do you.” You can check out the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX5GpicCZLE The more we can remember each of us came from God, has a spark of Light, and is connected to divine Love, the happier, healthier, and more holistic we’ll all be. With that in mind, I invite us to get this party started and join The Namaste Revolution!
Grace and peace,