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My favourite greeting is “Namaste”, (pronounced Nam-As-Te). It is a wonderful phrase originating from India and is commonly used there and in several other Asian cultures. To me it captures the heartfelt sincerity and deep understanding that embodies Eastern spirituality.
“Nam” means bow, “As” means I and “Te” means you. Literally it translates as “I bow to You”.
However the deeper meaning behind this saying is much more significant. The “I” and “You” in this case refers to the soul. It takes on the meaning of my soul bows to your soul.
In the East the soul is all that is good in us, and is clearly separate to the mind which harbours our ego, the home of our competitive, selfish and destructive natures.
Therefore when we greet someone with ”Namaste” we are implying that our higher real self wishes to interact with their higher self on the most genuine and purest of levels. And that we will both bypass and leave behind our egos.
When we think from our souls (and not the ego), then we act from a place of integrity, compassion and love. We act with everyone’s best interest at heart, which produces an entirely unselfish behaviour.
Apart from helping us to focus with virtue on our fellow human beings, this little saying also helps to bring our own minds the same happiness and love that we are now expressing into the world. It quietens, relaxes and calms them, leaving them in a state of joy and deep contentment. Giving us a breather and time to escape from the negativity and madness our modern world and egos often wish to drag us into.
In the East and in India, (and nowadays in many modern yoga classes all the way around the world), the spoken “Namaste” may also be accompanied by a physical expression. This is created by performing a slight bow while the hands are pressed together with palms touching and fingers pointed upwards as if in prayer. Generally they are placed in front of the centre of the chest if you wish to express love and joy from the soul, or they are placed in front of the forehead if you wish to acknowledge the integrity and wisdom of the person you are offering “Namaste” to.
“Namaste” may be used as a greeting or as a farewell.
So the next time you are amongst your friends and others you really love and respect or when you yourself want to bring the peace and wisdom contained in your soul into your mind, then instead of a simple hello and goodbye, connect with your inner spirit and offer up “Namaste” and thus bring a little more harmony and good will into our world.