In yoga, “Namaste”, like many words uttered frequently, can become cliche. Namaste – “the Divine in me bows down to the Divine in you.” And along with that is the often mentioned but rarely extensively explored concept that “you are whole, perfect and complete.”
Taking this into daily like was very interesting in the beginning for me, as I was raised Catholic and hence, that brings with it all the fractured guilt feelings of never really feeling good-enough, feeling ‘incomplete’, born a sinner and perhaps slipping into heaven by-the-skin-of-my-teeth if I’m good and repent consistently in this lifetime… ‘the undeserving’… etc etc.
Anyway, without getting side-tracked into religion, the point is that, I wasn’t exactly feeling “perfect, whole and complete”. And my perception of others was far from them being them being “perfect and complete” either. What is within is mirrored without, so to speak.
So here came the question of how to integrate this concept of Namaste, of celebrating human divinity, in daily life. It puzzled me. A wise teacher came to me at the opportune time who allowed me to begin to understand this. He gave me feedback and said I was by nature a kind and giving person who is genuinely interested to help other people. The problem was, I often (if not always) see the person I need to help as being weak and fractured (me the “helper” being more powerful than them, “the helpless”).
Of course – this was because the underlying assumption I have of myself (which I’ve made-up in my head) was also that of being weak and fractured. So when I give someone feedback with the intention of helping them, the assistance is “tailored” to their weakness. And hence is not in service of their highest good. It is in essence a reaction to my underlying fears. I would proceed differently if I acknowledged their strength and divinity.
The underlying decision I have before making any decision is that which I propagate and nurture, by giving more power to it through my actions.
At that point, I realised that my decisions would be very different if I celebrated the other person’s divinity, (i.e. their own true power) and that of mine. The shift was and continues to be significant. Specially for example, when I teach yoga. I teach very differently if I assume my students are weak, as compared to seeing them as perfect and powerful beings. It is only when I take the latter perspective that I can teach the class completely in service to their highest good. Without any of my “baggage” getting in the way.
The good thing is – it’s a “quick fix”. Since I made-up the first dysfunctional assumption “in-my-head”, I can just practice choosing a different assumption “in-my-head”.
I find “personal power” to be very different from being “empowered”. The perception of being seen to be powerful can be superficial. I think in this human journey, each of us to some degree will always be exploring “stepping into our personal power”, i.e. our own true power as beings.
And so long as we are on this journey, we will always be pushing past our comfort-zones – as we continue to study ourselves (Svadyaya – 8 Limbs, “Study of Self”), & learn more about ourselves and who we are. Unless of course we choose not to participate in this life and stay within our physical comfort-zones – but even then we are confronted by our unsettled and unfulfilled spirit.
Namaste to you!