Choose now to expand your consciousness and open your heart to Divine Love’s flow within you. Realize your own Divine Presence. Know God as the Source and Fulfillment of all your good.
“Namaste” (pronounced Nah-mah-stay) is a Sanskrit word that means “I honor you” or “the Divine Presence in me honors the Divine Presence in you”.
Namaste was imported to the United States with other traditional Hindu practices like yoga, chanting, and meditation.
As a white person, born and raised in the United States, I am going to make the claim we don’t get it. White people–or any person–socialized in the superficial, consumer-driven, materialistic United States do not get it.
Namaste, like yoga, chanting, or meditation in India, is part of a multifaceted philosophy, medicine system, culture, spirituality, and way of life. Like so many things appropriated by (predominantly white) people in the United States, the (very deep and traditional) meaning of Namaste (which is accompanied by a feeling deep in the heart) has been sterilized, made into a superficial trend, and been completely disconnected from its essence, its heart, its dynamic-presence lived every day in a culture that is thousands of years old.
We (people born and raised in the United States…) don’t know any better. This is our culture, borne out of centuries of white-European patriarchal imperialism and colonization: seizing and appropriating other cultures is kind of the white-European thing.
And, we can stop. (Yes, we can). The problem with appropriation is not (IMHO) the fact of the appropriation–cultures and societies have integrated, meshed, and blended for as long as there have been people in societies. The problem is with the mind-set of dominance and the accompanying dilution of the culture and the traditions being dominated.
Namaste is the case in point. Americans think Namaste is just a word. But it’s not just a word. It is a feeling of deep respect offered to another. This feeling comes out having self-respect, so that when one says, Namaste (“The Divine in me honors the Divine in you”), the feeling accompanying the word is the sharing of this knowing and understanding of the Divine within. If you can’t feel it, you’re not using the word with its intrinsic depth and meaning.
Cultivate that sense of feeling in your heart, in your mind. Expand your awareness of the Divine within. Connect to your Inner Divine. Then, and only then, say “Namaste”.