How “Namaste” Has Made This Christian Girl Rethink Some Things

I consider myself a “good” Christian girl (albeit with some rough edges). I grew up with super solid stuff: faith, hope, unconditional love, forgiveness and copious amounts of parental encouragement and affection.

All of that and I have still have had to work through my own merde (that would be french for crap). Welcome to the human journey on planet Earth.

Dear Younger Parent Friends, Hear me loud and clear. No matter how good of a parent you are your kids will still have to wrestle their own demons and work through their misconceptions about who God is and who they are. Be the best parent you can, pray a lot for wisdom and grace and then put another quarter in their jar for counseling.(Sorry, if that is disappointing. It is really just meant to encourage you to take a deep breath and enjoy your little people along the way. XO)

So about namaste… nah-muh-stay.

For the last year, I have been going to hot yoga classes. Each time I go, I sweat like a dog (in a downward position for you fellow yoga fans) trying to become more limber, strong and balanced. I love it!

 

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A fine downward dog Mr. Hip Tat Sleeve Man  Photo: http://www.yogajournal.com

And then at the end, we lie on the floor in our final shavasana (on our backs totally relaxed in the position of a corpse, as if we are dead because- well we feel like we are!) and wait for our head, neck and shoulder massage with eucalyptus oil, which is topped off with an icy cold washcloth on our forehead. What’s not to love?!!

It feels like a death and a sweet resurrection in an hour and a half.

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No, this is not me in Shavasna/corpse pose also courtesy of http://www.yogajournal.com

Yoga has definitely become a new form of meditation for me. (Some of you “good” Christian friends may be tempted to your drop to your knees to intercede on my behalf, but just breathe deeply and hear me out.)

They say there is a kernel of truth in most religions. There is a kernel of truth in the practice of yoga, which is a religion for some of my friends where I regularly go to get my massage and icy cold cloth- oh yeah, and my workout.

What I have come to appreciate is the intentionality with which these kind friends regularly take the time to breathe deeply, quiet their frantic thoughts and release pent up judgments, hurts and un-forgiveness (rather than trying to look busy doing lots of good things because Jesus is coming soon).  At the end of each session, the instructor issues this benediction, “The light and love in me honors the light and love in you. Namaste.” And we reply, “Namaste.”

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“Namaste” also http://www.yogajournal.com

I have thought a lot about this benediction and what it really means. Words mean different things to different people. I know that for many who exchange “Namaste” it means the god in me honors the god in you. I don’t know about you, but at this point in my life, on most days I feel like I am anything but a god (seems like an awful lot of pressure to keep the universe running with my own thoughts and intentions!).

Others would define namaste as acknowledging that there is a Divine spark in the heart of another and see it as a way to for two souls to respectfully acknowledge one another.

I have no need to get into deep theological discussions or debates with my yoga friends about whether or not we humans are gods. I am there to try to keep my aging body, mind and spirit limber and strong.

But as I have thought, prayed and meditated through each yoga session, I have had to ask myself if I spend more time trying to see and honor the light and love in people or if I focus more time and energy on where they fall short and disappoint.

If I am honest, I must confess that there have been seasons where I have been mostly focused on the later.

And then there is the question about our godlikeness…in the very beginning of the Bible God decides to create humans in His image.

Maybe, just maybe, we who call ourselves Christians have been deceived into thinking we are anything but godlike? (I realize that this is wading into very deep waters…) 

Maybe, just maybe, we have more ability and more power to co-labor with God because of our godlikeness than we are willing to own?

Maybe, just maybe, more love, kindness, forgiveness, prayer, mercy, grace…maybe, just maybe, this is more powerfully godlike than we have understood?

As one who has spent the better part of her life trying to be more like Jesus, I have at times wielded the gavel of judgment as if I were Jesus. (Alas, if only I had gotten more head, neck and shoulder massages with eucalyptus oil along the way, wink.) I often behave as if we are just bodies more than we are souls or godlike. Just pause and think about that for a minute… that’s big, people.

I am a mixed bag of light and love, judgment and darkness. I don’t know about you but I could do with more “namaste” in my heart, more Divine light and love.

(That said, there are times and relationships that call for honoring others and ourselves with discernment, caution and accountability. I am not talking about naiveté when it comes to unhealthy or unsafe behaviors and relationships.)

I don’t think it is just my Christian upbringing and faith or my temperament that have made me prone to judgement over grace (although, religion, not faith can certainly complicate things for any one of us).

I think our tendency to judge is part of being human and part of grasping for security when it comes to figuring out where we fit in and whether or not we really are significant. I think it is symptomatic of not being convinced way deep down in our souls that we matter and that we are unconditionally loved by anyone, let alone The One who brought us into being.

BUT if I believe that each of us is a unique and precious creation made in the image of a loving God,

if I believe that His Spirit lives in each of us who have invited Him in to dwell there,

if I believe that we are each in a beautiful, wild and messy process of redemption,

then I need to first and foremost be looking for the light and love within a person and doing my best to honor them right where they are without the harshness of judgment and with all the grace of cheering them on in their journey.

That’s how I want to be more like Jesus, more godlike. (I’ll just go ahead and do my best to leave that gavel lying there).

That, my friend, is my definition of namaste.

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soul food

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature…” God created human beings; He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. Genesis 1:26-27 MSG

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, arts, cultures, civilizations- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit… CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory  (this is just a snippet from a truly amazing passage written by an incredible thinker- worth reading the entire paragraph! Click HERE for more )

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6 MSG

I believe that owning our worthiness is the act of acknowledging that we are sacred. Perhaps embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing is ultimately about the care and feeding of our spirits. Brene Brown Daring Greatly

 

 

 

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