One of the translations of the word, Namaste, is “the light within me sees the light within you.” In other words, recognizing the inner strength in myself and seeing the same in others helps us recognize that there is no right and wrong, male and female, old and young, mean and kind, just people that share experience without separation. If we can see everything around us with a supportive eye, both toward ourselves and toward others, we can begin to recognize the humanness, warts and beauty included, that we share.
Learning about ourselves is the first step in extending outward to others. And lest you think this is about moral relativism, let me say that this seeing everyone as the same as myself gives tremendous benefits to anyone on this quest. It costs nothing to give gentleness, but everything to look at others as though they are wrong or different from me.
Just as we cannot control anyone else besides ourselves, self knowledge has absolutely nothing to do with anyone except ourselves.
If we are unhappy with a current situation or frustrated with how someone is behaving, the only way to resolve these issues is to look within ourselves. Armed with self-knowledge, we will find disagreements and formerly hopeless situations far easier to bear. Our satisfaction with our lives will increase.
Through self reflection we can ask, “What do I need to know about myself at this point in my life?” We can then practice cultivating the space for inner wisdom to surface. These self-reflective meditations help us to build trust in our inner knowing, making us less reactive to outside stressors and other people’s responses to us.
We can honestly Namaste, seeing the light within us and acknowledging the light within everyone around us.
To practice this inner light meditation:
First, find a comfortable cross-legged seat. Sitting upright on the floor is preferable, leaning against the wall if the back complains, to keep the mind alert and calm. Resting the palms of the hands on top of closed eyes for three breaths.
Then keeping the eyes closed, place the hands palms up on the lap. Bring awareness to the space between the eyebrows. You can picture the space between the eyebrows in your mind. If it is difficult to hold the attention there, a trick I learned is to lick the thumb and press it to the space you are concentrating on. The evaporating liquid helps to keep awareness in the space between the eyebrows.
Once you feel your focus, check in with the breath. Without straining, see if you can make the inhale and exhale even. After a few even breaths, make the exhales one count longer than the inhales.
Expand the awareness from the breath to the entire body and begin to think of it as a hollow vase, waiting to be filled. See a brilliant, liquid white light pouring into the center of your body, spilling into the feet then legs, then trunk to the hands and arms, then finally the neck and head.
Hold the image of your entire body shining with this white light for several breaths.
Slowly allow awareness to return to the breath, making the inhale and exhale even. Return awareness to the space between the eyebrows for several more breaths. Then slowly open the eyes when you feel ready.
Post meditation: moving slowly, trying to carry the benefits of meditation with you, think about how you identify with yourself. If you can remember that you are filled with light, perhaps you can let go of what you self-identify. Knowing it is safe to release the stories we make up about who we are, in favor of this lightness of being helps us move back into the complexities of life with a greater ease and connection to those around us.
Post for NaBloPoMo
(Since I’m writing most of these late at night, in bed, while tandem nursing twins, I’m choosing to concentrate on writing rather than proof-reading or editing. Please forgive the extra typos and non-nonsensical grammar. Thank you.)