In our quest to help others, it is vitally important to ascertain whether we are helping from a place of Namaste, service, and honor instead of from ego. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when it’s vitally important for us to acknowledge and come together in our humanity instead of being divisive, dehumanizing each other, and filling our world with fear.
Namaste comes from Sanskrit, and it means, I bow to you. It’s a gesture of honor, meaning the divine in me, recognizes and honors the divine in you.
Acting From a Place of Ego — I Bow to the Ego in Me
Three months after the biggest trauma of my life, I got a book contract, which, although glorious, meant that I suddenly needed a lot of help emotionally, spiritually, and practically. Still reeling from my trauma, I suddenly had to write full-time writing, tour, and promote my book. I was too busy and overwhelmed with the volume of work in front of me to be able to connect with friends. Instead, I poured my heart and soul into the pages of my book, healed through the writing process, and made it my practice to honor both my trauma and my overwhelm by asking for exactly the kind of support I needed.
I was certain that I would be supported, that my most spiritual friends would be the ones who would get it and would show up in exactly the right way. But ironically, that’s not what happened. Many of my most spiritual, wonderful, goddess-y, woo-woo friends, who were always front and center talking about love, connection, the healing of trauma, and the difficulty of living in such a dark world — were the ones who could not seem to show up. They were too busy practicing yoga, communing with nature, or doing really deep transformational work somewhere else than to be present with or for me.
Although it hurt, and I cried and threw my fair share of tantrums, I tried to see myself in their actions, to learn where I, too, (as a self-proclaimed spiritual one) had been unintentionally causing harm by doing what I wanted, not what was needed.
I saw how they were bowing to ego, too caught up in doing their version of spiritual work that gratified their ego, instead of doing spiritual work that served and honor the divine. And ironically, it was the actions of my non-spiritual friends that taught me the difference between living my Namaste and serving my ego through well-intentioned but misguided spiritual practices.
Acting From a Place of Love — I Bow to the Divine in You
Often, it was the quiet, non-spiritual ones who showed up for me. Whether it was texting that they were thinking of me, reading drafts of my book, sharing inspirational messages, bringing me tea, showing up at book signings, making introductions, carrying boxes, keeping me company at book fairs, sending random pictures of flamingos (or actual gifts with flamingos) and talking me off ledges. The quiet, non-assuming, not particularly spiritual ones, were the ones who showed up in a state of pure love, with hearts open, willing to listen, honor, and help in the ways that I actually needed help.
It wasn’t about ego for them, or looking good, because there was no pretense to uphold. They merely showed up as humans, recognized what was just below the surface of my fractured and stressed out humanity, and bowed to all that was divine in me.
Their humanness fully enlivened the divine within them, connecting us all to something more than what we did, and reminded us how to be.
Do you see the subtle difference?
It wasn’t about “the book” or “my trauma” or “COVID-19” or “politics” or anything ever. It was about spirit, and listening from the heart, showing up when called, and connecting in our joint divinity.
Until we listen, and honor the true needs of those around us, we have no hope of living in a state of Namaste. Because in order to bow to what is divine in another, we have to see what is divine in another.
And most of the time, that which is truly needed, is not what we want to give.
Bowing to the Perfectly, Imperfect Process
My experience made me see that I too have missed the point too many times to count. I have missed the opportunity to truly be of service because I’ve been centered in my ego instead of my heart, all while patting myself on the back for being amazing and spiritual.
But my own experience with trauma and need, leading to both disappointment and gratitude, awakened within me an ability to hear, like I have never heard before. Because of that, I learned how to live each day in a state of Namaste, especially now, amongst all of this COVID-19 fear.
To that end, I hope you will join me in the following commitment to living in a perpetual state of Namaste:
When I see another in need, I will remember that it’s not about the thing that they need. I will remember that it’s about their divinity. I will ask myself, “How can I honor that divinity? How can I serve them and their need, as opposed to myself and my ego’s need?”
-I will stop judging others by their requests and honor the flow of the universe as it is expressed through them. I will create flow and ease wherever I can. I will remember that nobody is asking me to do anything extraordinary. I will show up for others from a place of curiosity, love, and the desire to dance with spirit and play in the flow of life. Not out of obligation. Not out of authority. And not as a savior.
-I will remember that it’s not about me. It’s not about what I will get or how I will look to others. It’s not about what is convenient for me in the moment or how popular it will make me with others. It’s about quietude, honor, and divinity.
-I will always remember that it’s about Namaste, and how all that’s divine in me, can honor, recognize, and bow to all that’s divine in you.
Now, more than ever, let’s commit to recognizing what’s divine in each other, and instead of feeling disgust, anger, or turning away, reach out with our divinity, and listen and connect. Because it’s not about what you are being called to do. It’s about the divinity of the person behind the request.