In Sanskrit, nama means bow, and te, means you. The literal meaning of namaste means, bow to you. The interpretation of the word, when you hold your hands in prayer and bow forward, is “The spirit in me bows to the spirit in you.” I take the occasional yoga class, and in intenSati many leaders end their classes with some iteration of this symbolic gesture, but in ever knew what it meant, literally or symbolically! Now that I know, I love it!
As I wrote recently, I sometimes get all wonky when it comes to other people’s accomplishments. My ego unceremoniously chimes in and tries to convince me that I’ll never be able to achieve anything similar. It has all sorts of convincing arguments.
But, the day I woke up swimming in negative thoughts about my own publishing prospects, after learning about my coach’s book deal, I received another beautiful message. In my inbox, was an email from DailyOM. It was about the greatness of others.
The point of this message was to suggest that those of us who admire fiercely and see so much greatness in those around us, should interpret this greatness as a mirror of our own. The theory suggests that not only is the world around you a mirror of your internal state, but you wouldn’t be able to even recognize this greatness in others if you didn’t have it somewhere inside, too.
Namaste: the greatness in me sees the greatness in you.
So instead of getting all grumpy when I hear about someone who’s accomplishing something that I want to accomplish, I am committing to celebrating their greatness. The people around me have so many great qualities and have undertaken and conquered so many amazing feats that deserve celebration.
I am also committing to the idea that there is not a set amount of good fortune floating on the wind and whoever reaches up and grabs the last piece is lucky to have been so fast. There is an unlimited amount of good fortune and success out there for the taking, and because someone accomplishes something amazing doesn’t mean there’s one less spot out there for me. It’s not like seats on a bus.
And perhaps most importantly, when I begrudge myself the opportunity to celebrate the success and greatness of someone I care about, I am blocking myself from experiencing those things myself. I take the position of wanting to get as close to that thing and as close to that joy as I can, whether it’s mine or yours or your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend’s.