In India it is customary to say “Namasté” when greeting one another.  This word is accompanied by a gesture, a mudra known as prayer position.  Hands are brought together at the heart center, pointed upward, palms touching each other.  This simple greeting is a gesture of respect. . . for the self and the other.  Its meaning is profound – the divine light within me honors the divine light within you – acknowledging that we both, you and I, share in this divinity.  This greeting reminds us that every person we encounter is someone of worth and that the “I”, the one who greets, is someone of worth.  We’re addressing the divinity within all sentient beings.  Depending on our cultural background and our belief system, this can mean something different for each of us — soul, spirit, energy, light —  but the basic understanding is universal.

When greeting one another, we remember the Buddha’s teaching that all sentient beings have the capacity for awakening, for enlightenment.  Within each of us there is the potential to awaken to our true nature.  May our “Namasté”, used in a truly mindful way toward each person we meet, encourage more awakenings.

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