The punchline is I get very mad when I hear people use Namaste incorrectly. This isn’t a new thing for me and against the principles of Buddhism to even care, but I do and the wonderful thing about having a blog is I can share my reasoning to masses (or the tens that read my blog). My last straw really came after a commercial. The way capitalist have co-opted, or really hijacked spirituality needs to be addressed, and I’m just the guy to address it.
The latest commercial to use Namaste incorrectly featured a woman drying her underarms in front of a bathroom hand-blower. Another woman walked into the bathroom, promoting her to move into a yoga pose and soon uttering the word Namaste. No harm no foul right? If we really are going to get into it, many people of different faiths practice yoga for its wonderful strength building, body lengthening, and muscle toning abilities. I myself love yoga even over weight lifting, however, I don’t feel it gives people the right to use a word they don’t understand incorrectly. Namaste is used more as a sign of a liberal, hippie, Vegan rebel as opposed to the deep spiritual freeing word that it is.
I’ve put the definition here so I won’t exactly repeat it. Namaste speaks to the soul behind the meat suit we are wearing in this life cycle. When spoke it says hello to the truth, welcome to my space, and goodbye to the joy of your existence. It says we have met before and will meet again. It says be who you are because we are the same, and I won’t judge you. It says love and light, as it honors both that resides in you. It truly is a word that isn’t as surface as other words.
But as I look at this meme, I still can’t find the commercial need to reduce such a wonderful word into cash. And Namaste is everywhere from mugs to food products, pillows to comforters, and bumper stickers to T-shirts. Buddhism, it seems like other positive things, is up for sale and I’m just very annoyed by it. But if I’m going to be honest, I’m mostly annoyed with myself.
I use Namaste rarely. When I decide to use the word, I truly feel a connection to the soul of who I speak it to. I use it when I have taken the time to see them deeply and see what resides in them whether I feel it matches my spirit or not. But even in that sentence lies the problem. I’m clearly attached to the word and meaning of the word. This attachment is causing me anger, stress, and pain. This attachment has me thinking about me and the grip I just might be holding on Buddhism if the use of Namaste bothers me so much.
This truly is why I love my blog and Buddhism. It’s not often you get to learn about yourself while putting forth an idea that wasn’t even supposed to be about you. I mean it happens and it’s more of a lightbulb moment for most, but with Buddhism I find it happens more often that before. This is another reason I love Buddhism, but I am seeing how extremist get to the level they do. Without this deep thought on attachment, it would be so easy to strangle the message you feel honors you until it can’t honor anyone. I’m seeing that in myself in regards to Namaste, and who knows what else.
The second of the Four Noble Truths states suffering is caused by attachment. I am suffering and angry because of my attachment to the word Namaste. I am bringing myself down because of my perception on how that word should be used. I am focusing on the dogma of Buddhism and not the message that is beneath even Namaste. I might not be the best person to use Namaste if this is my way of thinking. But I am fortunate I have awareness in my life. Through meditation as I sit and the meditation that comes from writing, I’m able to see the areas I need to improve.
I can’t say the use of Namaste in a way I don’t agree with won’t continue to bother me. I can’t say my way of thinking about the word is correct at all. These words, principles, and practices have been translated from verbalized stories hundreds of years after they were told, in languages that don’t even have corresponding words in the English language. I will do one thing, meditate and nurture this sometimes rage I get in regards to this word.
At least I have something to do. Namaste!!!