I teach several yoga classes and in most of my classes, I end the class with the salutation, Namaste. But before I say this, I close our time by saying a common translation of Namaste; “The light in me sees and honors the beautiful bright light in you.”
When I say these words, I am taking some liberties with the more literal interpretation of Namaste. When Namaste is translated from Sanskrit, it simply means, “I honor you.” When we honor someone, we choose to see the light, beauty and goodness within them.
Doesn’t it feel good when we feel seen by someone and we know they see the light in us?
Seeing the light in others
Whose light in our life do we struggle to see? This may be someone who irritates us because they are a micromanager or manipulator. Perhaps they rub us the wrong way because of their political ideology, religious interpretations or personality. Maybe they annoy us because of their constant need for the limelight or potentially we are jealous of them in some way.
Possibly we struggle to see someone’s light because we are hurt they don’t make enough time for us. There are innumerable reasons we struggle to see one another.
Saying “I honor the light in you” are easy words to speak, but sometimes the actual day to day practice of striving to see another person’s light is quite difficult. At some point, we have probably all felt the pain of not being seen by someone. But if we are honest, we also know we have been guilty of not looking for the light in others.
We all fall short, but I believe we are all made in God’s image and likeness, and there is a divine light shining within all people, but we must be intentional to look for this light in ourselves and in one another.
When we see light in others, it strengthens their light, our own light and makes the whole world shine more luminously.
Seeing your inner light
I hope you realize you have a light shining deep within you.
As a counselor, I often have my clients create an Affirmation List, where they write down their strengths and abilities. It often saddens me how many people struggle at coming up with a list of their gifts and graces.
When we cannot see the talents we have, we are unable to see the bright light that is shining deep within us.
As a child, I grew up in a home with a father who was an alcoholic. I was deeply ashamed of my dad’s struggles, and developed profound feelings of inadequacy. I did not feel good enough and I did not see the strengths or gifts I had.
When I was 15 years old, I attended a spiritual retreat and during this weekend retreat, I was reminded that I was God’s beloved child and that I was worthy of love and belonging. Even though I already knew this intellectually, something about the unconditional love I felt at the retreat helped the knowledge to sink from my head to my heart.
Before the retreat, I had only seen my darkness, but now I saw my light. Not only did I see my light and worth, but I was able to see my dad’s light and his own need for grace and love. The discovery of my light and my dad’s light, made me feel as though ten pounds of weight had lifted off my shoulders.
Not only do we need to see light in ourselves and in one another, but we need people in our lives that see light in us. I was having a difficult day this week, and I confided in one of my closest friends through a text message, about a struggle I am facing and she immediately wrote back the following note:
When you are having a rough day, please know I am here. We are in this thing called life together and forever if you will have me. I love, love, love you beautiful, strong, faithful and gentle friend.
These words from my friend re-ignited my inner lantern. The Sufi mystic Rumi, once said, “Set your heart on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”
Who are the people in your life, who keep your own light blazing? I am so thankful for the people who kindle the candle in my heart, when I need more fuel for my fire. Take a moment to be thankful for the people who truly see you and light your path.
Morning prayer to see the light in others and within
Consider joining me in the following moving meditation prayer:
Bring prayer hands to your forehead at your third eye center, right between your eyebrows. Take in the deepest breath of the day and then find a long exhale. And then say to yourself out loud or silently:
Today my thoughts will be full of light. I set an intention to be mindfully aware of the light in myself and others.
Move your prayer hands to your lips. Then find your inhale and exhale and speak these words aloud or in your mind’s eye.
Today my words will be full of light. I set an intention to speak words of light to myself and others.
Invite your prayer hands to be at the center of your heart. Calm your nervous system by finding another round of deep breathing, in and out. And then meditatively speak the following words verbally or in the silence of your heart:
Today my actions will be full of light. I set an intention to actively extend light to myself and others.
This little light of mine, I am gonna let it shine
When I was a child, I learned the African American spiritual, “This Little Light of Mine.” It is such a simple song, and yet every time I sing it, I am filled with life and joy.
The reason this song is so compelling, is because its words remind why we are here on this earth. We are here to let our light shine and also to allow the light of others to shine radiantly. Additionally, it is imperative to nurture the light within us, through taking care of our mind, body and spirit.
We need to take time to rest in the light of the One who created us and to attend to hobbies and creative pursuits that nurture our light. We must also find encouraging people who will fan our flames.
My prayer is that we would continue to let our light shine brightly, so that we might fill this darkened world up with light and love. Namaste.