Namaste, my good reader! Now please excuse me while I go scrape my tongue….

If you’ve ever attended a yoga class or bumped into a new age hippie, you’ve probably been greeted with this word. It’s often spoken like a loud whisper, with the speaker closing their eyes and giving a short bow. You probably sense that it conveys a deep respect and spiritual awareness, and it does to many who invoke it. Here are some of the most popular interpretations of the word:

Or in short, “the divine within me recognizes and honors the divine within you.”

So what’s the big deal, Rob? These are the most beautiful meanings for a word ever!!

I completely agree! But that’s my problem: all of this deep meaning is condensed into a single word, and that makes me uncomfortable. How can I possibly convey such oneness and respect towards someone in a single word?? I’d honestly feel disrespectful in leaving someone with “namaste” only to wonder how deeply I meant it. I would rather speak a thousand words and weave them together in poetry than let one over-simplified word casually describe my vast emotions.

Isn’t that what poetry is about? To describe an emotion in its fullness and give it life? Take the following quotes for instance. Is this not the language we should aspire to?

The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough. ~ George Edward Moore

Happiness is within you… so unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow— like the sweet flower you are. I know the answer— just spread your wings and set yourself free. ~ Jimi Hendrix

Maybe I rant. I often do. And I understand that “namaste” is not a presumption that you see through someone and know their soul, but that it’s more of an invitation. Perhaps it’s meant to convey openness and authenticity, such as saying “I open my heart to you” or “your soul is one that I would honor the privilege of knowing”. Even so, I’d rather use those phrases. For you see, I’m enormously satisfied when I can perfectly articulate my emotions. It’s like knowing you’ve picked the perfect Christmas present for someone, wrapping it tenderly with a bow, and seeing their face gleam with joy as they open it.

I bond with people at the deepest level of my soul by showing them what it looks like inside. That there’s nothing to fear! And invite them to enter.

So to you, my dear reader: I open my heart to you. Your soul is one that I would honor the privilege of knowing. And I invite you to know mine 🙂


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