Namaste and Accepting Thanks

I practice Ashtanga Yoga – Mysore style. I started it in London at Hamish’s studio who is one of the most content people I have ever known. And I admire people who are content – truly content with what they have because I “think” I lack that. Anyways, I digress. It was at this studio where I picked up the habit of bowing down to the teachers in the studio after the class which is also known as Namaste.

Today Namaste is used most commonly for Hello, but it has a deeper meaning that that. The more I spend time with books like Ramana Maharishi and Webu Sayadew the more I realize that the rituals of the past had a deeper purpose, a vision to them which the people of today have forgotten. It’s like we keep reciting the prescription without ever tasting the medicines prescribed on it. Namaste is another one of them – when we bow low to somebody we are essentially reminding ourselves that we are all one. That’s what the movie Avtaar meant with the dialogue – “I see you.”

When we moved to Columbus and started practicing at the Ashtanga Yoga Studio I did the same thing. However, I noticed that most of teachers are uncomfortable to the namaste. A bit like when somebody expresses Thank You and you brush it off or try to talk over it. A lot of people are not comfortable with accepting gifts/compliments or even a simple Thanks. I was also in the same boat.

Until I realized the following two things
1. Scenario time: Let’s say a friend has sent you a package that you have been waiting for ages. The Fedex guy comes over to your place to deliver it. He knocks on the door, you open it and immediately offer him drinks, put a garland on him, touch his feet because he got you this lovely gift. – Right it would be taking it a little too far.

Life’s a lot like that – we are all Fedex couriers. Yes, everything happens through us , it’s the ego and pride in us which makes us think I did it. And it is this “I” which brings in the UN-comfortableness. If we accept the thanks and express gratitude for being the medium what is there to be uncomfortable about?

Yoga and Meditation are two such jewels where the teachings have been poured into this vessel which we call body from one generation to the other. It’s to this knowledge and teaching that I bow to – not the body/vessel that contains it. Once we grasp this at a deeper level the discomfort will vanish truly.

2. Something that my prof at Creativity and Personal Mastery course in London Business School,had mentioned. He had said that if we do not accept the thanks or help that somebody is offering then we are blocking the flow. If you help somebody and if somebody else helps you , accept it gracefully and keep the flow going.

That said, last thing I want to talk about is helping others. There is a difference between helping and being of service. If we say, “Let me help you,” it automatically puts you above the other person in some fashion. Where as if you ask,”How can I be of service?” then it takes a different tone. The idea here is that you should be grateful that you can be of service. The words – help/service do not matter, what matter is the intention behind it?
Are you helping because it stroked your ego?
Are you helping because its filling up an empty space within you?
Are you helping because that’s who you are?

A lot of different messages in this thread and I will leave you with this one.

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