“Stupidity is an attempt to iron out all differences, and not to use or value them creatively.”
Bill Mollison

Permaculture: A Designers' Manual



Namaste, as I know it, means something like “I recognize and cherish the eternal light that shines forth from you”. That’s a heavy load for a single word – which is why I don’t use it often. If I say it to you it means:

I am assuming that there is a higher force / god / quality

I am assuming that this higher presence resides in everyone including you and I

I am assuming you can contain my bringing it up

It indicates that at some point in our recent conversation I probably lost track of it

It indicates that I realized I was lost

It indicates that I found it once again

It indicates that I have experienced again that which we have in common and gives us direction in life

It indicates that I am grateful for having seen this through you

It indicates that I am grateful to you for having given me this gift

What do you mean when you say namaste?

This entry was posted in Expanding, inside. You are welcome to read 8 comments and to add yours


  1. Posted May 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I happen to be one of those people who never says it. I love the word and concept, and I always appreciate it when others use it with me–no problem there.

    But for some reason I don't feel comfortable using it myself. I haven't ever tried to figure out why, because it doesn't trouble me. It probably has something to do with overly assumed spiritual intimacy, like you imply in your blog.

    Bob Weisenberg

    • Posted May 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for stopping by Bob 🙂

      I can easily relate to that. I am like that with the world "love" 🙂 I never say "I love you". I prefer to put that into action and skip over the ground-into-thin-dust-thin words.

      As for Namaste, for me the combination of it being from a foreign language and the very specific context make it more accessible and useful for me. There is a small irony in this, because when I say it indicates "I just made a conscious choice not to be angry at you" when most people are thinking it's some kind of spiritual "I love you".

      I can at best be clear about my intentions – and now I put in words – so I can easily refer those that want to know to what I mean by it 🙂

  2. Posted May 23, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    When I use the word, Namaste, I am saying that I respect you as a creation of God, as part of the divine. Personally, I love the word/greeting. It is overly used in the American yoga community and as Bob said, has some kind of assumed spiritual intimacy. In Nepal, it is simply a respectful greeting that warms the heart.

    • Posted May 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for commenting 🙂
      Can you say what it is that prompts you to use it and not "overly" use it?

  3. Posted May 24, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I guess, for me, I use it when I really mean it. I don't just use it haphazardly. When I "namaste" someone, I do it with divine intention and feeling. If I don't feel it, I don't say it.

  4. Posted June 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I found this through Fred's blog and I love this post.

    To answer your question – I use it often when I am in India, where it is the norm when I am in a traditional setting, especially with elders. I was taught, as a child to say "Namaskaram", the South Indian version of Namaste, to my elders. It means I salute the god in you. I believe every person had god in them. Even people who appear horrible have a tiny spark of goodness somewhere and by saying Namaskaram to them, I am not saluting the horribleness, but acknowledging that there is good in them too.

    Now, what stunned me when I came to your site is the Tat Tvam Asi on the right hand side. So few people understand what that means. It is an incredible, powerful phrase. In fact, I have named my production company Tatvam (different, but similar).

    Nice to visit your blog.

    • Posted June 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for taking the time to visit and relate 🙂

      I don't always see the good in people. The idea of Namaste – whether or not I verbalize it – is a reminder to me to seek it out. I believe it's always there – sometimes it takes time, patience and digging to find it 🙂

      "Tat Tvam Asi" is the only description of myself that I feel fits me 🙂 Not many people notice it or comment on it – so thank so much for noticing 🙂

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