Squinting for Enlightenment: Finding the Light Within

Namaste: a word that transcends cultural boundaries, carrying with it a profound message. Loosely translated, it means “the light in me sees the light in you.” In the context of Buddhism, we might refer to it as Buddha nature—that mystical energy of life and wisdom that resides within each of us. It’s our best, most compassionate, and loving self, always open to growth, change, and healing. At least, that’s my interpretation.

But let’s be honest: embodying Namaste isn’t always easy. Life throws us curveballs, and sometimes those curveballs come in the form of challenging relationships. My mother-in-law is living with us because she is suffering from dementia. Yes, it’s as tough as it sounds. The confusion, the hostility—it’s enough to fray anyone’s patience. Everything she does is an irritant, and it’s hard to see the light in her during those moments.

I’m grateful the ancient traditions offer tools to help navigate life’s complexities. Patience and compassion become our allies. And sometimes, in those quiet moments of mindfulness, I catch glimpses of my mother-in-law’s light—the light that still shines within her, even if it’s obscured by the fog of dementia.

Here’s the thing: it’s easy to pass judgment on others. We do it all the time, even for seemingly trivial matters like someone’s choice of clothing or dietary preferences. There was a woman I met on the ski chairlift. She was excited about her keto diet and morning steaks. I dismissed her as overly obsessed, thinking her approach wasn’t for everyone. But what if I had recognized her light—the passion and knowledge she carried about how food affects her? What if I bowed to that light instead?

Analyzing this idea periodically is crucial. Are we genuinely trying to see everyone’s light? Or do we default to judgment and disdain when faced with differences? “They’re stupid,” we might think. “I know better.” But that’s not the path of Namaste. It’s not the way of recognizing the light in others.

Namaste isn’t merely an ending to a yoga class; it’s a reminder to carry that awareness throughout your day. When you finish your practice, let it linger. See the light in others—the light that connects us all, regardless of our unique paths and perspectives. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll earn that old lady yoga guru status sooner than I think.



A really fun person!

1 Comment on “Squinting for Enlightenment: Finding the Light Within

  1. Thank you Davida for sharing Namaste. I appreciate this opportunity to really think about it and how I can be more mindful in using it. Often we are quick to judge. I think about the saying of “until you’ve walked in their shoes”. I like thinking about their light, now. A gift to be held. We can help others to shine, as well as ourselves.
    “This little light of mine, I’m going to make it shine”.

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