You’re Just Me Over There, Disguised as You
Salutations from many different traditions speak to the essence of unity consciousness. In the days of the Kripalu ashram, jai bhagwan was our greeting of choice, generally used after the class chanted the sound of om together. This phrase translates as “the light in me acknowledges the light in you’. Amrit Desai, our guru during the ashram years, was from the province of Gujarati in Northern India, where this salutation is commonly used as both a greeting and a farewell. He, of course, brought with him the greeting of his province.
As the post-ashram years have passed over Kripalu, more and more of our guests are familiar and practiced in yoga. In the more dominant yogic culture in America, it appears, namaste is the more frequently used greeting. It is translated as “I bow to the divinity within you”. It seems Kripalu teachers now use the namaste greeting more regularly, an interesting marking of evolution from our roots, leaning toward the more general yogic culture.
To support my own understanding and practice of unity consciousness, I created my own fluid translation of these two greetings; “You’re just me over there, disguised as you”. This level of deeper personalizing and identifying has worked for me and helped me to embody the teaching more deeply, to feel it rather than just to think about its concept.
Many wisdom traditions teach about universal unity. Here is a powerful piece from The Essential Kabbalah—The Heart of Jewish Mysticism, written by Daniel Matt. On page 24, Matt tells us:
The essence of divinity is found in every single thing—
Nothing but it exists.
Since it causes every thing to be, no thing can live by anything else.
How might this day be different if I really believed this? How might your day be different?
In this stanza (4.17) from the Utpaladeva’s Shiva-Storta-Avali, Sanskrit Hindu devotion songs about Shiva, unity consciousness is further explained:
There is no other happiness here in this world
Than to be free of the thought
That I am different from you.
Right here and right now, in this time of such divisiveness, when family members, friends, and acquaintances see the world through such a vastly different lens, a time when division and difference is magnified and utilized and coopted for political gain, what the heck, you guys? How do we live this? If, according to Dr. Delores Jones-Brown, we will be saved by humanity, how do we begin to practice living namaste? How do we become part of the healing, part of the solution? Here are some ideas for practice:
From whom do you feel different and separate? Be specific.
How does that difference feel? Where in your body do you feel it?
Can you locate one bridge, one commonality, between you and this other being? If so, focus your attention there.
Is there a prayer or a blessing you might offer this person?
Clearly, in every sense of the word, we are in it together now. Let’s practice namaste as we lean toward connection. To support this practice, give yourself the gift of watching John Lennon’s classic, Imagine, by the a capella group, Pentatonix in its entirety, all five minutes. Wonderful visuals unfold at the end.
We deserve its benediction. May it strengthen our practice of coming together.
Dear Reader-Friend-Folk, I hope there’s something helpful for you in this week’s blog. Keep me posted.
All blessings, Aruni