Namaste or a Handshake?

In my Living @5 Course, as part of my Tri-Being lesson, I use this wonderful quote by C.S. Lewis:  “It is in light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit. [C.S. Lewis—The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses]

As a young man, serving in Panama in the Army, I first encounter the presence of a Higher Power. This amazing experience is described in Chapter Two of my book, Perfect Brightness of Hope. Based on this and many other Holy Episodes in my life, this blog is dedicated to the Eastern greeting and word, “Namaste.” Currently, I begin each class of Living @5 with a simple bow and an audibile “Namaste.”  It is amazing how swiftly a sweet spirit enters the “jail classroom.”  In researching the meaning of Namaste, I put together a description of this sacred greeting and included it in my @5 course manual for availability to each student. My purpose in this writing is to provide this description that in doing, I might elevate, even if ever so slightly, the Peace and Love on this planet.  Just think of the effect if everyone, everywhere, and everytime, greeted each other with this simple gesture.🙏

Namaste: As a test of how these two greetings differ, the handshake and a simple bow repeating the word, “Namaste,” imagine you are magically confronted with The Divine. The Almighty walks up to you on the street. What do you do? Reach out to shake His hand? Probably not. Though suitable between man犀利士
and man, it is an unseemly expression between a man and a God. We never shake hands with God. I mean, what if your palms are sweating? So you “namaste” instead. The reason it feels natural to namaste before God is that it is, in its very essence, a spiritual gesture, not a worldly one. By a handshake we acknowledge our equality with others. We reveal our humanity. We convey how strong we are, how nervous, how aggressive or passive. There is bold physicality to it. For these and other reasons, Popes never shake hands. Kings never shake hands. Even mothers don’t shake hands with their own children.

Namaste is cosmically different. We all namaste before the Almighty, a holy man or a holy place. The namaste gesture speaks our inner valuing of the sacredness of all. It tokens our belief that all souls are divine in their essence. It is saying, silently, “I see the Deity in us both, and bow before Him or Her. I acknowledge the holiness of even this mundane moment. I cannot separate that which is spiritual in us from that which is human and ordinary.”

Think how efficient of a gesture Namaste is in an age of mass communication. A politician, or performer can greet fifty thousand people with a single Namaste, and the fifty thousand people can return the honor instantly. In such a situation a handshake is unthinkable and a mere waving of one’s hand is somehow frivolous.

Namaste elevates one’s consciousness, reminding one that all beings, all existence is holy, is the Almighty. It communicates, “I honor or worship the Divinity within you.” It draws the individual inward for a moment, inspires reflection on the deeper realities, softening the interface between people. It would be difficult to offend or feel animosity toward any one you greet with Namaste🙏

The Two Awful Eternities

On a daily basis, I review a “Thought,” “Meditation,” and “Prayer” for the day provided in a  small book entitled 24 Hours A Day (Daily Readings for Alcoholics.  Available on Amazon and other book stores.) In my course, Living @5, I review The Meditations for July 29, 30, and 31st as support to the Living @5 Model. This model is provided by a simple photo I took yesterday of  my whiteboard presentation.  Spend a moment thinking about this simple concept.  I offer them to you with love.

 July 29:  There are two days in every week about which we should not worry; two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is Yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.  Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.  All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday.  We cannot undo a single act we performed: we cannot erase a single word said–Yesterday is Gone! 

July 30:  The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with its possible burdens, its large promise and poor performance.  Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.  Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds–but it will rise.  Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn . 

July 31:  This leaves only one day–Today! Any man or woman can fight the battle of just one day.  It is only when you and I have the burdens in those two awful eternities’–Yesterday and Tomorrow–that we break down. It is not the experience of Today that drives men and women mad–it is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, live but One Day At A Time. [24 Hours A Day.  Meditations For the Day:  July 29, 30th and 31st.] 


(ps. My sweet wife Vickie Lee provided the sketches of the 3 sets of eyes in the photo.)

Namaste, Phil

Progress is Impossible Without Change

As you may know, I routinely teach inmates at a county jail.  My course, “Living @5: A Spiritual Course in Thought and Time,” focuses on the key tenet that “our mind controls our body.” In the best-selling audio of all time, “The Strangest Secret,”  Earl Nightingale proposed a profound idea:   What we think about, we bring about.   Most of us are unaware of what we are thinking about in any given moment. But the law of creation does not cease because we are unaware.  We are creating in every second,  many of us without power or direction.  In two most wonderful books, the late Wayne Dyer teaches about power and direction:  Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, and There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.  The preface to the first book has a short line by George Bernard Shaw which sums it ALL up:  “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ( PS, Take an hour  for Peace and watch Dyer’s movie  “The Shift.” on YouTub犀利士

Peace and happiness are always just a thought away!  Namaste, Phil



In Lesson 10 of my course, “Living @5: A Spiritual Course in Thought & Time,” I provide a plastic (teaching at the jail, so no glass bottles) “jar”  which contain three multi-colored velvet smiley face flowers (Photo Below)  Each flower represents a word foundational to the course:  Judgement, Attachment, and Resistance. Using the “Mason Jar” as a memory device, I focus students on the large “NON” written on the side of the jar. Then we read a quote from The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle: “Non-Judgement, Non-Attachment, and Non-Resistance are the three aspects of  true freedom and enlightened living.” (The Power of Now, pg 225).

In discussion, I underscore (1) that Judgement is ego centered and brings personal dissatisfaction. “Observe everything. Judge Nothing;” (2) Attachment is the desire to acquire, attach to that which we currently do NOT have. This desire brings personal dissatisfaction to the present moment; and (3) Resistance addresses the constant resistance we hold against the “present moment.” Most of us feel as if “this moment should not be.” But, because the present moment always IS, we are in a constant state of dissatisfaction.

Today’s meditation (12/30) from 24 Hours a Day addresses the Attachment part of JAR.

“People are failures in the deepest sense when they seek to live without God’s sustaining power. Many people try to be self-sufficient and seek selfish pleasure and find that it does not work too well. No matter how much material wealth they acquire, no matter how much fame and material power, the time of disillusionment and futility eventually comes. Death is ahead, and they cannot take any material thing with them when they go. What does it matter if I have gained the whole world, but lost my own soul?” (24 Hours a Day:  Daily Meditation for 12/30.  ©Hazelton Foundation 1975)


(Photo: “Living @5: A Spiritual Course in Thought & Time” © Perfect Brightness LLC 2013.)

The Sparrow and the Red Car

A few days back, I was sitting in my car in the County Jail parking lot – no not because I am a resident  – but because I teach inmates most afternoons.  So, I am sitting there next to this incredibly beautiful, dark red, brand new Infinity automobile.  Have to admit I was violating my own teachings about joy in the Present Moment to  “wanting what we don’t have.”  Sure was a beautiful car, and my favorite color to boot.  Having left the Present Moment, for a moment, I was zooming down the highway in this wonderful car. It was a warm summer day, windows open, wind in my hair, etc., etc., etc.

So sitting in my not so new Hyundai, staring at this wonderful auto next to me, I was lost in some time I am sure didn’t exist. Suddenly, I was shocked back to reality, sanity, and what matters most.  From behind this incredible car’s front tire, out hopped a unusually small sparrow.  It perched on the edge of the curb with it tiny beak a fraction away from the front tire of the huge machine I had just been lusting after.

Then I came back to the Present Moment. It hit me with some force that the life within the sparrow, was life, eternal life, profound life. Compared to the dead machine, it was everything. How suddenly I loved this little bird.  I wanted to hold it, and pet, and tell it what a wonderful creature it was. But I wouldn’t touch it, nor ever see it again.  Yet with great force, this little God creation  reminded me, in the space of one of it’s heartbeats, what was important. I didn’t need anything more than I had in the Present Moment to be incredibly, wonderfully happy.

Living @5: A Spiritual Course in Thought & Time

In the near future I will begin a series of BLOGS on my Lifeskills course, “Living @5: A Spiritual Course in Thought and Time.”  I created this course to teach concepts for healthy living to inm犀利士
ates at a local county jail. I have been teaching this daily (well most days)  for over 5 years.  The skills taught are so badly needed in today’s environment.  As I recently read in a comment by the Dalai Lama: “The roots of our society are rotten.” (Essential Teachings of the Dalai Lama -Introduction and on back cover).  My “Living @5 Tree” addresses the rotten roots. More – much more- to come.