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🙏

Today I will Start a New Life

I will start a new life today. I will put ALL old mistakes away; I will put ALL worries from the future away; I WILL start anew today. God always offers me a fresh start. I will be unburdened and at peace. If God’s forgiveness were only for the “righteous” and those who have not sinned, where would be its need?  God forgives us all of our sins, if we are honestly TRYING to live today the way He would have us live. The emphasis is not on perfection, but  “trying.” As Winston Churchill is credited with saying: “Never give up! Never give up! Never, Never, Never give up!” In love, Phil

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama on “The Root of This Civilization”

I was recently re-reading Essential Teachings: His Holiness The Dalai Lama, (North Atlantic Books, 1995) when I came across this quote.  I was taken a back by the awesome power and simple truth of his observation: (Bold and Italics added by Phil)

Look around us at this world that we call “civilized” and that for more than 2000 years has searched to obtain happiness and avoid suffering by false means: trickery, corruption, hate, abuse of power, and exploitation of others. We have searched only for individual and material happiness, opposing people against each other, one race against another, social systems against others.  This has led to a time of fear, of suffering, murder, and famine . . . It is because each person has looked only for his own profit without fear of oppressing others for selfish goals, and this sad and pitiful world is the result. The root of this civilization is rotten, the world suffers, and if it continues in this way, it will suffer more and more.” (pg. xii)

His Holiness offers the cure–and he does so with so much love and conviction!  Can we not practice and train ourselves daily to comply?

“Training our minds, renouncing excess, and living in harmony with others and with ourselves will assure us happiness, even if our daily life is ordinary. And if we should encounter adversity, others will help us because we have been good and kind. We must not forget that even in the most perverted and cruel human being, as long as he is human, a small grain of love and compassion exists that will make him, one day, a Buddah.” (ibid, pgs 6-7)

Observe everything – judge nothing. I offer this teaching with the deepest of love and gratitude to each of you.

Namaste, Phil

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.

Thanks For Your Book Reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

I want to thank each of you who have supported the new publication of PBH. Thank you deeply and from my heart for the great ratings you have given the new book on and

Thank you for reviews you might yet give. Thank you for supporting the desperately needed message of my book – love, compassion and non-judgement! In gratitude I live. In gratitude I honor all that is good.