It’s pronounced “naw-moss-tay”, with an equal emphasis on each syllable. It’s a greeting common among Buddhists and Hindus, usually accompanied by placing your hands together and bowing. But it goes deeper. A simple translation is “The Divine in me sees the Divine in you.”
Namaste is quiet. There are soft eyes that go right into the centre of the other human being. Receiving the greeting can be an immense experience of being seen – not just in the roles we play and the personality we show … but in our essence. For most of us, being met in this way is rare or even unknown.
Then there is Rafa. Rafael Nadal is a Spanish tennis player, full of championships and charisma. He plays with fierce joy. His physical and spiritual power fills the stadium. There is no more intense competitor in the sport. And yet one time, when his wayward shot hit a ball girl in the head, he rushed over to her – asked her if she was okay and then kissed her on the cheek. “He’s a very nice man.”
On Thursday, Rafa watched as a statue of him was revealed at Roland-Garros, the site of this week’s French Open. I looked at his face and I thought “Bam!” An exploding.
We need both