Namaste at Costco

Shopping at Costco today, my wife and baby and I garnered a lot of attention because we were wearing matching hockey jerseys.

She turned 13 months-old this week.

She turned 13 months-old this week.

Checking out, I struck up a brief conversation with the man boxing our items.

Probably in his late 50s, the man commented that as an immigrant, he appreciated learning new information. We talked about several things, including my baby, riding on my shoulders.

After checking out, I put our baby back in the cart and as we turned to leave, I said to the man, “Namaste.”

This Hindu word literally means, “the Divine in me, recognizes or bows to the Divine in you.”

“I’m Pakistani,” the man responded cordially. “We say, Assalam Alaikum.”

I immediately responded, “wa Alaikum Assalam.”

The man was very pleased, and as we left, he turned to someone else and asked, “did you hear? He said, ‘wa Alaikum Assalam.’”

Paying respect to the man by honoring his faith didn’t diminish my own faith in any way.

I didn’t disrespect Jesus by respecting a Muslim stranger. (On the other hand, this Christian perspective is disrespectful to everyone, including Jesus.)

In fact, my own faith was strengthened because the Divine in me did recognize the Divine in him, and in the recognizing, my faith was made stronger.

Faith on the Fringe had visitors from eight countries today, including the USA. This reminds me that what I write from the perspective of a Christian in the United States, is read from many perspectives around the world.

Namaste.

Assalam Alaikum.

The peace of Christ be with you.

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One Response to Namaste at Costco

  1. As a Yoga instructor in a rural part of Virginia, I remind my students that “Namaste” or chanting “OM Shanti” (“peace”) is not compromising one’s Christian beliefs. Instead, it is celebrating love and peace in a spiritual world community without the self-imposed human boundaries and rules of a single “religion.” Swami Satchidananda (who brought Integral Yoga to the United States) would often say, “Many paths, one God.” I don’t think he’s the only one who said that — the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Pope Francis all speak of the community of the seeker. When we seek God, we are all together in the journey. We are all one.

    Liked by 1 person

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