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Namaste is like a sweet convening of journeyers

Jayme Armstrong

Jayme Armstrong

Editor’s note: We asked Namaste graduate and two-time Namaste assist team member Jayme Armstrong about her experiences at the seminar, which is next scheduled in August 2018.

Why did you sign up for Namaste? I was raised by avid atheists, so I had only negative experiences and beliefs about religion and spirituality. As someone who had come to that point in my life with no religious or spiritual underpinning, I was curious to look at spirit and source through the lens that Wings might create, given my experience in other seminars. I thought Wings might be a good guide to be exposed to the traditions in a way that was respectful and open. As someone who came in with some baggage about spirituality and religion, it was a really sweet place to inquire and be curious.

Who comes to Namaste? Namaste is a gathering of a bunch of different people from different backgrounds who are in the same inquiry. What’s there for me? How do I want spirit to be in my life? What is it? I noticed that there were people who had lengthy spiritual traditions and religious experiences. There were people like me who were not sure or had no background and were figuring it out. I got to be curious about these questions with people I’d never had access to before. I got to honor and respect them in those traditions when it hadn’t been OK in my past.

What did you enjoy most about the experience? I enjoyed the spiritual leaders who visited. You get to sit with leaders in those traditions and ask questions, which was unique. I made a personal commitment to take the practices I found valuable back out into my life. The structure helped me create goals out in my world.

What are some things that you’ve changed in your life based on what you learned at Namaste? I have a meditation practice. I have a respect and gratitude practice. I have a much more open frame for spirit in my life. Beauty, awe, and joy are touchstones now, and I don’t think I would have said that when I came in to Namaste for the first time. Knowing that I am part of something greater than me now is a focus that wasn’t a way of how I viewed my experience before. That changes everything, really. A strengthened commitment to service came out of Namaste as well. I appreciate that service can be performed everywhere we go, in every experience, in every conversation I engage in, all through my day. I am in service by being present and curious and loving with other people.

What’s the impact on your life? Life is a lot more delicious. I have a sense of our common wisdom. We all are sages, and we all have something remarkable to contribute. That was profound. We are all threads in the fabric of life.

Why did you join the Namaste assist team? It is a gift to be able to spend that amount of time in this nurturing kind of inquiry and being held in a spiritually infused place. A lot of it is quiet. There are many moments where there isn’t a lot of frenzied energy. It is more enlivening than a laid-back, checked-out vacation. This is checked in. Ritual is really important for me and for the world I inhabit. I’ve come to understand the importance of ritual. The team comes together to create ritual, which is affirming and creative To make that offering to the other people inspired me to make space for ritual in my daily life, too.

What would you say to people that are “not into” spiritual stuff? How do you know? It’s not for any one sect or religion—it is a gentle holding place where you can get back in touch with you. It is kind of like a vacation. It’s a lot more fun than a silent retreat. There’s not a payoff, and that’s how it should be. This is more like a payback, taking you back to your source. From our own source we can more effectively be our human being-ness that we get in touch with in the other seminars. There is this unexplored place for many people. The ability to slow down, think, feel, and inquire with others is a rare opportunity.

Why would you encourage people to go? It’s great to be in the room with others where you can be on the path with people who are on very different paths at the same time. We are all seekers. These are not conversations you have with the guy sitting next to you on the bus. Unless you are part of an organized church or practice of some kind, no one convenes gatherings of people around spirituality very often. And certainly no one does it without a particular spiritual frame. This is really broader than that. So it’s a sweet convening of journeyers.

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