Honor offers tribute to the Divine spark of light within our souls. Through honor, we consciously acknowledge that we as human beings are gifted with a potential to be more than a body that solely eats, sleeps, procreates, and eventually dies. Latent within our souls are possibilities of magnificence: the virtues. Numerous virtues companion the expression of the attribute of honor. When we give our word of honor, we also activate commitment. When we earn academic honors, a choice of excellence has been made. When our behaviors are honorable, self-discipline has come to the forefront of our consciousness. When we surrender to the All-knowing presence of the Divine, we learn that our true reality is to know and to love God through the signs, names, and attributes of our One Creator.
I learned to honor the divine essence of light within the soul in the early 1970’s when I enrolled in my first class in the hatha form of yoga. After an hour of stretching and releasing through specific postures paired with the breath, the class would complete with an utterance of Namaste. I was taught an English translation of this Sanskrit word: “The light that is within me honors the light that is within you.” The teacher would place her palms together and slightly bow to the class as she uttered Namaste. We, the class, would likewise bow to the teacher with palms together and respond with Namaste. The intention of the word Namaste as well as the posture deepened awe and reverence in me for the light within our souls and its heavenly source.
I frequently observe birds and various animals such as dogs, cats, prairie dogs, and horses in a posture of stillness as they quietly face the rising or setting sun. Through the teaching of Namaste, I wonder if the members of the animal kingdom carry an instinctive sense of honoring their earthly source of warmth and light. During the summer nights, I am drawn outside by the night’s beauty and coolness. During the August harvest time, our sunflowers are like tall guardians on the edges of our garden. They face the moonlight and turn their bright faces toward the moon as it travels its nightly path. They, too, seem to pay homage to the light.
The virtue of honor helps me remember that I can achieve more than a life based solely on bodily instincts. It also reminds me to appreciate the sacredness of every human being because each of us has all of the attributes of the Creator nestled within our souls. When I honor the light emanating from another being, I am also honoring my own soul and the Source of all light and love.