In our very first yoga class, we learn an important word: Namaste. This simple ending of the class actually symbolizes a very complex dynamic—my soul honors your soul. When we take a bow of gratitude and say Namaste, we actively acknowledge that all of our souls are connected, and we are unified in our experience in this world.
Science has been able to prove that even an indirect connection to others can impact their lives. Researchers found the happiness of an individual is associated with the happiness of people that extend up to three degrees of separation—meaning one’s friends’ friends’ friends. Our actions create an energy that vibrates through the world and influences the lives it reaches. Even the smallest moments or briefest interactions with other people can drastically impact our lives and the lives of others. When we are able to recognize this force, we begin to understand that our soul exists beyond ourselves.
Consider the circumstances that needed to align for you to meet your best friend. If you met your friend at college for example, think of array of experiences that happened in each of your lives to choose that college. You first decided on a field of study, which was probably influenced by what you learned and enjoyed in school. Then you looked for specific colleges with that major, in addition to other factors you deemed important when choosing a college, such as cost, location, and size. You might have been rejected from your top choice school to end up where you did. Hundreds of other little instances just like these led you to make your decision. When you finally arrived on campus, there were dozens of opportunities to meet people, whether in class or clubs, but somehow you and your best friend managed to come across each other’s paths.
Reflecting on all of the people and the experiences, both negative and positive, that had to take place in order to for us to meet our best friend, allows us to see how intertwined our souls are to the world and people around us. Connecting with our soul requires that we see the way the universe has shaped our existence. We must step back from our experiences, even the most simplistic ones or those that have caused us heartache, and become open to the meaning behind them.
In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the main character, Eddie, learns how connected we are. When Eddie dies, he travels through the five stages of heaven, meeting someone who has significantly impacted his life or vice versa. But Eddie does not recognize the first person he meets—a man named Joseph. When Eddie asks the man who he is, Joseph explains that when Eddie was young, he threw a baseball that hit the windshield of a driver, causing a car crash, which resulted in the his death. From this, Eddie learns his first lesson of his journey. “That there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”
When we acknowledge each person we come across is connected to ourselves, and all of life’s moments contribute to a greater purpose, we are able to see our souls in everything that makes up this expansive universe.