What is in a Name?
Your parents name you and your friends give you nicknames. Perhaps you marry and change your name. Your name is your label that everyone attaches to you. There are books about names for new parents to select the 'future' of their new child with this label. You might discuss how you are like your star sign, but do you consider the effect that saying your name has on you?
When Your Parents Pick Your 'Given Name'
As I walked down King Charles Street in London it arose that 'Charles' is not a fortuitous name for a royal male given the history of King Charles I & II, and Prince Charles's current lack of thrown. Did Queen Elizabeth II name her son Charles in the knowledge that he would never be King of England for long, or at all? When a parent selects their child's name you hope that they envisage a great future for their child.
For the remainder of your life, you might keep the name your parents chose for you. There may be nicknames along the way, but perhaps you keep that name they chose. How much time do you consider your name and its qualities, values and what it represents? When every time it is said to you, it resonates a chord, a sound, an energy within you of who you are at all levels of your existence.
The Family Name
Surnames are often a different game. They are your inheritance and family tree - the bloodroots to who you are and the ancestral lines you sow. But they do not have to be this. Perhaps you change your name at marriage to show your commitment to your partner, or because you just like their family name more. Maybe, you keep your name because you are a feminist - or maybe you both compromise to a double-barrelled name.
In my family there was a time when everyone had a different surname - my mum, dad, sister, step-mum, step-dad and step-sisters, and myself - that was 10 different surnames! For many years none of us shared that final name. Did it show we were in some way disconnected? Do you become rootless without a surname?
Is it Important?
Yes and No. It is your identity in this lifetime, so it is your egoic self. It may have been given to you from a glance at seeing your soul when you were born or a feeling of who you would become. It is the encasement of your soul in this lifetime, where the ego meets your larger purpose. For me - it is both important and unimportant.
I chose my name. My family wrote many names on my birth certificate, but as a toddler, my strong sense of self shone through. I insisted on being called 'NID'. It was all I ever responded to until my mid-twenties.
I adopted a sensible name as a lawyer. It distanced me from others, I built a wall that divided the real me from the rational world of my work. If I liked my colleagues, I would invite them into my real name - NID. It was important because it was cherished and my true sense of self in this name.
What does your name mean?
What you feel like inside and out. You can seek a definition and learn about its origins to see if it strikes a chord with you. Google tells me that 'NID' can mean:
Network Interface Device, French for nest, Never In Doubt, No IDentity, or that in Thai 'Nid Noi' means a little amount
NID is just me. My name reminds me to be free, happy, adventurous, push the limits, explore, expand, nudge, feel sensations and share peace with love. To ensure that I am Never In Denial about who I am or what I stand for in this world.
I recently changed my family name to Ra. Several months of contemplation over this and it just happened. The initial jokey connection to yoga and my universal recommendation for yoga nidra was much deeper felt. As I explored what 'Ra' meant, it became more appropriate to make this shift.
RA is the Egyptian God of Sun. I love the sun! That midday hot sun is strong energises me and stirs the drive! Associated with the masculine and fire, I cannot question my strong drive and approach for firey transformations of change in my life. A name associated with leaders and those unafraid to speak out, create change and impact the larger world, it probably quite suits my humble goals to hide in a jungle on an island!
Your Name is the Space Between
It is the combination of what NidRa means to me. That form of healing yoga that has contributed so much to change me and my life. A deep state of the mind that is asleep and not asleep - the bridge between our conscious, subconscious and unconscious. It brings me peace to have this name. It is a place and space inside my heart, where I feel my heartbeat and can be guided by my soul for my happiest life.
Your name should be all of you and not your identity. It should bridge the gap of your current personality for this lifetime and your larger purpose. Your name is for your conscious and unconscious to weave a magical life for you to live. It is the space between your names. The silence that falls after your name is said.
Just like the silence after 'OM' or 'AUM' is hummed in yoga - your name is where the polarities of all that you are unified. Like when you look at the vast expanse of the universe or into the deep bottomless oceans - that indescribable something that connects us all. When you drop into the fullest expression of union and discover that it becomes nothing.
It is the infinite and indescribable experience of your Divine Self meeting you in this lifetime. Your name is all that you are in this moment. Say it with love and be open to all that you truly are.