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The Power of a Name

Updated on May 1, 2013

What's in a Name?

Most of us use the names we were given at birth. Women then typically, but not always, change their names at marriage. These customs vary according to cultural and personal values. For example, some couples hyphenate their last names.

But what if we go deeper? What if we choose a name for ourselves?

This article could also inspire you when you are choosing names for your children.

What is the value of choosing your own name? Consider this: A name is something to live up to.

The Buddha is a name that means "The Awakened One." It was given to Gotama Shakyamuni 2550 years ago, and he accepted it.
The Buddha is a name that means "The Awakened One." It was given to Gotama Shakyamuni 2550 years ago, and he accepted it. | Source

Inspire Yourself With a Name

In some spiritual and religious traditions, we are given new names. For example, on my journey in Zen Buddhism, I've received four names. Each of them has been extremely powerful. And I've used each of them by seeing them as something to live up to.

My Buddhist names are: Clear Truth; Heart of the Heart; True Full Taste of Awakening; and Eternal Spring.

Each day, I can ask myself:

  • Am I living in integrity, so the Truth clearly shines through me?
  • Am I loving all that is, transforming my heart and being to pure Love from the very core?
  • Have I carried Awakening (Buddha) to the very depth and breadth of my being?
  • Am I allowing myself to be a presence, an environment, a season, in which all can be reborn new and beautiful?

Asking those questions, I use my name like a tuning fork. My name is a tuning fork, and I am a violin and also the violinist, tuning myself.

A tuning fork gives a pure, clear sound, but it is not very beautiful. But the tuning fork guides the violinist to tune the beautiful, complex violin to the right starting place, so all it's richness and beauty can sing out true.

My wife and I missed an opportunity over 25 years ago. As we were getting married, we considered taking on a new last name together: Wordsmith. We didn't want to fight that battle with parents and society, and we stepped back.

But we are Wordsmiths. Now, after 25 years of marriage, we are coming out as Wordsmiths, writing and publishing more and more. I think we might have done it a lot sooner if we'd given ourselves the name. It would have been a reminder to sing true to who we are, and not let our voices get drowned out in the confusion and noise of the world.

And now, we are affirming ourselves. I am a Wordsmith. My wife is a Wordsmith.

What name inspires you to be true to your Highest Self?


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