Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Satya – Truthfulness: the second of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Satya – Truthfulness
What does truthfulness mean to you? How are you truthful? How are you not?
Satya is the second Yamas and it means “Truthfulness”. Being truthful in our thoughts, deeds and actions is the basic precept of Satya. I find the correlation between Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truthfulness) very intriguing. For example, we all know that one person that is praised for “telling it like it is”. Sometimes they are unkind in their delivery and that causes harm. The goal is to be truthful without doing harm. I know I struggle with this because I can be very blunt. But by having the awareness of Satya, I am finding the balance in telling the truth but doing no harm. Of course people will interpret your actions and words through their own filter, but as long as your own intention is pure and unselfish, their lesson is their own and you hold no responsibility for that. Carefully choosing your words with thought and compassion or even choosing to remain silent at time
The word “sat” literally translates as “true essence” or “true nature”. It also means “unchangeable”. ‘that which has no distortion’, ‘that which is beyond distinctions of time, space and person’, and ‘reality’.
Satya also means being truthful with ourselves. It means looking in the mirror and being able to distinguish those things in our lives that are ever changing (our emotions, irrational thoughts, perceptions) and being able to see past them and focus on the unchangeable truth. This means to focus on responding to situations rather than reacting.
Feeding our egos to the point of injury or pain is not conducive to Satya. How many times do we push ourselves in life because we think we “should” be able to do something? By listening to our bodies and being aware of our breath we are able to let go of our egos and accept where we are right now in this moment. Embracing that is embracing the essence of Satya.
Truth is righteousness. Righteousness is light, and light is bliss. Ahimsa, Brahmacharya, purity, justice, harmony, forgiveness, peace are forms of truth... Truth stands even when there is no public support. Swami Sivananda, Bliss Divine
Working to become more aware of our beliefs and constructs, our perceptions and judgments (and it is work, my friends, hard work, constant work…work done in this moment and the next) will lead us closer to truth.
Expressing our desires clearly and concisely is another way we can practice Satya. For example, you have a friend and that friend hasn’t contacted you in a while. You become angry or upset. You start to make judgements and assumptions. When they come, acknowledge them. And immediately invite in the opposite of your assumptions. Maybe they are sick? Distracted? Busy? Most likely it has nothing to do with you. Now, get the heart of your emotions. Do you miss your friend? Pick up the phone, and just simply say, I miss you. Let’s get together on x day. Clear and concise, minus all the emotional constructs.
Challenging your personal judgments and negative self-talk is another way you can embrace Satya. The other day I am talking to a person looking for a job. I suggested they apply to a company I knew that was hiring. Immediately this person launches into negative self-talk and constructs built on a past experience. “They don’t want me…”, “I applied before and they didn’t hire me because…”. But if you let go of your self-limiting ideas and just “do” without judgement of yourself or the situation, the truth is you don’t know what might happen or what door may open. Just DO…and don’t tie yourself to the outcome. When we overthink our minds make up stories, they chatter on and on and take us on a wild ride. We tie ourselves to the shadows of the past when the past no longer exists. Don’t let your mind hold you in bondage. Just do, and don’t tie yourself or self-worth to the result. If you apply and get the job, great. If you don’t great.
Think about other ways you can incorporate Satya into your daily lives, your thoughts and actions, words and deeds.

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