Last time on Yoga Blog: We learned Ashtanga means “eight limbs” and yoga is not just moving and twisting. The first of those eight limbs is yama and the first yama is ahimsa. Which means non-harming. Feel free to reread the ahimsa post or read it for the first time. You could also find a copy of “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” and start your journey to Yoga now. “Atha Yoganusasanam.”
On to the second yama.
Satya! Truthfulness. The truth, actual, genuine, honesty are all translations of satya. I love looking up the meanings to Sanskrit words. Many times one word can be used in so many contexts. Different but wholly related. I am by no means a learned person of Sanskrit so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt but satya can also have the meanings of reality, dogma, oath, promise. All words with a need for truth in their meanings. Most of them dealing with a certain truth you have to uphold in yourself. Be true to yourself, to your nature. This is about to get a bit personal, just a warning. I thought I was a truthful person. I learned not to tell lies but in doing so taught myself to not speak. Holding back on words and just making sounds that could be an agreement just to get out of having to engage in a conversation and hopefully making the person feel good about what they just said. Definitely not showing my true feelings. I fill myself with these feelings that I would never allow freedom. Giving so many people a false reading that I agree with them. Making people think I heard or understood them when all I wanted was to not engage and dwell in my dark ball of repression. Lying to them with silence and a head nod. Throwing out the occasional false “Yup.” All lies, mostly to myself. And where has it gotten me? To a point that I have forgotten myself. I speak no lies but don’t know my truths. Depression arose. Society became frightful. Imagination wavers. I have lost myself trying to please others. Then learn that trying to please everyone but myself does not work and if I am happy most likely the people I care about would be happy as well. But who am I? Somewhere beneath the stacks of untold truths I must be. No more lies. They bring ruin and collapse. Lies are weak and full of cracks. Building a life atop such an unstable surface is destined to crumble. The root system of satya can grow true life. One of unclouded meaning and happiness. Enough happiness to spread amongst the world.
Lying is not just telling work you’re sick when you’re not. Lying is a mask that can be used to hide behind and die behind alone. Not that satya gives us permission to go forth and ritacuel all we see with truth. It is to be a glowing pilar that can be visited when a friend needs some perspective. An employee that can be trusted with the keys. A different opinion that can take time to listen, understand where the other is coming from, and continue the conversation.
Reality is actual. An oath should keep you honest. A promise is only taken when you can keep it’s truths. Don’t lie and everything you say will be true.
We need to be true to ourselves. Even if it means killing loved ones in war, says the Bhagavad Gita. It is a great section of a great tale. Eighteen chapters of satya.
You’ll need satya. Satya is what you need.
Speak truths when it is called for. Think truths to learn. Be your true-self or work on it and try to find it. It’s not always easy. But there are others around to help if you are willing to let some of your truth free. Be well, stay true, see you next time on Yoga blog and the yamas continue.
Next Time: Asteya