Today we explore the 2nd Yama of the Yoga Sutras: Satya or "Truthfulness". "Sat" in Sanskrit means more than Truth; it also means "Purity", "True Essence", "Unchanging" - beyond distortion. This is a powerful one. When we look around us at the words that fly around social media, the news, television, political debates....It seems we could all use some practice with Satya! Satya means much more than just speaking truthfully but also acting and living truthfully. When you think about it, it's easy to see how this also relates back to the first Yama: Ahimsa. When we are being truthful, we are "not harming" others or ourselves. "In order to practice truthfulness, we must first develop the ability to discern what "truth" is. This involves attuning to our authentic being beyond the conditioning of the personality. Until we are able to listen to the voice of our true being, our words may reflect what we believe, but our beliefs are usually just a reflection of our lens of conditioning. As we align with our authentic being...we are able to commmunicate more clearly and authentically." ("Mudras for Healing and Transformation" by Joseph and Lillian LePage, p. 188)
How can we align with our "authentic selves" and be more truthful - not only with others but with ourselves?
We can practice Satya by being mindful of our actions and words. By stopping and listening to our inner voice and examining our thoughts before speaking instead of acting on our emotions and thoughts in the moment, we can pause and examine what is truly motivating us. A daily practice of meditation, even for just a few moments can help us observe our actions and behavior and move towards a state of peacefulness and stillness of the mind. Try this practice for a week or a month - and see if you notice change in your own life. Take a few moments in the morning to find a comfortable seat and quiet your mind. Try placing your hands in Samputa Mudra - Cupping the left hand at the navel, facing upwards, and cupping the right hand over the leftso that the right fingers rest on the outer border of the left thumb, creating a hollow space within the hands. Relax your shoulders back and down. Samputa mudra "awakens us to the treasure of our true inner being, instilling a natural sense of integrity, allowing us to communicate our truth more clearly." (Mudras for Healing and Transformation") Close your eyes and come to stillnes. You might choose to use a mantra, such as "Sat Nam" ("My name is truth") to help focus your mind, repeating this mantra over and over out loud or to yourself. Or, you might just focus on your breath - noticing your inhale, pausing and noticing your exhale. Choose a time you can commit to on a daily basis - whether it is as short as 5 or 10 minutes or as long as 20 minutes. Be consistent in your daily practice. Notice if you begin to see change in how you act and react with others. The more you become attuned to your own inner voice, aligned with your "authentic self", the more natural the practice of Satya becomes. According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: “To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient.”