We are working with understanding more about Satya – Truthfulness, the second Yama.
This is the ability to be truthful, honest and transparent in words, thoughts and actions. Satya is a self-restraint in taking responsibility and accountability of our humanity and determining what is motivating how and what we communicate. Sometimes what is motivating us to share words with one another is the Kleshas, mental-emotional afflictions which corrupt our perception.
Sometimes we may be ignorant of our dishonesty or not hold the full truth and share half truths – Avidya. This dishonesty might be because of our egoism of wanting to be right, seen, a part of or special – Asmita. There might be an attachment to the subject manner we want – Raga. Or we are avoiding something we don’t want – Dvesa. Or are afraid of what the truth holds – Abinivesha. These are all the 5 Kleshas distorting the truth.
So to practice Satya, I would suggest pausing when communicating, self-reflecting and discerning whether what you want to share is, to the best of your knowledge, the truth. It says that the truth will always serve a greater purpose if it is noble and honest.
This Yama is stating that the use of the truth should not be used to inflict harm, hence Ahimsa comes before Satya, as Satya (Truthfulness) prevents Ahimsa (Non-Violence) from being a doormat and Ahimsa prevents Satya from being a weapon. Weaponising the truth creates drama, pain and disharmony affecting all involved.
There is a good acronym THINK to help determine whether what you want to say is non-harming and/or productive.
T: Is it thoughtful?
H: Is it helpful?
I: Is it inspiring?
N: Is it necessary?
K: Is it kind?
This is one way to practice…
Like the old saying, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. There is such a thing called Noble Silence, just as long as it is honest or are you withholding to punish…
You can see how Ahimsa and Satya really go together to create better communication for positive and kind outcomes. Ultimately the reason why we are practicing this is to affect our Dharmic karma and be in relationship with the world around us, to know and trust ourselves within it. To learn better ways of communicating and relating, shaping our lives and future lives so we can grow, live and love more fully. To apply this in practice, carry Ahimsa into every pose and honestly reflect on how you are using the Asana, the breath and the mind in practice.
Be truthful to yourself. Humbly let go and remain open, curious and willing to be truthful and see what arises as an opportunity to practice, Satya.
Two prayers asking for help and honestly handing over our lives in the care of our practice:
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya
“Lead me from the unreal to the real
From darkness (ignorance) to light (knowledge)
From death to immortality”
OM BHUR BHUVAH SWAHA
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BHARGO DEVASYA DHI MAHI
DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAT
“Earth, Ether, Cosmos, let the most Divine Light guide my thoughts, intellect and intuition. “