Mid-October Focus: Satya (truthfulness)

Another exploration of Yoga Philosophy from Sonya Kuropatwa:

SATYA, one of the ethical guidelines of yoga, asks us to live in truth. SATYA, in a word, is truthfulness… the virtue of being in alignment with reality and therefore free from falsehood and distortion.

The question of truthfulness is in the news more today than in any other time in recent memory. We are bombarded with ideas, reports, and opinions from so many different sources with so many different agendas it can be hard to know fact from fiction. One need look no further than  television, radio, or social media to see the confusion and contradictions prevalent there. We sift through the daily onslaught in search of items that have the distinct ring of truth, but our capacity to accurately recognize truth can grow dull in the face of misinformation, obfuscation, and inaccuracy.

Simultaneously and yet in stark contrast, people who are weary from oppression, mistreatment, and ignorance are growing bold and more empowered to stand up for themselves and others by speaking long-stifled truth. We’re hearing brave voices speak out in social media campaigns like #metoo, #ibelieveyou, #itgetsbetter, #youareenough, and #neverthelessshepersisted (among countless others) as a way to take back their voices from those who might otherwise benefit from their silence. They have chosen to live truth out loud even when it means revisiting pain and fear and inviting difficult conversations. This is the practice of SATYA.

SATYA asks that we rid ourselves of thoughts, words, and deeds that steer us away from truth. What SATYA doesn’t do is tell us what truth is, where to find it, or how to practice it. So, how do begin to tune into our own truth? How do we discover what we stand for? How do we bring the confusion we encounter in the world to the heart in order to filter the wheat from the chaff?

Simply put, we must inquire within. To practice truthfulness, we train ourselves to understand and accept what our individual truth looks like, what it needs to thrive, and what thoughts, words, and deeds diminish its integrity.

Some Helpful Suggestions:

  • Practice meditation …as a way of clearing the mental and emotional noise that can drown out what really matters to you.
  • Practice yoga …either in a class or on your own, as a way of moving into a deeper relationship with your body and the truths it has to tell.
  • Get creative …paint, dance, sing, write, or whatever it is that allows your truth to find a voice. Do this without judgement or expectation.
  • Show up just as you are …free from any need to know more than you know, believe something you don’t believe, or pretend to lack the hardships that challenge you.
  • Ask the tough questions …and give space and time for clarity to arrive on its own.

Here are a few of those questions to help you get started:

  • What does it mean for me to speak my truth?
  • Why do I value honesty?
  • How do I seek for truth?
  • What does integrity mean to me?
  • Is there a substitute for truth?
  • What value do I find in being free from distortion and falsehood?
  • How do deceptive words and deeds affect my relationships with others and myself?
  • What secrets do I keep?
  • What truth have I failed to admit to myself or to others?
  • Who am I protecting with falsehood?
  • What in me needs to be acknowledged or spoken?

“Truth is the same always. Whoever ponders it will get the same answer. Buddha got it. Patanjali got it. Jesus got it. Mohammed got it. The answer is the same, but the method of working it out may vary this way or that.” -Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras