As we continue exploring the yoga philosophies known as yamas, this week we turn our attention toward the principle of truthfulness, known as Satya in Sanskrit. In essence, Satya means communicating what one understands to be true.
At a deeper level, truthfulness asks one to live with integrity to the life that longs to be lived from the depth of one’s being. This can also be described as living true to the self; which is often in direct contrast to what might be required of one to be accepted, fit in, or be liked. When faced with truth, we are often asked to make a difficult choice.
Dishonesty, the opposite of truthfulness, can take many forms. You may give your word that you will do something for a friend or colleague, and then not follow through. One can also be dishonest with oneself. I often lie to myself about time, which results in overscheduling, frustration and stress.
Author Nicolai Bachman describes truthfulness as “occurring when our thoughts, words and actions are consistent with one another.” This alignment encourages the results we expect will come to fruition. When not in alignment, one is less likely to experience the desired outcomes. For example, you may think, “I need to save money to buy a new car,” and say to yourself and others, “I will save money for a new car by cutting out extra expenses.” If you then follow through with your intention of saving money, you are practicing Satya. If you don’t modify your spending habits, you are unlikely to meet your goal of buying a new car.
It is believed that when Satya is practiced with nonviolence (Ahimsa), the remaining yamas become much easier to follow. When Satya and Ahimsa are followed together, the result is transparent, honest, appropriate and supportive communication.
In applying the concept of Satya to your personal self-care, I offer the following questions for reflection:
- When do you tend to be inconsistent with our thoughts/feelings, words and actions?
- What might your life look like if you were willing to connect with truthfulness in every moment?
Tune in next week as we examine Asteya, nonstealing.