Feb 23, 2021
The yamas are an invitation to notice. To become aware of how our individual actions affect the collective, or others and how our actions impact ourselves. There are five yamas, or ethical guidelines that are universal to all paths. Ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (abstinence, moderation), aparigraha (non-posessivenest).
This week we will unpack satya, translated to mean truthfulness, honesty, integrity.
“Honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, government, and that deliberate deception, exaggerations, and mistruths harm others.”--Donna Farhi
This feels extra potent right now in the current political climate we are living in here in the United States. It is hard to find the truth. Lies have become such a normal part of how we communicate with one another. Many of us have closed ourselves off to the perspective of others and this has created so much division and so much misinformation. Some of it is intentional, by design. And due to information being spread so quickly through social media many of us find ourselves unsure of where to look to find the truth.
Satya invites us to be honest with ourselves about our body, be honest in how we speak to others, and also be honest in our thoughts. It’s a consistent practice of self-interrogation and the interrogation of the culture and ideologies that we are conditioned in. It's an invitation to be open to learn, to be honest when we make mistakes. It requires vulnerability.
It invites us to be in full relationship with who we are, where we came from, our conditioning, our ancestry, our shadow. There is no part of ourselves that we are not in relationship with.
As we investigate our own truth we must do so with the understanding that our truth is simply our perception of the world around us based on our conditioning. Every lived experience, action, thought, and sensation is filtered through our layers of conditioning. We interpret the world around us through our own unique lens, which includes our beliefs, fears, cravings, ideologies, etc.
So, the inquiry is always to ask if we are listening to multiple perspectives. To question how we perceive the world. To stay curious.
Satya has to happen in relationship to ahimsa. We must be honest with compassion. We must always balance self-compassion with self-inquiry. Especially when we are working to unlearn and disrupt our outdated beliefs about the world. Often times the way we have been taught is from the the dominant lens or perspective and as we begin to listen to the many other perspectives it can be quite painful to recognize that what we thought to be true is not, in fact true.
So, how do we put this into practice?
- Be truthful in thought, word, and action.
- Only tell the truth if you can be clear, kind, and compassionate. Ahimsa comes before satya.
- Stay open to hearing the truth from others’ perspectives.
- Before you speak up consider your intention and the impact speaking up my have on others. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Is it actually true? Is it necessary that I say this, at this time, to this person? Is it kind? Is it useful?
- It also asks us to stop lying to ourselves. Be true to who you are at your center. Begin to slowly untangle from the limiting beliefs and conditioning that may be keeping you in relationships, jobs, habits that are not serving your highest potential.
- Be honest about what your body needs. Do you need to rest? Do you need to set boundaries?
Commitment to truth is a practice. And it isn’t always easy. It sometimes requires us to make choices that are outside of what is seen as the norm. Honesty and integrity allow us to interact with the world more authentically and skillfully, which reduces suffering and leads to a life that feels full, free, and more joyful.
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Other Blog Posts
Mar 1, 2021
Stealing is more than taking someone else’s material goods. It’s taking others’ ideas and passing them off as your own, cultural appropriation, not honoring someone else’s boundaries, showing up late consistently, and taking advantage of other people's time, resources or generosity.
Feb 23, 2021
Satya invites us to be in full relationship with who we are, where we came from, our conditioning, our ancestry, our shadow. There is no part of ourselves that we are not in relationship with.
Feb 16, 2021
Ahimsa is translated to mean ‘non-harming’. Ahimsa asks us to actively resist harm. To acknowledge where there is harm and then working to undo that harm. It is acknowledging the impact of our own actions and working to repair when harm has been caused, regardless of intention.