By Leena Patel
Jan 24, 2017: Satya the Sanskrit word for truth, is an important yogic practice to be incorporated into our lives if we like to advance forward on our spiritual path. The word satya is derived from sat, which means ‘being’. So when we are not being truthful, we can also say we are not being. In other words, we are not living our authentic Self.
Being guided by truth is the most fruitful route to living a life that is as harmonious and tension free as possible. It is challenging because it requires us to delve deep into our hearts and take the path, which requires courage and faith.
We resort to little white lies because we believe that we alone are experiencing pain, suffering or anxiety. We think we are unique in our oddities, our passions, and our failures. We fear being judged or not understood by others. We don’t want to be a burden. Whatever the reason, we present an image that is distorted, and in doing so, we face separation from others.
By practicing satya, we bring integrity to our lives. As a result, our relationships flourish and our lives flow with grace and ease. We begin to deeply honour who we really are and invite the best and highest part of ourselves to shine. It is the highest good for us and the Earth because in observing these keys we are creating the very reality that we wish to live in, a world that brings out the best in each of us, based on clarity and connection with all beings everywhere.
Awaken your inner truth by taking time out of the day to be still
Incorporate silence, meditation or prayer into your daily life. Practicing inner stillness is an incredible tool through which we learn that we can transform ourselves simply through listening to our inner wisdom and then acting upon that awareness. When you quiet the internal dialogue of the mind, you connect with the deepest part of your being and clarity and insight emerges.
Stay present with your actual experience of being; your current truth
The present is what it is. To stay present requires that you let go of all preconceptions and expectations that you have of yourself, and instead, pay attention to what you feel at a soul level when you turn your attention inwards. Do not be bound by habits and thought patterns of the past that no longer apply or are no longer beneficial for your happiness and wellbeing. Ask yourself what is resonating in you right now. What solution or answer emerges from the depths of your being when you ask your inner self the question that you need answering?
Offer no resistence to the truth as you are experiencing it
Sometimes we feel what the truth is, yet we fail to act upon it. Resistance will not somehow make it go away. In fact, it creates energy of its own and this energy becomes more disturbing than that which you were trying to ignore or push away. Accept the truth that arises within you totally and completely so that you can appreciate it and grow from it. You feel what you feel. There is a divine intelligence that has brought you to this specific thought, this exact physical response. Don?t struggle against the flow of the Universe; instead, merge with it.
Be fearless in sharing your truth
Strip away the layers of pretenses, embellishment, rationalisation, minimisation and omission that are used as a matter of convenience in order to avoid confronting what needs to be brought out into the open. Even though it may be hurtful in the short term, we want the truth from others and others want it from us.
Recognise that your perceptions are sometimes judgments and are not the same as truth
Often we state an opinion (that person or that dress is ugly) as if it is a fact. Pay attention to the choices you make in describing your beliefs so that they are not mistaken by others as the absolute truth. Be conscious of using words that do not impose right or wrong, good or bad on situations that just are. No one person can claim access to the ultimate truth. Speaking as if you alone are right implies that the other person is wrong. This kind of reasoning cuts off under-standing and stops the flow of love by creating separation from others.
Let go of your need for approval from others
We often turn to others for advice more frequently than we listen within. Talking to others does not absolve us of the responsibility of heeding our truth. Keep in mind that anything anyone says to you is often more about themselves than it is about you. Therefore, in the final moment, be guided by the inner promptings of the heart rather than living your life according to other people?s truths or their definition of your truth. We can only surrender to the truth as we see it and we are ultimately responsible for the choices that we make. Do not let your self-worth be limited by people?s perceptions of who they think you are. Be your own judge of what you are worth.
Use your hatha yoga practice as a means to listen to your body and be guided by your inner teacher
All too often, I witness beginners getting close to achieving a pose and in the final moment using muscle power and force to push the body into a place that it is not yet ready for. Practicing satya during asana requires humility; otherwise, the ego intervenes and your asana practice becomes just another means of avoiding yourself much like television or drugs. Of course, this is not to undermine effort. You need a certain amount of firmness, otherwise the pose lacks vigour. However, do not become so distracted by the tightness of your hamstrings or the challenge of achieving that picture perfect pose that you avoid listening to what your body is telling you. If your body sends a signal of physical or motional discomfort, back off. If you feel steadiness and ease, or the kind of difficulty that which, by overcoming will lead to your growth, proceed, but proceed gently. The question of when to yield and when to push is key both in asana and in life. Through regular practice you build strength and flexibility, but more importantly, you cultivate a self-awareness. You connect with your inner truth. As you cultivate this on your mat, so too, can you begin to cultivate it in your daily life.
Do not be less than what you are
Being truthful sometimes requires us to get out of the comfort zone and challenge our ideas about ourselves and what we are capable of. Pay attention to the chatter of the mind, the old audiotapes that have been playing in your head in the form of the endless array of excuses that prevent you from the possibility of experiencing profound transformation ??I am not good enough/ strong enough/ able enough/ thin enough/ young enough. I have weak ankles, tight hips, short hamstrings…? None of these are true and all of them are limiting, so refrain from selling yourself short and undermining your abilities. Your truth is that you are a worthy human being; worthy of respect, worthy of self-love, worthy of the blessings that have been bestowed upon you. Feel how liberating this realisation is.
Replace violence with speech and behaviours that arise out of love and kindness for others
Gandhiji stated “a perfect vision of truth can only follow a complete realisation of ahimsa.” Understand that the purpose of observing truth is to deepen our connection with others, not to create separation. Therefore, observing satya requires that you be honest about what you see and think and feel, without intentionally harming others. If I tell a friend she looks awful in her new dress, my words do not reflect truth because they do not flow from a place of love, they come from a place of judgment. Without sensitivity and compassion, telling the truth carries with it the grain of self-righteousness. Without love, both the message and the messenger will be rejected.
Act from a place of truth even when you think no one is looking or you think the result is of no consequence
Your environment is a reflection of your inner world. Thus, acting from a place of untruth when you know in your heart that you are being dishonest, creates the energy for that untruth to manifest back into your life. You draw others to you who are in that same life state and so the struggle to end suffering becomes all the more challenging. Speaking your truth attracts truth because you support and inspire those around you to act from that place within them as well. Yoga teaches us that we are all connected, all pulsating with the same life force. Therefore living your truth has a direct impact not only on your immediate environment, but also on the world on a global level. You cannot change what is true, but abiding in your truth just might change you.
Leena Patel teaches yoga and meditation in Las Vegas. She has travelled around the US, Canada and Western Europe as personal yoga teacher to Celine Dion, and now shares her teachings with the cast of ‘A New Day…’