Is everything really wonderful, exciting, and amazing? These words have become daily expressions for describing the way everyone is always feeling, apparently. If I can test the waters here, I would say that these expressions falsely elevate our experience. We get lost in making sure that we inject one of those words into our speech, securing ourselves in the approval rating of the listener…who in turn is mentally preparing to use one of those words in response. When we elevate our experience, our feet are left dangling above the ground, we’ve got nothing to stand on; ironically, this elevation debases our reality.
In this culture of being “nice” and “excited” all the time, we undermine trust and we whittle away any kind of real purpose. And the lack of alignment is exhausting. To be true to anything, we need to know why we’re doing it. Without defining it, we’re lost in murkiness that allows our intention to shift and change according to what we think in the moment. This removes the truth from any purpose in our intention because we’ve become misaligned. We need to know and to define, the intention of our practice, through being aligned in thought, speech, and action.
The practice of Satya brings that clarity of our purpose, and becomes the definition for everything.
Satya (truthfulness) is tied very closely to Sankalpa. In fact, the two words within Sankalpa are: “Sat” being truth, and “Kalpa” being a long period of time. So, a Sankalpa is like making a vow toward that which keeps us on our path (our defined purpose). We cannot do this without the clarity of Satya. When we can deeply feel our Sankalpa, we’re tied to the unchanging truth of it…its unchanging nature is due to its connection to our Dharmic path. Once we can feel that aim, we sense that we must stay true to it, we know that we cannot waiver, and Satya then becomes a natural part of our lives.
We raise our quality of purpose and we raise our quality of life, when we can clearly perceive our Sankalpa, because we make choices that are aligned. We begin to live by reality as is meant for us, and what we want deeply in our lives becomes known to us. The desire to fulfill that means that Satya really becomes quite effortless. We lose that sense of our approval rating and we just stay true to being true…because we know what’s right. This doesn’t mean we are careless in our choices that might impact others; in fact, it’s the opposite. When we make choices aligned by our intention, we gain a sensitivity toward creating as little harm as possible, toward self and others. It is not a carelessness.
And so you see, even though Satya is the second of the Yamas, this external restraint really brings about internal transformation, it links us to our personal path, and it touches an internal depth and awareness. Satya is far deeper than “I cannot tell a lie”, Satya reaches into, “I cannot be misaligned”. It is through Satya that we learn to trust ourselves; and it demonstrates to others that we are trustworthy, that we’re capable of sustaining and holding an authentic space…not only within ourselves but in receiving other people in the same way. Others then know where they stand with us. This is a huge gift to give another. When we gain this confidence of trusting ourselves to be ourselves, we become more generous with who we are…because we don’t fear who we are. That vow to our Dharmic path becomes something we lean in to.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com
*image credits: top: famedubai; bottom: blackswan