Satya - What does it mean to emanate truthfulness?
Updated: Jun 19, 2020
On the face of it, truthfulness is a pretty simple concept to understand and embody. Don’t lie. Always telling people the truth, being open to sharing your true thoughts and feelings and acting in a way that is in line with your values. Being true to what you have people believe about you, even when you’re behind closed doors; the opposite of hypocrisy. This alone is a great principle to live by, in a world focused on your “best bits” being honest and open makes it okay to not be perfect and to experience the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Satya can be explored in much more depth.
The second of the Yamas (the first of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, the code of conduct of how to “do good” in the world- the first is Ahimsa), Satya is meant to be a step along the path to become a better, more enlightened yogi. Satya is usually translated to “absolute truth” but can also be translated to “true nature” or “true essence”, this means that satya is more than just avoiding lies. This concept involves the discovery of your True nature, the part inside of you that is unchangeable, that is not affected by your mood or beliefs, the light inside everybody that is honoured in our Namaste.
How do you find your True Nature?
I can’t claim to be an expert, but this is what I have learnt and experienced so far on my yoga journey.
“Sat” in sanskrit means “that which is unchangeable” so to find our true essences we have to find the part within us that doesn’t change.
Think of all the thoughts that have passed through your head already today, all the emotions you’ve felt today and this week so far, think of all the aspirations you’ve had for the future. All of these things change. Are ever changing. If our true self is unchangeable then it isn’t our thoughts or emotions. WE ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS. So we need to pay less attention to our thoughts, take them less seriously, and less literally. Keep our thoughts in perspective.
So if we want to find our True Nature, we need to quieten our thoughts and find the stillness within us.
One way we can do this is through mediation. You may want to start off by focusing on your breathing as this is a natural, constant anchor, into the present moment. Once your mind starts to quieten and still, focus on the stillness. This feeling of stillness is the feeling of sitting as your true nature. It can be really hard to find this space; it takes a lot of practice and dedication to be able to mediate deeply and for a long time so don’t worry if you feel distracted when you meditate or find it hard. Some days I find it really hard too. Just try to have patience with yourself and show yourself kindness.
Another way you can practice Staya is by exploring your current perception of who you are, take a moment to make a list of titles you’d give yourself. For example, mine would be: I am a Yoga teacher, I am a sister, I am a friend, I am a student, etc. For each title, ask yourself whether you would still exist if you weren’t that thing, if you would, cross it off. If I didn’t teach yoga I would still exist so my true nature doesn’t lie in that… You’ll notice how none of your titles define you. Maybe think about what is left of what makes you you if you weren’t these titles, this could be your true nature.
Satya is a very complex and very difficult concept, I’ve only scratched the surface.
Take time to meditate on and explore these ideas of truthfulness and how you can be true to yourself, in whatever form that could be.
Stay true to you!
If you have found this blog post on one of the Yamas interesting, why not check out my 5 Week Yoga Course on the Yamas, including 10 live private classes: https://www.floga.org/yoga-courses