yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn
The yamas and niyamas are the first two steps in yoga and are the underlying principles around which we can build our lives. Their depth reveals itself as we work with them.
There are so many shades of being truthful, of allowing ourselves to be known. We sometimes aren’t truthful with ourselves and others because we feel if people really knew who we are that they would reject us. This leads to all sorts of untruthfulness ranging from outright lies to image manipulation to trying to control situations so we get fed. We don’t feel truly loved because we never felt truly known.
Most of us ‘put our best foot forward’, especially at work and in new relationships. How many of us have struggled with something in yoga class and pretended it’s okay? What expectations do we hold ourselves to? Ahimsa (non-harming) needs to come first.
Satya begins inside. If we’re judging and condemning ourselves then we can’t face the truth. We put a lot of energy into deflecting other people telling us what we don’t want to hear or avoiding situations where we come face to face with ourselves. This is the purpose of distractions like too much TV, movies, overworking and busyness. If we never have silence inside, we never have to hear what bubbles up. Silence is the great ally of truthfulness.
A basic unwillingness to face reality can lead us to projecting our idea of who someone is onto people and having relationships with our projections instead of the real person. So satya is more than not lying, although keeping your word to yourself and others is a good start. The Truth has a big presence. It is interesting to contemplate is true and how to deal with truth, even when it’s not ‘nice’.
For me, it was through my practice of yoga meditation where I finally realized that if I really know, accept and love myself, then others can’t really hurt me at all. Not at my core. Whatever happens in life becomes a learning experience, another way to know myself at a deeper level and an opportunity to grow.
Yoga helps us get to know ourselves on many levels. One of the lovely teachings in yoga is that over and over we are reminded to stop judging. We can only be honest with ourselves to the extent that we don’t judge what we find.
In our asana practice, we practice awareness and accepting our bodies as they are. In meditation, we learn to still the mind and go deeper than the surface layer of distracting thoughts. By bringing our practice and yoga philosophy into our whole life, we purify our body, breath, emotions and mind and come toward a place where we know what is true.
This inner work with satya spills over into relationships. We are more real and honest as we develop the courage to face reality. When we observe ourselves wiggling out of something we could sometimes stop and say ‘you know, that’s not really all of it…’. A relief comes when the truth is out, yet still the habits are hard to change. Like in asana practice, we must work lovingly with ourselves and gently push our edge and our capacity.
A source of some untruthfulness is working with the reality that our needs and those of other people don’t necessarily match. If we’re trying to please another person, that can lead to outer agreement but manipulation to try to get our needs met. Observing when we ride roughshod over someone’s reluctant yes to get our needs met or vice versa is an interesting process.
It takes courage to speak up and faith that we will be okay with whatever happens. The reward is that slowly our inner lives and outer lives begin to match. We become who we are meant to be.
Back to Eight Rungs