The sweetness of satya


We often think that embracing truth comes with a big spark. While it sometimes comes in a moment that is accompanied by a flash of bright lights and a banging of loud drums, more often it is a gradual broadening of our perspective. One day, we look back and see that the truth we now know is much different than what we could ever have imagined. 

I have been working with a young woman who has experienced this type of smooth transition toward honesty. She had been experiencing low-level health issues for some time. Mostly frequent colds and an ongoing sense of exhaustion, but mainly it was just a feeling of not wanting to participate in her life. She grew more and more uncomfortable having one-on-one conversations and compulsively used social media to hide from them. 

Like any of us who has ever felt stuck, my student knew that she had a light inside that was supposed to be brighter than it was appearing. And, like many who find a dark cloud over their heads, she was missing the full view of her opportunities. As she began taking small steps to peel away layers of cloudiness, a greater truth begin to open. She saw that the dissatisfaction she had been experiencing was causing a much greater impact on her life than she had realized. She also saw that she could be taking more responsibility for changing how she felt. This awakening did not happen overnight, but each day she is bravely shaping her life in the ever brightening light of the truth.   

The universal truth of healing

Healing can come from many places. But there is one universal truth that underlies it all: We must be honest with ourselves if we want a better life. 

Ayurveda asks us to be honest about what we do and how it makes us feel, which is the law of cause and effect. When you pay attention to what you eat, the amount of sleep you are getting, how often you are pulled into social media or other distractions, you can see the root of balance and imbalance and take steps to move in the right direction. 

In Yoga, we call this satya. Satya is one of the yamas, or ways of interacting with the world harmoniously. It is most often translated as being truthful in our interactions with others, in other words, not lying. This is certainly important, but the most important thing about satya is that honesty starts within. You cannot practice satya with another until you are honest with yourself.  

When you look at yourself, you’ll find some things you like and some things that you aren’t proud of. But have no attachment either way. Don’t spend your time punishing yourself for all your past wrongdoings. And don’t let yourself off the hook with excuses about why you did the things you did. Instead, approach self-examination with gentleness and action. Rather than look back, live in the present moment. How can you respond to the world as it is today with this new perspective? That is how you can come to know yourself in freedom.

Yield to the truth

As you progress along your spiritual path, the depth of your self-honesty will expand. It will become easier to follow the truth inside, and your life will open greatly as a result. 

But as you walk this path, you may come upon a truth you don’t want to face. You may run away from the light or question if you ever saw it. But when you find yourself in these shadowy places, remember that you are never off your path. Pause here and yield to your truth. Let it be your guide. The path it asks you to walk may be uncomfortable, but you can find peace by letting go of your resistance and accepting what is.

​Make space to heal

It takes courage to admit that things are not perfect, and even more to take action. But when you do, you will finally get the results you have been hoping for. There is freedom in the light of the truth. You will see that you are the only one in charge of your choices, including your choice to heal.

Make space in your life for truth to appear. Slow down, find stillness and get a better look at what you are doing and the effect it has (I recommend keeping a wellness journal). What you like, cultivate. What you don’t, weed out.

Honesty is one of the most caring practices you can do for yourself. It is a simple practice, one that is always interesting, and never boring.

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