Yama (2): Satyam | DruYoga.com


Yama (2): Satyam

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SATYAM is the second of Patanjali’s Yamas and it means TRUTH.

We all know what happened to Pinocchio when he told lies... Indeed honesty and truthfulness are virtues aspired to in all moral codes, for telling lies can have dire consequences, but let us delve into this concept a little deeper.

First of all let us consider a possible flip side to speaking the truth, as we know that sometimes this can cause harm (Ahimsa) and so is not always the best option. We may be familiar with the sensible questions to ask ourselves before opening our mouths...
“Is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” 
If the answers are not all ‘yes’ then it is wiser not to utter that truth. But neither is it wise to tell lies, better to keep quiet.

The following quote comes from an ancient Indian epic tale, the Mahabharata, 
“Speak the truth which is pleasant. Do not speak unpleasant truths. Do not lie, even if the lies are pleasing to the ear. That is the eternal law, the dharma.”

Another aspect of this discussion is that we need to be aware that different people have different perceptions of what is actually the truth and this can cause a great deal of disharmony if we keep insisting on our own version of the truth. Now there is nothing wrong with healthy debate if all of our words are spoken with kindness, but there are also times when it is better to simply back off if it is clear that our perceptions are radically different.

Then there is that small matter of being true to ourselves... How many times do you say YES when you actually mean NO? How many times do you say “I’m fine” when you’re NOT?! We all do these things, so with awareness we can be really true to ourselves and modify our answers in a way that will bring no harm.

Sometimes we even deny the truth in our own lives, have you ever done that?

The next time you do or say something which ‘feels wrong’ know that you are acting or speaking in contradiction to your own true self. Be aware.

And how can we be sure that our truth is the truth? A tricky question! Well we need to connect to our inner wisdom if we are to be sure, and how do we do that? Simply coming into a quiet inner space and asking, “Is this true?” is the  starting point. This may take time and all of our yoga practices will help us to reach that inner stillness, time and time again.

Once we are established in that truth which is eternal and unchanging we will know and then we can live, speak and act from that place. 

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