Satya: Discovering courage and transformation in our own truth
The foundation of Ashtanga Yoga’s eight limbs can be found in the first and second limbs, the Yamas and Niyamas, which each contain five guiding principles. These guidelines are the foundation of the yogic path towards growing into loving and conscious people, who live in mental clarity and profound self-knowledge.
Satya is a very important part of the yogic philosophy. It means to be true to oneself and others in words, thoughts and actions, without hurting or making another person feel bad, whether they are alive or dead. Satya is not always easy to live with, and is perhaps easier to write or talk about, but in order to truly live the truth, a quest and a lot of courage is required.
To oppose being true, to oppose our fears, to be aware of our intention and motivation in the various stages of life. In each moment, to authentically dare to change if something inside or outside of us does not feel true or right. Sometimes this causes other people to feel hurt, sad and disappointed. If we are aware of our intention with the truth and trust that in these cases the truth weighs heavier, and that the wounded will appreciate honesty and sincerity in the long run, then the truth earns a higher purpose. Truth can free us from illusions and suffering in a wider perspective.
Truth manifests itself in as many ways as there are experiences and people and it can change with insights and new experiences.
Deepening your consciousness
To be so aware and insightful that nothing lies and rests, or sheds in the dark and strikes against yourself or someone else without being aware of it, requires that you be versed in your different rooms. If you go through the darkness and see light, experience pain that changes to joy, sadness transformed into love, meet yourself on the different paths of life, and have experiences that truths can change, then you have deepened your consciousness. Your truth does not have to be someone else’s or become a law that everyone has to believe in.
You should not transfer or project your fears or experiences to anyone else and make these into a truth, without knowing what was at the core. Other people can then begin to believe them and, in turn, spread them as a truth. This can cause damage and create rumours that can destroy people in many different ways.
Speaking the truth: a conscious choice
Sometimes it’s wise to choose to be quiet instead of delivering a truth that does not serve a function but instead damages or hurts for no meaning. It is a conscious choice that requires reflection and awareness. To dare to stand for a truth that is important for awareness-raising behaviors and actions so that they do not hurt others is equally important.
The more we taste the sweetness of truth, the more we want it. Truth, that is, in its noble form of consciousness, freeing us from unnecessary burdens as long as we do not project it on others or demand others’ support. Truth leads us deeper into ourselves and closer to each other. Intimacy and security are based on truth and love.
Truth may sometimes cause pain in the moment, but in the long run be like a soothing balm for the body and soul. Truth transforms, enriches and touches.
Allowing space for transformation
During my courses and retreats, I usually explain that what I’ll talk about is based on my own interpretations and experiences of the texts I refer to. Like the insights and experiences I’ve received from the teachers and people I’ve met and the life I’ve lived. I also say that next time we meet, maybe I’ll be talking about the same thing but in another way. Life is constantly changing, and for me it is important to have room for change and transformation.
My truth right now does not have to be someone else’s truth and the truth can change based on time, experience and insights. People can experience the truth in so many different ways and every human being is entitled to his own experience and his own truth. No one shall be convicted, mocked or punished for his own truth. At the same time, my truth will not be forced upon others.
Truth in the political climate
Today, different “truths” flow through the social flow online, and some “truths” are more politically correct than others. I think this is a dangerous path to follow. People are accused of various unrighteous acts, actions and behaviors that may not be a truth for them or anyone else. The copyright may be caused by unconscious or conscious projections, transfers or even a vendetta. These become a truth that is credible in just the political climate or just in that group.
This can hurt in a bad way and produce consequences that are far from positive or loving. In this way we create laws that are invisible to the eye, but visible to our feelings and eventually people will be divided into even more different groups. This need to tell the truth can be due to a desire to be free of our own debt or pain in that moment. In the long run, this will hit back and give rise to undue negative consequences.
Finding freedom in compassion
Freedom lies in the right to experience differently, to feel differently, to be able to change and to live with compassion towards each other and our different ways of looking at life, and sometimes completely different ways of experiencing a similar situation. If I ask my two brothers about our upbringing, I get very different answers, so between us all we have three different experiences and different truths about our time with our parents. Are any of us wrong? Obviously not!
I often think that power and greed, which in turn can transform into fears of different kinds, govern our human need to be right. Not daring to take in someone else’s view of life, not daring to listen inwardly and hear our own voice of longing, also means that we sometimes stagnate in situations that are far from the truth we want to live with and in. Sometimes we are building our entire life on an illusion that we made a truth. In order to realise this, we need to dare to change, break down and wander on a path we believe in. This often requires some time of fear, pain and perhaps confusion that will gradually change to stability, truth and security. A path where we experience the opportunity to live in truth and dare to transform.
Daring to go through the different stages of life, daring to feel the pain as a deeper opportunity for transformation and freedom, makes us richer and more humble people. It gives compassion and understanding to others in similar situations.
In his book The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran writes:
Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
Life is an adventure of our own design, intersected by fate and a series of lucky and unlucky accidents - Patti Smith