February 21, 2015
Satya means “to speak truth.” It means truthfulness. It means… ugh, I have a lot of work to do on myself.
Even the thought of writing a paper on truthfulness encourages air bubbles of obstinance and defensiveness to the surface like a gurgling jacuzzi. I’m truthful! Aren’t I truthful? I don’t want to admit I’m not truthful! Each bubble pops when it hits the surface and encourages more to follow.
Why the resistance, rejection, and reluctance to speak about truth?
Because I want to believe we are all truthful. More importantly, I want to believe I am truthful, ethical, and most importantly a virtuous yogi.
However, the truth about truth is that it is difficult. It’s hard to be authentic while also being loving. It’s not easy to listen to that inner voice linked to source. It’s habitual to avoid what is uncomfortable. And yet, when I do act and speak from that place of source – that authentic self – something very beautiful shines through like the clouds parting away from the sun. It feels addictively good and I want to bask in the warm rays, face smiling in the sunlight, arms open wide.
So how do I get there?
I start by drawing upon three pillars of wisdom outlined below and continue to revisit each pillar as a mantra. These are bread crumbs I sprinkle along my path leading back to the shining light, back to my truthfulness, back to Satya.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” – Gloria Stevenson
This is my satya mantra for when I just plain don’t like the truth. Truth doesn’t have to be magical and beautiful with rainbows and bunnies in a cashmere sweater. Sometimes the truth is that my body has restrictions. The truth is I’m not a natural blonde. And the truth is I did, in fact, eat the last two girl scout cookies. And that’s not a pretty truth. But its veracity is freeing. By embracing the ugliness of my truth, I find freedom in letting it go.
“Whenever you have truth it must be given with love or the message and the messenger will be rejected.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This is my mantra to keep my satya in line with ahimsa… particularly at work. In my corporate world, blunt is often best. I work with engineers, architects, and site superintendents where sugarcoating your words is a red flag for weakness. It’s very easy to fall into the course and crass way of doing business in the modern world. Faster! Cheaper! Me! Me! Me! But I cling to this mantra as a way to remind myself of those golden opportunities in life and in work when I can choose the path of light. These words of truth also resonate with me in my personal life. The bond with my partner is a sacred one and the more we grow together the more I learn that sharing truth wrapped in love like a warm vegan buttered pig in the blanket is much more appealing than a cold hot dog handed over on the street.
“If you are your authentic self, you have no competition.” – Scott Stratten
Lastly, this is my mantra to myself. As a lifelong musician, student, and overachiever, competition is helixed into my DNA. I want to be the best. I want to be better than others. And that’s so dangerous in yoga. It’s even more dangerous in life! I will never be happy… I will never find santosha/contentment in the form of comparison. “Be authentic,” I tell myself. “Be you.” Even when I find ways to be “the” “best” that ego thrill is fleeting. It’s a prolonged and unquenchable thirst that can only be counteracted by satya. Competition and comparison are both neutralized when I embrace my authentic, perfectly imperfect self. No one can be me when I am truly myself, when I am plugged into source and that is where I want to be.
So I share these mantras as gift to my fellow yoga teacher trainees – let us find our path, find our light, and find it with the goal of satya.