For many of us, sitting with a friend, sharing a cup of coffee, or taking a walk though the park together, and having a good chat is one of the best ways to spend time. Connecting with people and sharing our thoughts, our dreams, our hopes is a blessing to nurture. A huge part of that nurturing process is being honest, true and kind in our communication.
Looking at the second Yama, Satya, the commitment to truth tells us that speaking the truth is essential to developing trusting relationships. Whether in professional life, or personal life, it is difficult to trust someone you know has lied to you, or who has been dishonest. Whether the relationship is with someone you see and speak with on a regular basis, such as a family member, relative, colleague or neighbour; or whether the relationship is impersonal, such as with a government official or community leader – once you realize the ‘wool has been pulled over your eyes’, so to speak, it is difficult to feel comfortable and confident with anything that person says. You lose confidence. In Canada, we’ve seen this with our federal leadership quite recently. It makes one question the values and morals that such officials hold dear.
Based on the precept of Satya, when we speak, we need to be sure that what we are saying is based on what we know to be true. Satya tells us that we need to be aware that we are not exaggerating, or deliberately deceiving others by what we say. We also need to be aware of the difference between making a judgement and making an observation. When we judge we may also be missing the mark with our practice of Ahimsa – our judgement may cause discomfort or hurt to someone else.
Or, we may be judging to alleviate our own discomfort. Yet once again, Satya goes deeper than what we say to others. Satya also lives in what we say to ourselves and how we lead our own life. Knowing our own values and morals, do we live our life, communicating and behaving in a way that upholds those beliefs? Do we have the courage and the conviction to leave relationships, or jobs that do not fit with what we believe to be important, good, and true in this life?
The commitment to truth may sound simple, but it is a challenging course to steer. At the end of the day, knowing that you have been honest and true to yourself and to others takes you one step closer to leading that life of freedom and finding the clarity, calm, and peace that so many of us are searching for.
Reference: Farhi, Donna. 2000. Yoga Mind, Body, & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness. Henry Holt and Company.