Applying the second yama, Satya (truth), to daily life

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Applying the yamas to daily life
See all articles in the Applying the yamas to daily life series here.

Taisuke in Warrior I

Taisuke in Warrior I

By Kara-Leah Grant

It didn’t surprise me to discover this week that a yoga asana (posture) for Satya could be Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior 1 Posture, as this is a posture of standing forward and being forward in your truth.

Before I started yoga, my entire life had been built on a lie – a lie that I’d told myself and totally believed. This lie was so embedded in my consciousness that when I first ever did Virabhadrasana 1 in a yoga class I was so challenging mentally and emotionally that I literally ran out of class and didn’t go back.

Not for another five years or so anyway. And I still can’t offer you a photo of me in Warrior I… hundreds of photos of me doing different asana and not a single Warrior I!!!

This week, as I explored Satya, it was the lies I tell myself that came up over and over and over again – not so much the lies I tell other people.

Although, by logical extension, when I lie to myself about the truth of my experience, I am then also lying to other people.

This made for a brutal week.

Coincidentally or not, I sought out a powerful energy worker this week to get rid of, once and for all, this tension I could perceive in my thoracic spine. Otherwise known as the heart centre. Sonny Chin was the most insightful, and brutally honest energy worker I’ve ever been to see (And I’d highly recommend him, highly!). I can only compare him to a Zen Master, the one who whacks the student across the head, because that’s what’s needed in that moment of time.

No empathy here at all, just figurative slaps to the face again and again.

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up

Let it go! Let it go! Let it go!

The experience left me vulnerable and raw, stripped bare and open as I came face to face with the lies I’ve told myself ever since I was a child in order to avoid pain.

All that avoided pain so many years ago had to be acknowledged to finally be left behind. It was time to start telling myself the truth of my life. As one great yogi once said:

The truth shall set you free

As I worked through this, the biggest truth that hit me was the extent to which I am completely the creator of all of my own suffering and misery. No person, and no situation, has anything to do with my suffering and misery at all. I’ve known this intellectually for awhile, but this week I was able to feel it in my bones.

It was a hard truth, because in many ways, knowing you’re making yourself miserable and being able to change what you’re doing are two different things. The programming that runs our behaviours and thoughts is so deep and so subtle that even if we’re able to notice it, and become aware, it’s usually after the fact. After we’ve self-sabotaged, yet again, despite knowing that’s what we’re doing.

This was hard. To see the mess I make, to know I’m making the mess, and yet despite this, to reactively make yet another mess…

Get it together girl! I could see too why that great yogi also emphasized forgiveness in his teachings. Forgiveness of self is critical. In fact, I suspect that without being able to forgive oneself, it’s impossible to truly begin facing truth – it would just be too painful.

I don’t want to (yet again) go into the ins and outs the emotional drama of my life (enough already!)… so here’s an unrelated and small example of the way I noticed myself denying my own truth, and suffering because of it.

Tuesday night I was cooking dinner and enjoying a glass of wine. I have these ’70s wine goblets I found at a second hand store that are beautifully textured, cut orange glass – a sensual delight to drink out from. Dinner was almost finished, and I took a sip of my wine and it didn’t taste right anymore.

No biggie,  I’d had enough and it was time to stop drinking wine because it wasn’t truly enjoyable anymore.

But I didn’t stop. I kept drinking. I denied my truth. I had something like three glasses of wine that night, only one of which was enjoyable. The next morning I could feel it – not so much the alcohol in my system – but this dullness of self that comes from pushing away one’s own truth. My own desire and want overrode what was true, yet again. Ego ruling heart. Yet again. Running away from truth. Yet again.

There are times when I’ve enjoyed three glasses of wine – that was the truth of that moment. There are times when I’ve enjoyed half a glass. That was the truth of that moment. Truth can’t be written down into rules and regulations, only felt and expressed moment to moment.

In many ways, it’s difficult for me to find all the words to express this. When you’re living a lie, you don’t know it – you believe it to be true. No one can tell you of the lie (except maybe a Zen Master 😉 ).

Yet when you’re living a lie it shows up something in your life as suffering and misery.

It shows up in your experiences of relating to other people, in your job or career, or in your body.

For me, finding the truth of my life meant turning inwards, going into my heart, seeing what was truly there, what truly happening, how I truly felt. And then expressing that truth, moment to moment – although not all of it to everybody. Discernment is also a vital part of Satya, understanding what aspect of truth to express when. Sometimes Satya calls for us to remain silent too.

I found great liberation in this turning inward – yes there was pain and hurt, but there was also a sense of freedom, of letting go, of surrendering. I suspect Satya will continue to have a huge impact in my life in the coming weeks as I let go, once and for all, of the lies my life was built on, being kind and forgiving to myself as I do.

This coming week, I’ll be looking in-depth at the application of Asteya, or non-stealing, in my daily life.

Read the first articles in this series here:

Read more: Applying the yamas to daily lifeApplying the first yama, Ahimsa (non-violence), to daily lifeApplying the third yama, Asteya (non-stealing), to daily life


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