Satya – The interal struggle
In Raja yoga, also know as the Ashtanga Yoga, yogis practice the eight limbs of yoga. In one of these eight limbs, there is Yama, also known as the universal morality used to guide the actions towards others and self. Speaking and communication is one of the important factor and basis of a healthy relationship and Satya, being one of the five yamas, literally means to speak the truth in sanskrit.
In Patanjali’s teaching, it is not to convey the absolute truth when we speak, Satya is to be practiced with Ahimsa, a practice of non violence, often related to kindness and consideration towards beings. For example, using this as a literal example and should be applied to any other examples in the same context, one shall not say other is fat, even if the latter is obese. We should be considerate towards their feelings and choose our words wisely. Instead, we can try “For the benefit of your future health, you might want to lose some weight.” By replacing some words, we will not hurt others. Similarly, if something is said and does not serve any purpose but to harm and hurt others, it is better left unsaid. Unfortunately for us, there are limited explanations in the yoga sutras and different teachers and gurus have different interpretations of Patanjali’s riddled words, it has left many students of life befuddled and discombobulated.
So, my question is..
How does one communicate TRUTHFULLY if the truth hurts?
Because, fact is that in reality, the truth hurts. Even if my intention were to say, “You should lose weight for better health”, like it or not, it is going to hurt the receiver. I personally think it toes the line of being hypocritical. There will be some who choose not to say subject is overweight because they are afraid of upsetting them. Sometimes, keeping quiet is causing more harm. As saying says, to stay silent is to side with the aggressor. It is up to the receiver to process it positively or negatively, thus I believe it is best to give the brutal truth, keeping it as constructive and raw as possible so as to get the best possible outcome. Weighing the pros and cons of a situation is useful to making decisions but not all situations are as easy to quantify as the above (health vs eg). Chances are, there are many factors involved, one at the expense of the costly other.
Personally, I struggle to find a point where I am being truthful AND not hurting another and/or myself at the same point. Assuming all intentions are good, viewpoints and opinions, are however drastically different. My truth is not the same universal truth as others. I might see the tomatoes as a fruit while some see it as a berry. My sky is blue while theirs is green. My best friend just got the cutest dress on Earth when I think it shouldn’t exist. We often agree to disagree, taking a step back to maintain peace within crossed paths. At the same time, there are some things, which you cannot let pass because it is just not true, to either yourself or others. It is a battle between voicing out your opinion OR taking it in (which I consider a form of ahimsa). How can I practice Satya, when I am not true to myself? I find it hypocritical to nod and agree while I violently object in my head. Intentions, can be felt through gestures and actions so I find it quite hypocritical if I have to rephrase since the basis of Satya, is speaking the truth. As humans, we do what we say. That’s where the saying “Action speak louder than words” because we cannot overwrite how we think. What use is it when we say something but our actions are like of another. Being genuine and sincere in what you say is perhaps what Satya is about.
I’m a young person and have yet to discover many truths. Ultimately, there is no right and wrong as we all come from different places and time in life, perhaps it’s not time to learn it yet. We just have to find out what works for us and finding more ways of accepting it. Or maybe, I care too much and must learn to let go. Probably.
Riddled, discombobulated and confused young chap who has rewritten this post for the second time(now third) because the previous drafts weren’t saved, Ade