The second Yama is Satya – truthfulness. This would appear quite straight forward to me at first, it’s not ok to tell lies, that sounds relatively simple to adhere to but a bit tricky at times:
“Do you think my drawing is good, Mummy” “Erhmm………”
What’s the right thing to do, be truthful but unkind or fib and save their feelings? I think if you combine it with the first ahimsa – non violence, them it’s about being truthful without harming others. Basically to think before I speak, to be considerate and not to hurt other people.
But truthfulness as a practice, actually living the truth is more far-reaching, it is encouraging us to not only speak the truth but to think and act it as well. This doesn’t only apply to our treatment of other people but ourselves as well. Perhaps the personal lies or untruths we tell are the most damaging of all.
The word Sat in Sanskript has many meanings one of them being true essence or unchangeable and it also has an association with the word for purity, sattvic. Satya requires us to try and see the unchanging truth in the past, present and future not what we feel or think at a given moment.
On the mat is a good place to start taking the concept of Satya inwards. Instead of thinking, “I’m rubbish at this pose …….” we can decide to observe the thought and then let it pass, we do not need to become the thought or be defined by it.
If we want to be truthful to others we first need to be truthful with ourselves, only then will we be able start living a truthful life.