Satya (pronounced suht-yaa) — which means Truthfulness — is the second Yama which can be found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. As a Christian who uses Yoga and its philosophy as a tool to enhance her relationship with God, truthfulness is completely in line with the Bible.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
So often, we approach truth and honesty without consideration and love towards the person we’re speaking the truth to. I’ve heard people say things like, “I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but I’m just being honest,” or “What, you’d rather me lie to you?” The first Yama, Ahimsa — which we talked about last week — is all about non-violence. Ahimsa and Satya go hand in hand because truth must be spoken in a non-violent (loving) way.
“Love and truth are two sides of the same coin.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
In order to mature and grow to be fully aligned with the Self (aka the authentic YOU that God has created you to be) as well as to be united with Christ, we must speak the truth that is saturated with love. The love from our truthfulness must be so evident that the words that we speak serves them and not our egos. Any other way results in words being used as a personal weapon to destroy others. In addition, in order to speak the truth in love to others, we must also be speaking the truth in love to ourselves as well; but how about if we don’t really know the truth?
One of my favorite phrases is “self-awareness.” I love this phrase because in order to be self-aware, you must first be still, take a step back, and then examine yourself from the most unbiased way possible. That last part — unbiased self-examination — determines whether you are self-aware or self-unaware. Unbiased self-examination can not happen without Satya.
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
Having an unchanging standard is essential for unbiased self-examination. The Bible does not change, so if I’m examining myself and examining the Bible to make the two match up, I must be the one to change. My self-awareness comes from comparing my truth to Biblical truth. Whenever I find myself feeling stuck or unsure of where I am in this journey of life, I know I have the Word of God to steer me back — like a compass — on the path that is already paved for me by Jesus.
Although being truthful takes courage, it has some great rewards. Mark Twain is known to have said, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” One time in my younger years, I decided to accept an invitation to spend time with a guy that my friend and I both liked. She felt a bit insecure and jealous about my friendship with him; and instead of turning down his invitation or just being honest with her, I lied to her and said that I was helping my mom with some chores. Granted, nothing inappropriate happened between us, but because I lied to her, I made up several other lies to cover up that lie. It became exhausting to remember all the lies I told just to cover up that one lie! Had I just been honest with her, there wouldn’t have been tension in our friendship and I wouldn’t have had to waste brainpower just to remember all the lies. In the end, I confessed to her and I apologized. She was more hurt about me lying to her than the fact that I spent time with him. It took some time, but our friendship proved to be stronger than the guy who ended up exiting our lives later that year. Part of John 8:31-32 reads, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There is so much freedom in living out Satya! 🙌
Come back next week as I discuss the third Yama, Asteya (Non-Stealing).