Satya, the second yama, is about be committed to the truth – in word, action, and being.
Initially, it is on the surface- about our actions and words- either we kept a commitment or we did not, either we told the truth or we did not. As you sink into the practice and evolve in your understanding of satya, you come to be aware of the deeper levels of truthfulness that you possess or lack.
The moral restraint of satya is about slowing down, filtering, carefully considering our words so that when we choose them, they are in harmony with the first yama, ahimsa. This requires observing the intention behind our words. Is what we say motivated by truth or based in revenge, fear, and lack? Our word is a powerful force that has the ability to build up and tear down. It is also the outer reflection of who we are. Our word is who we are – we are either in integrity with what we say, or we are not.
Part of the process of living more truthfully is to hold yourself accountable for the things that you do. If we can’t be honest with ourselves first, we cannot really be honest in any other part of life. The karmic effect of this that if we are untruthful, if we lie to others, then others will lie to us.
Each right action infuses us with the energy and ability to take the next right action.
How do we respond to information we know to be untrue? How do we get in touch with the truth within ourselves? What are the ways we distract ourselves from discovering that truth? We each have an inner compass and when we stand completley still, we are able to apprehend the truth about ourselves and about the world we are in.
We practice satya by refusing to live a life dictated by the media, commercials, society, friends or others. This requires finding your own truth, wisdom, and undersatanding of who you are. In ths way, we practice satya by being true to our convictions, our goals in life and to our nature-it becomes a perfect union of thoughts, words and actions.
Problems arise when we are not being truthful with ourselves about what we want, or with others about what we need.
When I was 19 I tattooed a punk band’s lyric on my foot, Walking is still honest. Wrapped in leopard print and adolescence, I still love this piece. When you are walking, you are with yourself, alone with your breath and your step, and that is an opportunity to be honest with yourself. There is no facade of a fancy car, no distratction of loud music, no temptation of speed – it is just you and you.
To me, truth is one one of the most important and rare things in life. Living in a world of plastic surgery, photoshop filters, and perfectly edited one liners that make our lives appear a certain, rosy way – it is difficult to know the true being of our brothers and sisters. Many people’s lives are so motivated by fear and accepting the lines they’ve been given that they do not know their own truth. It can be scary to venture into that realm of seeking your inner self, of questioning your beliefs and wrestling with God. But it is what is necessary. In order to fully understand and practice satya, we must walk the path of self discovery – it is a path you yourself must walk alone.