By Stephen Jayanta Paquette
We continue our exploration of the grounding principles of yoga known as the YAMAS. These five disciplines can provide a powerful grounding influence in our daily lives. The second discipline that follows non-violence is truthfulness (satya). This word may also be translated to be genuine, real or honest. Like all aspects of yoga the more we are able to cultivate these principles within the more effective we can be in expressing them in our relationships with others.
Let’s look to the paired opposite to deepen our exploration of truthfulness. In which ways are we not honest with ourselves? One of the things that has been coming up for me is a tendency to look for a distraction in a painful or uncomfortable moment. I can imagine these distractions taking many forms from as simple as changing the subject to reaching for a drink to an expression of rage. There are infinite possibilities but as we become more aware we can hesitate and hold that “uncomfortable space” and be honest with ourselves by allowing ourselves to feel what there is to be felt. Imagine the feeling is like a wave that you surrender to in the moment, feeling it in ever more subtle ways. Practice consciously relaxing your resistance in the form of contractions in the body and distractions in the mind. Make room for the feeling to express itself fully in your being.
This is a practice of compassion, of honesty and most certainly of yoga. On the mat we get accustomed to being present with sensations in the body and this training is directly related to practicing this presence with our emotional nature. We all carry conditioned reactions based on our past, family and society; to indulge in these conditioned reactions is to avoid reality. We all have the opportunity to experience and express, more fully, the principle of truthfulness in our lives. Become familiar with the triggers that “set you off” and start to infuse a little space between the trigger and the reaction. Be courageous in your truth and be forgiving in your reactions.
Truthfulness is about Getting Real and when we take steps to be present with ourselves and with one another there is a tremendous amount of energy released into your life. What we do not see is that holding onto these conditioned reactions consumes a tremendous amount of energy. The process of enlightenment is like small photons of light being released in our being each time we choose to act with compassion and awareness.
During your next yoga class develop the skills of truthfulness by learning to be more present with your body, mind and breath. I wish you all great courage in practicing truthfulness on the mat and in your life this day in every way.
Steve Jayanta Paquette was born in Nova Scotia and spent much of his childhood in Atlantic Canada. He has recently returned to Nova Scotia after living for 10 years in a yoga ashram where he studied the ancient practices of yoga and meditation. He lives in Yarmouth and shares mindfulness, meditation and yoga as moving prayer in studios, churches and corporate settings around Atlantic Canada.