The word ‘sat’ literally translates as ‘true essence’ or ‘true nature’. It also means something that is pure and unchangeable. ‘Sat’ also means ‘that which exists’, ‘that which has no distortion’, ‘that which is beyond time, space and person’, and it also means ‘fact’ or ‘reality’.
Being truthful isn’t just as simple as about being truthful in words. Satya is total commitment to truth— in being, in words, in actions, in intentions. The practice of this second yama of Satya requires deep understanding, a lot of awareness, and a delicate balance of honesty.
Many seekers use this beautiful mantra from the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishads as daily prayer for acknowledging their journey towards the highest truth.
Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrityor-Maa Amritam Gamaya
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi!
“Let my journey be
From the unreal to the real
From darkness (ignorance) to light (knowledge)
From mortality (finite) to immortality (infinite)
Peace, Peace, Peace!”
This universal prayer reflects our commitment towards the highest truth of life.
At the highest level, satya is to be with what is right now, to be connected with something that is not changing—your true nature. We have a tendency to identify or label ourselves with things that are unreal— our thoughts, feelings, moods, actions, experiences, judgements, opinions—all temporary and constantly changing modalities. Moving beyond this tendency and knowing that something deep in you is not changing-—something that is real— is the practice of satya. Satya is having constant awareness of this highest reality or truth.
To be with what is, to be truthful in one’s life, to one’s heart, one’s presence, one’s mind, this is following satya. The clarity and purity in your intention, straight forwardness in your approach, is satya. Your intention, is it truthful? Is your intention straight forward, is your intention clear? Or is there something else behind that? Is there some other hook you are keeping there?’ That indicates the truth. Truth is not just what we speak, but what we are, our state of being – integrity in our words, deeds and most importantly in our intentions.
So its not so much about what is being said, but where it is being said from. It’s not so much about our actions, but where we act from. If we speak or act from a deep space of truthfulness within, our words and actions will naturally align, more and more, with the wisdom and love of our essential nature.
But this requires one to stay connected to that sense of truth. And that’s not always easy. A lot can accumulate inside that blocks us from accessing our innermost truth. We may think we are being truthful, when in fact we are simply acting upon an unconscious agenda or inaccurate perception.
Truth is dynamic. It can change, in any given moment, because it is often associated with our assumptions. Our truth is tangled in our own perception. If we are wearing rose coloured glasses, we will see the world as red. If we are wearing blue glasses, the world appears blue. And this is where the practice can become really sticky. What is truth? And how do we move closer to the reality that is beyond the colored glasses of our own perception? Is this even possible?
And in regards to satya, this is where our practice of yoga becomes so essential. Yoga is path of self-discovery, and that demands a lot of honesty. We have to learn to recognize that our perceptions and beliefs are exactly that—ours.
As we practice yoga, we naturally cultivate satya. As we cultivate satya, we naturally practice yoga. Satya both springs from and brings us closer to the truth of our essential nature. And, this awareness keeps one inspired to continue the yogic path towards the ultimate Truth, even amidst the current stickiness. For that is liberation.
Information sourced from www.artofliving.org/us-en/5-ways-to-practice-satya-being-truthful-second-yama-of-yoga-sutras written by Sejal Shah, posted: Jun 5, 2018
and www.thehouseofyoga.com/magazine/second-key-inner-transformation-satya written by Deborah Anne Quibell, posted Aug 07, 2015