Tuesday, April 14

Truth as a Spiritual Practice

" The truth will set you free? But what does that mean? And what the hell does it have to do with Free Love?"

After thousands of years of practice, Patanjalis was the first person to give us a written record of yoga philosophy. His Yoga Sutras outline ten basic principles (Like 10 commandments for yogis). Satya or Truth is the second Yama or Yogic law, right after Ahimsa (Do no harm.) Satya is not just about doing truth, but thinking, speaking and being truth.

In my yoga teacher training I spent several weeks meditating each of Patanjali’s sutras. When contemplating Satya, I was taught to imagine that every moment and interaction in my life was caught on tape. And then if I were to evaluate, if it were measured with a truth detector, how would I fair? Thus, I weighed my words and actions and began to unravel years of acquired habits and patterns that perpetuated deception. I not only identified all the places in my own life where I was lying and withholding, but I noticed how family and friends unconsciously encourage lying.

Using euphemisms on resumes, sensationalizing stories on the news, skewing statistics and false advertising are all examples of how our society perpetuates lies and masks and does not support us in being totally real. Common sayings such as: “what they don’t know won’t hurt them”, “they’re just little white lies.” “Ignorance is bliss” sink into our psyche and help us justify lying. We are taught that looking good, winning or staying together is better than being real.

Lying is not only unethical, but unclean and unhealthy. Untruths create psychic dissonance, weakness in muscle strength, tax the immune system and have been correlated to disease and even cancer. When we lie, we create unconscious stress and disconnection. Our self concept becomes incongruent. We feel guilty, even if it’s at deep subconscious levels this guilt eats away at our health and vitality. Lying creates delusion, confusion and mistrust in relationship…even when you think the person you are lying to will never find out.

Being real is essential for relationship mastery especially in non-conventional relationships. When we don’t speak our truth, it is automatically assumed that we agree with and play by the rules that our society has set out for us. Social programming may have us like automatons fall in love, buy a house, have 1.5 kids a dog and a white picket fence...And then one day we wake up and say…this is not my life. This is what the “midlife crises” is about. People waking up and actually questioning: who am I? Because they never learned to question it before. When we learn to speak our truth from the beginning, we can build our relationships on a strong foundation. We can orient our lives around our values and that way we don’t wake up one day and have our entire worlds crumbling down around us.

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