Satya: The Art of Truth

Satya: The Art of Truth
by: Artemisia Shine ♥ November 2011

“I AM IGNORANT of absolute truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honor and my reward.”  – Khalil Gibran


The Yamas and the Niyamas comprise two of the eight limbs of Classical Ashtanga Yoga as first written around 200CE by Patanjali Jois in the Yoga Sutras. Yama is the Sanskrit word for “abstinence” and the five Yamas are a set of external disciplines we can apply in our lives to help align more harmoniously with the Universe. Niyama translates as “observance” and the five Niyamas are a set of internal observances that help us align more fully with our highest Self.

The second Yama is Satya. Sat is the sansrit root word for “being” or “existence.”   Satya is the observance of truthfulness – with ourselves, with others, in our thoughts, words and actions.  To practice Satya is to place oneself in alignment with reality as it truly is, beyond the illusions of our ego-mind, desires, biases and false perceptions.

Satya is a practice of speaking the truth and abstaining from non-truths.  Non-truths encompass slanderous comments, gossip, and malicious thoughts or actions. When we act in ways untruthful, we are shrouding our divine nature.  When a friend acts in a way you don’t enjoy do you flippantly claim, “I don’t care. It’s cool.”  Do you play strong, cool and detached while harboring resentment for quite some time? When a baby is upset, it shares an instant and honest reaction and then moves on.  We could learn much about Satya by observing an infant.

Satya challenges us to seek out the essential truth of our being-ness; to reveal the essence of who we really are.  Who are you when you cease identifying with titles that only exist in the physical world? Who are you when you dispense of thoughts such as “I am a student, a single mother, a teacher, a farmer, a wildlife biologist, a child?” Who is left when you are no longer  “skilled” in one arena or “not good enough” in another?  We are each radiant expressions of the divine, the central luminous essence that is the inner-connected fabric of life. Our consciousness is way beyond our physical forms. Unhappiness comes from forgetting this fact.

Are you living in alignment with your true spiritual nature? Satya calls us to evolve our actions to bring us into harmony with our fundamental Self. Do you allow time to silence the mind and uncover your unique path of growth? Although this honest observation cause discomfort, when we practice Satya we see through “strengths” and “limitations” as simply what is, free from judgment.

When you are on the mat do you force yourself beyond the limits of your body? Does your ego throw a party when you’re in the “perfect pigeon pose?”  Albert Einstein once said, “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” Our yoga practice serves as an opportunity to honestly dive within.

– Artemisia Shine