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Satya means truthfulness. It is one of 5 Yamas or existential advice for a content life taught by Yoga Philosophy.
2 modern definitions
In her great book “Teaching yoga,” a New Zealand yoga teacher Donna Farhi described Satya as a “commitment to truth” and an “understanding that honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community or government.” Another precious definition comes from US yoga teacher Rolf Gates who wrote in his book “Meditations from the mat” that “Satya is about living in truth; it is that simple. There are many ways to do this as there are people who practice Satya, and no one can tell you how. You should listen for and find the truth within yourself.”
During our modern life we face endless choices and there are basically just 2 options: stick with the truth or tap (even just slightly) into dishonesty. Whether we realize it or not, those choices might lead us into a miserable existence or a content life.
3 modern dilemmas about truthfulness
I totally agree with the idea that everyone should find truth within their own self. That is the reason why this post becomes an invitation to reflect on 3 modern dilemmas. So, take a moment to try and honestly look for solutions within yourself as you read the following 3 dilemmas.
1. Truth & Business
Let’s consider a HR manager at company X who finds themself under pressure to drive down the budget for employee education, but also must accomplish an annual goal to send at least 10 employees to trainings. As a possible solution she decides to choose low quality courses with less impact on employees’ knowledge. One by one she sends e-mails to the employees that suggest quite useless courses are a precious gift for their professional growth. She understands that what she is doing is wrong, however, she feels obliged to keep to budget limits and to meet the annual goal as her personal bonus depends on it. Challenge yourself with a question: is she lying to the employees and what kind of behavior would be a commitment to truthfulness?
2. Truth & Relationships
Let’s consider a married person XY, who finds self in ongoing affair with a work colleague. After being involved in the affair, thrilled and entertained, our XY feels guilt and enormous discomfort. Shortly thereafter they wish to finish the outdated affair as soon as possible. This example is particularly ugly, but in this blog, I invite you to stick with real life, where reality seemingly leaves us less room to live in accordance with high values postulated by Yoga Philosophy. As a next step, XY truthfully confesses to the work colleague that everything is over and XY continues their family life as if nothing had happened before. Challenge yourself with a question about whether XY’s actions could be seen as practice of Satya?
3.Truth & Self
Let’s consider a person Y who feels quite lost and weak in this “heartless world”. Day after day, our Y finds themself in struggle, guilt, the feeling of not being good enough and not feeling as though they deserve anything better than daily misery. Y does not believe in a better future and from time to time she searches the internet for deadly doses of different sleeping pills… Challenge yourself with a question as to whether Y violates truthfulness and if yes, how does Y do it?
3 HINTS that you might use as inspiration to reflect on the 3 dilemmas:
- The practice of Satya is based on the platform of non-violence towards others and yourself
- Being truthful with yourself and others includes the establishment of connections and having an understanding towards yourself and others
- A life based on truthfulness is a mindful life where you consciously step into situations without all of sudden “finding yourself in them.”
In this blog, I represented 3 dilemmas for reflecting on the meaning of truthfulness in modern life. In a future blog, I will come back to the 3 dilemmas and explore them further. If you wish, you can write me your brief thoughts about the dilemmas by using the “Got a question” form on my website. I will be glad to read. Thank you!
The great books I mentioned were written by Donna Farhiand Ralf Gatesand further information can be found in my Reading List. Please enjoy!