Satya: Truthfulness

When we have laid the foundation with the first of the Yamas, nonviolence, it is time to continue to build and add another layer. The second of these guidelines is the practice of truthfulness. And just like with Ahimsa, there is so much more to it, than first meets the eye.

Living our truth goes deeper than “simply” not telling lies. And we very much need to pair our truthfulness with the compassion of Ahimsa so that we are not beginning to use the truth as some kind of personal weapon, going around telling everyone “the truth”, and justifying it with “I am simply telling the truth”.

Backing up a bit though, and pondering about lies, and the reason we might have, or at least that we are telling ourselves that we have, to tell a lie. As Carl Jung writes, “A lie would make no sense unless the truth was felt to be dangerous.” Why do we lie? Are we afraid to hurt someone´s feelings or afraid if we told the truth we would not be liked or admired anymore?

And it´s not just lies that we are telling that´s the problem. It is also all the things that we are not saying, when we are silencing ourselves, not speaking up. Or all those times when we say yes when we in fact actually mean no. Why is it so complicated to be truthful, and living our truth?

Well for one thing we often find ourselves being torn between the need to belong, and the need to grow. As human beings we belong to a number of groups. Each of these groups has their own set of rules. As long as we “play by those rules” and don´t challenge the group we are fine, but often there comes a time when our need to grow, to evolve, to change is in direct contrast with the belief system of the group, and then we must choose. Do we choose to hold ourselves back, to stay within the safety and comfort of the group, or do we feel that the need to grow and change is worth risking the approval of the group?!

From whom or what do you seek approval? There is no wrong or right choice. This merely points out why listening to and acting on our inner voice to change and grow, to move on, to speak truth to ourselves and then act on it, can be so difficult.

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