Truth is more than not telling lies.
Truth is doing what feels right, going with my gut.
Truth is not having thoughts that conflict with my actions.
If we are doing things that are untruthful, not following our inner guidance, thinking differently than we act, how does that affect how we feel? For me, it causes stress, anxiety, frustration, guilt and fear. This swirl of emotions leads to more thoughts and more emotions and more stress, poisoning my experience.
When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to wait until I made it through my first trimester to tell my employer. Hot flashes, nausea, dizziness, vomiting: I could barely pick my head up from the bathroom floor. At only eight weeks pregnant I was bloated and sick around the clock. Trying to hide this at work was a nightmare! As an occupational therapist in a hospital setting, I remember having to run out of a patient’s room, unsure if I was going to make it to the bathroom in time.
I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family I was pregnant. Telling my employer, on the other hand, was nerve-wracking. What would she say? What would her reaction be? Would my job be in jeopardy? My actions conflicted with my thoughts. My gut said, I should just tell her and the rest of my coworkers. As I kept this secret, the stress, anxiety and uneasiness surrounding work continued to build.
Satya, truth in Sanskrit, is one of the observances, or yamas, in Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. So, why is truth one of the observances? It is not to prevent you from lying. Because what is a lie if it doesn’t disturb us? In my experience, a lie is only detrimental to my well being if it causes me to feel subsequent guilt, or fear of being caught, or another stressful emotion. Truth is more than not telling lies. Truth is doing what feels right, going with your gut. Truth is not having thoughts that conflict with your actions. When you are in conflict with the truth, how does that affect how you feel? For me, a myriad of negative thoughts and feelings prevent me from feeling fulfilled and happy in my life, and that is why Satya, truth, is an important observance: to cultivate omnipresent peace, well being and fulfillment in life we must be truthful with ourselves.
After a few days, I revealed that I was pregnant to my manager and coworkers (although my “morning sickness” persisted throughout my entire first trimester!). Ahhh relief. Their reaction didn’t matter (even though in my case it was positive and supportive); I was finally liberated from my own inner conflict and peace and happiness followed. My thoughts became calm, compared to the frenzied storm of thoughts when I was in conflict with truth. I enabled my energy to focus on what was important, taking care of myself, and my baby. This is the experience of Satya.
Check it out in your own experience: How does it make you feel to be in conflict with your own inner truth?