Satya – truthfulness in what we think, say and do – is classical yoga’s second precept. This sounds simple enough, but have you ever really thought about what truth is? Is your truth the same as my truth? What does it mean to be true in what we think, say and do?
Much of what we think of as “truth” is actually “opinion” or “belief”. Our brains process information through the filters of our belief systems. We grow up believing something to be true and as we receive new information, what aligns with our beliefs is accepted as “fact” and what doesn’t is dismissed as “untrue”. Psychologists developed the term “cognitive dissonance” to describe the problem that occurs when we are exposed to a fact that conflicts with our beliefs.
We all have different life experiences, with different learnings. This leads to different beliefs and different understandings of what is “true”. Accepting that someone else’s truth is as valid as your own requires humility and the application of Aparigraha – yoga’s fifth precept – letting go what is not needed.
Applying Aparigraha to Satya means not sticking rigidly to our beliefs. This produces an open mind. You don’t have to throw away what you believe in. Rather, you maintain your beliefs with an openness to change. You encourage self-reflection and investigation whenever a belief is challenged. Doing so leads us down the path of Svadhyaya – spiritual growth.
Yoga’s Yamas and Niyamas provide wonderful guidance for living a beautiful life. Each of the Yamas and Niyamas work to support one another so that, when applied together, they lead us towards Samadhi – self-realisation – bliss.