To look at the whole story. The WHOLE story. Unedited. No editing’. Louise Ellis.
Last time I was in India the statement above really got me thinking. And meditating for a couple of days. We are so very skilled at editing the copy of our lives. We don’t even know we’re doing it most of the time. Its become unconscious. Which is quite frightening. And sometimes the practice of Yoga really does make you question your own sanity.
The more I meditate on the Yamas and Niyamas the more the circular nature of the life that is Yoga reveals itself. For the Yamas and Niyamas bleed into one another. Into one extraordinary painting. You can’t lineate them. You can’t divide them, and although you may study them individually, when one aspect falls into place the other steps reassemble themselves around them.
Satya. Truthfulness. This is an interesting one. Truthfulness. Normally interpreted as not telling lies. Not even white ones. But within our constant practice there is a far deeper and more profound teaching here. It’s not all about our conduct towards others here at all, in regards to not ripping them off, misleading them or cheating.
Think about it. Who do we habitually lie to the most? That would be ourselves. How often do we edit an event so that we end up being an innocent or hapless victim of someone else’s wrongdoing? How do we angle an event to elicit a certain response from the people around us in order to reinforce our sense of self? And more frightening still, how often do we do this without even knowing that we’re being dishonest? That the character we’re supporting is but a whisper in the wind, the mask of our existence. And the more credence we give to our story the bigger and more important we feel. And- be honest- when we are telling a story how often do we make ourselves funnier, feistier, give it a better punchline, make the other characters, our fellow cast members, stupid, more eccentric, more small minded, weird, thick or difficult so we can be the hero? Or heroine?
Think on Satya next time you recount an event.
Pay attention. How are you lying to yourself? How do you habitually lie? How do you want others to perceive you and why? Why on earth is it so important to be perceived as a ‘Yoga person’? Or a hero/heroine? A sex Goddess? A meditator? An artist? A ‘healer’? A tragically brave victim? A hardass? Sure we should tell our stories. And absolutely we can learn from them. Storytelling and dramas are a particularly human way of understanding the world. But as our stories and our emotions are wonderful teachers they should not be the master. Once the wine has been drunk the jug can be broken. No need to hang out indefinitely in an empty jug.
When you practice Satya you have no choice but to put your mask down. And that doesn’t have to be dull. Life actually is entertaining enough without you feeling so insecure that you have to be in a role 24/7. You can just be in the moment. You can surrender your mask and instead play to what is.
And this ties in beautifully with Ahimsa. For in being honest with yourself, your own actions, and that of other people’s, you are no longer investing your energy, your very life force, into creating some kind of stage for your ego’s DRAMA. Exaggerating someone else’s actions to support your own perceived position can be harmful to all. Also, when you know that someone is doing that and yet you still get involved in their drama, well that’s not honesty either.
If you are not sure what to do or say? Abstain from comment and do your best to abstain from judgement. Lying closes doors.
If you accept that truth is everywhere and body mind is limited and can only grasp so much intellectually, then that very acceptance itself will start to open doors. Lies close doors as they create tension. Lying builds a temporary construction, like a bender or tent for the ego to holiday in. Lying really complicates things.
When you feel the need to lie- and exaggeration falls into that category too.. Stop. Think. Do you really need to? Honesty is too a surrender. Just as Ahimsa is surrendering the urge to fight to protect your idea of self, Satya then surrenders the roots of that. It goes deeper.
Perhaps you are enough after all.