There’s a quote in the book Bad Dog! by Lin Jensen that I try to come back to when I feel I’ve lost direction and an inner compass, “If we are true to the steps we take, the travel makes sense and the journey confirms itself.” In essence, if we are putting one proverbial foot in front of the other from a place of integrity, the journey unfolds before us and becomes less of an effort born of suffering.
So often, we are just “going through the motions” with little recognition of what got us to the present state or why we’re continuing on a given path.
Let’s go back to the dog theme. Have you ever known a dog to lie or put on a facade? No. Dogs are brutally honest in their demeanor and actions. Hungry? Eat. Happy? Wag tail. Threatened? Bite. Nowhere does the dog engage in the inner struggle of what they should do vs. what they want or need to do.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you live selfishly without regard to how your actions impact others, but if you start to trust your gut and become aware of your truth at the core, your perceptions shifts which may even change your path. In either case, the struggle and suffering begin to wane.
The second yama in The Yoga Sutras is Satya or truthfulness. It is a restraint that refers to truthfulness of thought, speech, and action. Become aware of when you’re being honest or deceptive to yourself and others. Notice how you feel after you’ve been dishonest or honest. Notice how you feel when you’re doing something because you feel you have no choice, when, in fact, you always have a choice. Ask yourself without judgement, “Is what I’m about to say true?” “Am I really listening to this person or am I just waiting for my turn to talk? “Am I working here because I feel passionately about it, or because I need a job with insurance?”
Take care, however, when your brutal honesty causes harm to another or when noticing your actions turns into cruel self-judgement. Neither of which are the point. Let the “non-harming” (ahimsa) be your temperature gauge. Of course, as you begin to live more firmly rooted in your truth, you’ll live in such a way that you won’t need to tell the little white lie to spare someone’s feelings.
How do you know your truth, especially if you’ve been living in the distorted reality of what someone else decided is true for you? Spend time with you. Try new things, get a massage, take a walk, write, paint, meditate, dance, hike, pray, volunteer, do yoga, teach, learn. Find out what speaks to you from your heart, and let your heart-driven truth arise from within.
What is your truth?
– Your Charmed Yogi