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The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth
Satya Is the Yama of Non-Lying. But What Is Truth Anyhow?

"Wow.... That haircut looks - ahem! - very nice on you!"

We've all been there. A friend (or worse yet, partner) is proud of a new haircut or a new outfit and it looks hideous. If you blurt out the truth, you know that feelings are going to get hurt. But lying - even mumbling that little white lie - doesn't feel great, either. We all hate to lie. The Yama, or discipline, of Satya - also known as non-lying or truthfulness - is instinctive in all of us. The question is - do we really know what the truth is in the first place?

(Article continued below.)

Truthfulness goes far beyond just speech, according to Satya. Like Yoga, which in Sanskrit means union, Satya encompasses your whole being. It encourages not only truthful speech, but truthful actions and intent. It also means being truthful to yourself (and we do all lie to ourselves at various times in our lives). Here are some examples of dishonesty that go beyond mere speech:

Allowing people to believe you are something or someone that you are not.

Fudging the amounts on your tax return.

Not giving someone the answer to her question when you know it.

Agreeing to do something when you have no intention of doing it, and figuring that you'll somehow back out later.

Promising you won't do something - and then secretly going ahead and doing it.

Saying you are open to criticism and then getting upset.

Continuing to behave in a destructive manner after it has been proven dangerous.

These examples only scrape the surface of what truthfulness is about. In its deepest spiritual aspects, the truth can only be known by the fully enlightened. For most of us, the nature of our egos color our perceptions, so instead of truths we tend to have opinions. What is true to a Democrat, for example, is most certainly a pack of lies to a Republican (and vice versa, of course!). If a dozen people witness a car wreck, there will be a dozen different stories about how it happened. Even our imperfect bodies perceive the world in different ways. What may be purple to you is a different shade to a person who is colorblind. Does this make the colorblind person wrong? No - his eyes are just seeing colors differently than most other folks.

Next page >> The Honest Truth >> Page 1, 2

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