Continuing with my 8 Limbs of Yoga series, I am diving into the Yamas portion that makes up the foundational yogic philosophy. Statya, meaning Truthfulness has many different compartments attached to it when thinking of how we present ourselves in the world. Why do we lie? And what’s the difference between being nice and being real? I love the phase “speak your truth,” because it acknowledges who we are individually in a world that tells us what and who to be. Is the truth always safe? Truth holds value in self expression and creates vitality.
For me personally, I see truth as a willingness to write my own story. Practicing truth means asking questions. It means speaking up and sometimes demanding change. Our truth lives inside us. It lives in both the conscious and subconscious mind. But it lives in the body too. “Go with your gut,” and “gut feelings” are where expression and creativity live…two important things that makes us who we are and what make us true. Our truth also lives in our throats. The ability to speak and communicate to the outside world and what we do with our words define truthfulness. So why should care? It turns out, the truth can have physical, mental, and emotional side effects.
Are You Being Nice or Being Real?
Have you ever had an experience where you consciously made the effort to put on a certain image? I worked in an office for a summer doing data entry. Everyday I came to work in my button up/collared blouses and slacks. I made sure my my hair was always straightened and my makeup was clean. I hated it. I hated how uncomfortable I was in those clothes and the actual job of sitting down at a desk wishing the day away. I adjusted my voice to fit the work environment and talk friendly and not get too personal. I put on a face and image to fit the environment I was placed in. In my head I was screaming. I was not being real and I was suffering because of it.
“The truth shall set you free.”
Being nice is the act of wrapping ourselves in pretty paper and sticking a bow on it. We are society’s gift when we are nice. Now there is nothing essentially wrong with having “nice” as a personality trait and giving compliments and hugs and kisses. But when we are nice by the “fake it til we make it” standards we are really causing damage and tension on the inside. Being a societal “gift” doesn’t mean we get a gift back from the society from which we live. In large part, societies are created as a means of survival politically and economically. Societies are for the good of the “whole” not the individual.
So what about the individual? Realness is what causes societies to change and shift. Truth is real. Historically, we have seen individuals stand up and bless us with what’s real. Realness and truth lead to progression. Which, historically speaking, has led to the betterment of the human race. For example, the inherent human nature to do good was realized when societies acknowledged the truth that slavery was a terrible thing. The individual, thus, must acknowledge this truth in their own mind.
When the individual (you or I) takes a look at ourselves and who we are we might ask questions like “do I like my job?” Or “what am I passionate about?” Or “am I happy?” These are super deep questions no doubt! So we must learn to practice listening to those inner voices and label the things that bring us joy and begin to thrive on them. From that point, it is even possible to manifest the desires that you know to be real for you. Realness is not always safe or pretty or polite but it shields us from fake-ness and confusion. Realness is not premeditated and allows us to face the present moment and celebrates your unique individuality.
Truth Through Self Expression
To suppress your unique truth actually takes a lot of effort. Your mind gets filled with constant noise. Voices in our heads tell us that we need a job that makes us rich, or the “bottles and models” lifestyle, just to a name a few. But who’s voices are these? If bottles and models are truly what make you happy and come alive and is an expression of your creativity then by all means I will catch you in the club! But for the most part, someone, either your parents, someone in your town growing up, a teacher, mentor, or someone that’s not you told you how you need to be. When we only listen to the voices that don’t belong to us we forget what our own inner voice is whispering.
Your self expression is your joy or, at the very least, something you enjoy or talking about. Your inner voice is light and airy. When you listen to it and speak through it, it is effortless and takes almost none of your energy. For example, I love listening to music. It is the most effortless thing in the world to me. I know what music I like and don’t and I can talk to others about it and meet other like-minded people through this avenue. It is natural. For someone else it could be sports or painting, or even watching shows on Netflix and writing reviews.
Humans Are Social Creatures Who Want To Belong
Biologically, we are social creature and crave being a part of the pack. Our need to belong can become compromising if we allow it. However, the best part about speaking your truth and what you know is true for you is that it opens doors to new people who share your same interests. This is your tribe. We all have one. And your true tribe not only loves you for you but they even celebrate you and cheer you on.
The truth isn’t easy, and sometimes it isn’t even safe. But it is our nature. Your own unique truth is a blueprint for the impact that you leave on the world. So to quote Nirvana, please “come as you are.”