Sunday, October 28, 2012

Is Telling the Truth Religious?

At the beginning of some of my yoga classes, I give a short lesson on some of the non-posture parts of yoga or sometimes a little bit about anatomy. The other day I was at the school where I teach twice a week, where kids go who've been suspended or expelled in the Catholic school board, and I was initiating a discussion on Satya, or truth.

We were talking about how we feel when we lie - not good. About how our behaviour changes when we lie - we have to be careful around certain people and remember who we told what to, for instance. I asked the group how they thought other people would feel around us if we told the truth, and knowing that satya comes after ahimsa, non-violence, they said people would feel safe. I said that the yoga sutras say that taken to its fullest, when a yogi is practising satya, what they say happens. It's pretty powerful.

One of the boys asked me if this was religious. I thought about it. If it's religious to tell the truth, then sure, it's religious. Personally, I don't think telling the truth belongs to any one religion, but it doesn't surprise me that it shows up there.

I like to teach the yamas and niyamas by saying that we don't practice them because "god" told us to or because it's the "right" thing to do. We practice it because it frees us up energetically. We may have peace of mind when we don't have to review all of the messes we've made during the day by being harmful to someone, even in our thoughts; or by lying and trying to keep our stories straight; or by stealing other people's things, hoping to not get caught; or dealing with a hangover that comes by being intoxicated by whatever it is that we over-indulge in; or simply by staying emotionally attached to things and people through our expectations of how they should act or behave.

It's just simpler to avoid those things in the first place than to clean it up later, but realistically, we just need to be cleaning up all the time. Taking out the trash regularly. It's an on-going process and just because we may have done a deep clean through a yoga retreat or some good therapy, practising the yamas and niyamas is something we can keep doing forever.




1 comment:

Kathryn said...

yup keep doing for ever and ever and ever .... :)