04 Oct 5 Minute Philosophy Break: The Yamas Part 2: Satya
Welcome to the second post in our series on the yamas. Today we’ll be looking at the second yama – Satya (truthfulness). Satya is the kind of truthfulness that occurs when our intentions, words, and actions are all aligned and consistent with our inner truth.
Let’s go back to the ancient text of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and see how satya is described. Chapter 2, verse 36 tells us…
II.36 Satya-pratiṣṭhāyāṁ kriyā-phalāśrayatvam
When the yogi is firmly established in truthfulness (satya), which is the basic foundation for success in all actions and transformations, he or she obtains the fruit of actions without effort.
– translation by Shri Brahmananda Saraswati
So first we see that satya is the basic foundation for success in ALL actions and transformations. In other words, without bringing our intentions, words and actions all into alignment with our inner truth, it’s virtually impossible to create or build anything meaningful and lasting in our life. Whatever we try to create will likely keep toppling over, washing away, or never even get off the ground without a foundation beneath it. Whenever there’s an area of my life where I feel stuck, anxious, or unable to connect with creativity and joy, I try and ask myself “how rooted am I in Satya in that area of my life?” Usually the answer becomes suddenly, and sometimes painfully obvious.
And the second part of this sutra seems even more remarkable – that when we’re established in truthfulness we obtain the fruit of actions without effort! Now this doesn’t mean that all our problems go away and the things we wish for magically appear 🙂 It means that when our intentions, words and actions are in alignment with our inner truth, we come into harmony with the universe and with the source of creation. We are more plugged into source and we have more access to the creative energy inside of us. When we’re grounded in satya there is more coherence between our inner true self, and our outer life. We’re not wasting energy putting on a mask. And all that previously wasted energy now becomes focused like a laser beam – a powerful force to manifest our intentions. When we’re grounded in satya we gain the power to create our life, not just react to it.