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  • Rebecca Anne

Beyond the Mat: Exploring Satya

The yamas in action - Week #2 = Satya. (Need a reminder as to my current explorations and journeys, you can re-visit last week's post.) Reminding ourselves the yamas offer guidance on how one interacts in the world.

Satya, often translated as truthfulness, is, in this yogi's humble opinion, deeply profound. Truth is not necessarily simple and one-dimensional. Truth is in living color, four-dimensional, all encompassing - and complete with all the messiness of being human,

Goddard Park pond

loving other humans, and living in this current life. Truth is also the beauty of nature - sounds of birds calling to one another, the lapping of waves along the shore, the rise of a full moon, and the sound of rain on the roof. Truth is in one's thoughts, actions, decisions, intentions, and self - both conscious and unconscious. Satya is intricately woven, like the weave of a hand-spun blanket, with the compassion and non-violence of ahimsa.

I went for a walk in Goddard Park yesterday under the warm fall sun, along the shoreline and into the trees. The last few weeks....heck 18 or so months....have been more than a little hectic in my professional life. Time in solitude has been neglected - which, admittedly includes my asana and meditation practice. I have not been true to myself - although on the surface I appear to take good care of myself.

Tree with exposed roots

As I walked on the well worn paths, amid the trees, birds, squirrels, with a soundtrack of lapping waves along the shore below, of how truth is modeled in nature, I was struck by the honesty and integrity of nature. Vines crawling around the trunks of trees as they reach for the light between. Birds seeking nourishment or stems to reinforce their nests. Seems simple and straightforward, right?

Nope. Not at all.

Truth, and the practice of how we interact with the world around us, has been on display as a real-life case study over and over and over again throughout the week. Much of the United States has been engaged in the broadcast of the hearings related to Judge Kavanaugh's nomination for the United State Supreme Court, and the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. An incredible study of each satya and ahimsa individually, and as well as how significantly interlaced with they are with one another. How each Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford have been treated (death threats and all), how they each have shared their own truths, and how the violence of being in the public eye is undoubtedly taking a toll on each and their families and staff.

Beach shadow

It is hard. It is hard because it is real, and, in its own way, deeply honest. Human nature is

positively and negatively impacted by fear and a lack of awareness and self-accountability.

We have lost our way. We spend our time exposed to negative power, anger and accusations. Arrogance is real and imposed between people and groups. Feminism and fights for equity across so many classes, types, and characteristics, is a need because there is not compassion and vulnerability. And both in ways that empowers, and doesn't minimize and belittle.

This is why we study. This is why we toil with light and shadow. This is why we practice. It is a practice to be continually revisited as evolution takes place. Not evolution in the Darwinian sense - but evolution of situation, circumstance and perspective. This is honoring our truth - and trying like heck to be real. When I consider this, I am reminded of The Velveteen Rabbit and the journey throughout the book:

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” ― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

Becoming real. Honoring and practicing truth. Living with compassion. This is why we engage with all the beautiful messy bits.

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