Karmacology: Mindful Living, Sacred Practice

Satya: The Way of Truthfulness

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
-- Bible, John 8:32
Satya is the second of the five Yamas, or abstentions, taught in the Yoga Sutras as part of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The teaching is truthfulness, honesty and integrity, but has meaning on many levels.

Satya is a Sanskrit word that can be loosely translated into English as "truth" or "correct." It implies not only a commitment to truthfulness, but also being sincere, considerate, genuine and honest.

Satya should never come into conflict with our efforts to live in accordance with ahimsa (do no harm). We must consider what we say, how we say it, and how it could affect others. This precept is based on the understanding that honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, or government, and that deliberate deception, exaggerations, and mistruths harm others.

One of the best examples of this principle in action can be found as the first agreement, Be Impeccable with Your Word, in the book "The Four Agreements." In this wonderful collection of Toltec wisdom, Don Miguel Ruiz explains the power that we have in our words, and how we must use this power responsibly, honorably, and impeccably:

Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself. If you make an agreement with yourself to be impeccable with your word, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all the emotional poison that exists within you.
-- Don Miguel Ruiz, "The Four Agreements"
The second tenet of Karmacology is, "Do everything that you do with honesty and integrity." If you guide your actions with honesty and integrity, then you are following the path of Satya. If you are speaking words that must be whispered -- such as gossip -- or doing something that must be hidden, then reflect to make sure that your actions and words are honest and not hurtful.
Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it.
-- Marcus Aurelius
This is the essence of Satya, the way of truthfulness.