Satya: Tell It Like it Is

As a way of introduction, allow me just say that I am currently in the dating pool and it has been a very, um, interesting experience thus far.

There are some challenging aspects to putting yourself out there: nerves about meeting new people, having awkward encounters with them, the potential for rejection. But the real difficulty for me in this experience has been consistent with just about every one of my potential suitors. People really don't like to tell it like it is. Especially guys who don't want to screw up the possibility of maybe some day getting into your pants (sorry mom!).

Moose, the cat, who tells me no lies.

Moose, the cat, who tells me no lies.

It's really difficult to be forthcoming with your feelings. This I know. We are all concerned with not hurting feelings and trying to let people down easy. It feels yucky to be rejected and our awareness of that feeling can keep us from presenting information clearly.

But. Wouldn't it be more kind if we were upfront with our feelings? In relationships with people, romantic or otherwise, we have to be able to trust their words in order to have open and honest interactions. We also create expectations for people around what they tell us. Whether for good or bad, we tend to choose our activities, think our thoughts, and live our lives around our interactions with others. When someone is unclear or untrue in their communication, it's quite challenging to know how best to proceed. It doesn't require brutal honesty or unkindness, but maybe just letting someone know that you'd rather be friends, or even that you really like them would make life easier in the long run. Plus, when we can tell the full story, it means that we no longer have to worry about it. It's often a load off of our chests to let someone know how we truly feel. 

My grandmother, who you may remember from previous posts, is a big proponent of The Four Agreements. One of the agreements is to "use your impeccable word." Impeccable. As in true, with integrity, honest, open. In the yogic tradition, the word for truth is satya and it's one of the yamas or the outer observances of practice. It's essentially the second rule of thumb for how to treat others.

Sutra 2.36 says

satya-pratistayam kriya-phala-asrayatvam
When one abides in truthfulness, actions result in their desired end

So, if we truly mean the words that we say, if they are actually our intentions, the likelihood of them coming true is high. Nicolai Bachman says it like this:

Satya also involves a high degree of responsibility and follow-through. If we give our word that we will do something, then it becomes our responsibility to finish it. Following through on commitments develops confidence in ourselves and others that we will do what we say. If we think one thing and say another, the energy becomes diffracted and much less potent. When all three energies are the same, they are focused like a laser beam and the intention is much more likely to come true. (The Yoga Sutras, pg. 108)
Non-harming through truth-telling. How sweet.

Non-harming through truth-telling. How sweet.

How would our lives be different if we were more careful with our words? If we could be honest and open and upfront about our intentions with other people? I understand that at times we feel that we're protecting them from pain or shielding them from the suffering that may result from the truth, but is that truly kind? Wouldn't we be practicing ahimsa, non-harming, in the fullest way possible if we told the whole story? Can we tell it like it is?