Thoughts on Yamas & Niyamas

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Thoughts on Yamas & Niyamas
by Kashi Ananda

Satya ~ Truthfulness in thought, word and deed
Satya is the second yama and refers to being truthful in thought, word and deed.

Satya, an opportunity to show up as I am. No pretense. No hiding. My thoughts, words and actions in alignment. Not playing small. Stepping into my power as I am called to, is practicing Satya. Living the yama of Satya brings me into the moment of what is. What is the truth of who I am? Beyond mother, daughter, teacher, student and all the many roles that I play, who am I? Sitting in Satya, I see the answer to this question cannot be defined because as soon as I try to, I am in untruth once again. If I limit my I am-ness to the roles that I play, I become finite, stuck, frozen, limited. And when, I once again return to the moment, I am free. It is amazing how quickly we can get pulled away from the truth. Distracted by emails, texts, facebook, all those fun television series providing more and more ways to escape. (Not to say that these things are always an escape. They can be necessary, useful, even fun! But for the sake of this essay, consider that some, myself included, may use these things to escape). And what are we escaping or distracting ourselves from? Maybe escaping from the trials and tribulations of life. Perhaps we are escaping from stress, pain, anger, worry, wounds of our childhood and fear. Ultimately we could be trying to escape from the barrage of thoughts that we have about the challenges in our lives past, present and future. When we believe these thoughts it becomes too much and we run to something outside to try and make ourselves feel better. We get pulled away again and again and again. Forgetting ourSelf, forgetting our own Divine nature. And then we suffer.

I’m understanding more and more the lifeboat that mantra and meditation becomes in giving protection from all these unwanted thoughts. In Hinduism, Brahman is the unchanging reality behind the waves of the mind. It has been described in Sanskrit as Sat-Cit-Ananda (existence-knowledge-bliss) and is the highest reality. Yoga gives us a way to access this unchanging reality through practice of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga. And it can be as simple as watching the breath, hearing the sounds around you, feeling the floor beneath your feet or the surface that you are sitting on. We can have immediate access to the truth if we want it. As we just sit it this place, Grace reveals herself. It’s really that simple. In this place of showing up, being, stepping into the moment ~ and yet, its not that either ~ but allowing the moment to step into me, to fill me and thrill me with it’s in the “moment-ness”. Nothing to do, nowhere to go but where this moment will take me. Staying ever vigilant for that that would try to pull me off this path, that would try to stop the flow and resist, which are simply thoughts that are 99% of the time not true. To stay on the yoga path will at first take effort as we begin to replace whatever it is that we use to escape with a dedicated practice. Asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation. And then as that practice begins to settle in and become habit it will become effortless effort. Then there will come a moment when we are gifted with effortlessness. As a result of our past efforts and  when we are least expecting it, Grace comes and we recognize ourSelves as Sat-Chit-Ananda.  And when this happens, Satya is not something that we practice, but who we are.

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