I always joke that the reason I’m not married after 28 years with the same man is that I got married early…. at 11 to be precise. Confirmed and married off to Jesus. I did get to wear a stunning dress and white shoes so was kind of happy to go with it, I even got a new name, Bridget.
As you can guess I was raised Catholic and taught by Irish Catholic nuns.
We had a few rituals we had to perform. Here are some of them. Climbing up the Presentation Hill in Paraparaumu and paying/praying tribute to all the stations of the cross. Eating wafers every Sunday and sitting there while they melted onto the roof of your mouth, lots of praying and going to confession.
We were expected to go to confession once a week. This involved going into a big and always cold church and waiting in line until it was your turn. Bless me father for I have sinned it’s been a week since my last confession. There was a scarey grate thing and a priest ( I think) and our job was to confess our wrong doings and then pay penance in the form of prayer.
The only problem with all this was that between the ages of 7 and 11 I didn’t really have any sins to confess so had to resort to making them up ( lying) so I could get though the procedure. The greatness of my lie would be rewarded by more and more Hail Marys and Our Fathers. I knew I had done well when I got a whole string of prayers, the whole rosary even. So here I learnt to lie to please. I then spent the next 40 years honing my art. Here are some of the categories
1) Please the person because they are happy with what they have done/ bought
Do you like these shoes? Yes they look great! ( truly hideous wouldn’t be seen dead in them)
Did you enjoy the movie/class/meal? Yes I think you are really doing well, keep it up. ( oh god don’t ask me that I won’t know where to stop)
2) Omit information
3) Make up stuff so you don’t look bad/ to join in with the other person
Oh yeah I know all about that/ him/ her, yes yes that’s right/ you are right, oh yes she did say that to me, I had a feeling that was going to happen. Well to do this pose you have to….
4) Out right save yourself lie
No, not at all. No I think you are imagining things, no, whatever makes you think that. I think you have the wrong end of the stick.
5) Knowledge of an act of someone else that can cause harm or is wrong and not saying anything
Your friend is having an affair, you know someone took something they shouldn’t have, did something they shouldn’t have, said something in confidence to you that effects someone else.
What is truth, What is lie? What is your truth? These are difficult questions to answer and require a bit of self study.
The first place to start with lying is your intention. If you intention is good I think it is ok to lie. Like in eg 1, why do you have the right to tell someone their shoes are ghastly if they love them, it’s just your opinion anyway and if they are getting their kicks in their heels, don’t be honest just agree or go along with it.
If your intention is to boost your ego in some way, to make yourself appear more intelligent, better or above someone else then I would say it is wrong to lie. If you don’t know or understand something say so, if you need help ask for it, if you want people to like you be yourself.
If your intention is to save yourself pain, then lying is wrong again. Your intention to cover things up or be deceitful so others won’t know about what you did or said is another way to make yourself be liked, save face or pain/humiliation. Actually, one of my favourite traits in people is honest open authenticity. I especially love people who have the knack of being able to look at their sorry selves and admit that they truly messed up. I can really relate to people who stand their in their naked honesty and go look at me, what a dick.
One of the acts of yoga is Satya, truth, honesty, authenticity. It is codified as a restraint rather than an action. We should choose our words carefully in order to do no harm, which also ties in nicely with the first yama, Ahimsa, to do no harm. The Buddhists also point indirectly to Satya with their principle of ‘right speech’. Our words should be given to others as a tool for greatness, not to harm, but to encourage and love and promote.
When we speak to others or share our version of the truth is it a judgement or an observation? A judgement is my opinion ( I don’t like those shoes) but it is only a personal opinion. An observation is noting what you see without judgement. If we are to restrain from non harm to ourselves and others we need to be more observant of ourselves and note when we are stepping into judgement.If we judge something as bad or wrong we are limiting our world view. A better way is to admit a difficulty you have with something. Eg . Compare ‘I’m having difficulty understanding why he did/said x’ (observation) to’ That person is bad because they said or did x'(judgement)
So to practice or encourage Satya into your life you must ask, am I speaking the truth, or am I giving an opinion? Is what I say to harm or to help. Do my words encourage my ego or are they anchored in love.
What areas of your life you do you have difficulty practising Satya? With yourself or others. Leave a comment below and share with the yoga community.