Satya is the second Yama or moral observance according to yogic wisdom. A yogi is advised to speak, act, and live in a way that honors the truth.
When we live in truth, we begin to harmonize with the world around us. It may be difficult at first to free yourself from the web of half truths, lies, and deceptions that hold you captive, but the sweetness that awaits you is worth every effort. When you begin to really manifest truth in your life, then you can connect with your intuition, your (atman) true self, and ultimately your destiny. When we lie, we not only dishonor ourselves, we show a lack of respect for others as well. Telling the truth leaves our mind peaceful knowing there is nothing we need to remember, or tracks that need covering up. No fabrications that need to be spun or elaborations that need to be thought out. Ah, peace sweet sweet peace.
Does Satya mean we must tell the next friend who asks us if they look “fat “the harsh reality that they could afford to skip a meal? No not exactly. Speaking the truth in a way that hurts others is not Satya either because it is not in accordance with the first observance ahimsa (non harming or non-violence in thought, action and deed). We do not wield Satya as a weapon with which to shame others. If truth is a sword than it is one that has two sharp edges, watch out!
In his book, “The Four Agreements” Don Miguel Ruiz teaches a powerful code of conduct that when followed leads to a life lived in freedom and happiness. The first agreement that he suggests we make with ourselves is being impeccable with our word. It may be the most important and difficult agreement to follow. Ruiz writes, “The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word, which creates a living hell. The other edge is the impeccability of the word, which will only create beauty, love, and heaven on earth. Depending upon how it is used, the word can set you free, or it can enslave you even more than you know.”
I think the answer then when dealing with others goes back to intention. When you speak the truth with kindness and good will in your heart it will shine through even when the truth may be uncomfortable. In the end the truth is a gift you give to others, and however difficult at times it will be appreciated more often than not.