Posts Tagged 'satya'

yes, salamanders are slow processers. and a free class on the truth.

I spend a lot of time being clever…

in my head.

The truth is I’m not too quick on the draw — I’m a slow processer, like a salamander. I prefer to mull things over thousands of several times before I feel prepared to respond.

I’ve learned to accept and even appreciate this, bar momentary relapses (usually when I’m not feeling grounded or connected, i.e., not taking care of myself), as with a recent conversation with an acquaintance.

She was sharing about how well things are going in her life. Something about it triggered me: I felt a shift in my heart rate, a slight tensing in my solar plexus and instantly a voice in my head said Say something clever, be charming!

Oh, the ego is so delicate.

For better or worse, I spent a good part of a minute trying come up with something to say. Of course, I couldn’t come up with anything. Today I can, but in the moment? No.

And thank goodness.

Not saying anything left the silence and space for her to play out her story (which turned out to not be all sunshine and cherries). And space for me to be in my jealously and watch it shift in my body and eventually move through, leaving yet more space.

I notice something similar when a friend is in need or making a decision. Ooo ooo, I know what you should do!

But rushing in with fixes rob us of the opportunity to let the thing run its natural course. And, like with teaching, how much better is it for a person to find their own way to an answer than for you give it to them? Claiming that you know for them is actually quite arrogant.

In the midst of this interaction I also remembered that we’re currently studying ahimsa and sayta (non-violence and non-lying) in the Enrichment Program.

It was a great reminder that these foundational restraints and observances are a choice. The mindful life takes practice and patience, effort and discipline (but that’s tapas and we’re not there yet:).

Anyway, chances are my acquaintance wouldn’t have thought I was as brilliant and amazing as I’d have wanted her to.


In celebration of being more honest with ourselves, here’s a free class practice based on satya. Play with the little ways you exaggerate or deny or camouflage. Let me know how it feels (honestly!).

Click to listen, right click to save or open in iTunes.

It would be great to have a strap or robe tie, padding for your knees, two blocks (or just use the seat of a chair) and a little piece of wall. Don’t let all the stuff scare you — it’s a pretty simple and lighthearted class based around Half Moon Pose.

Satya Beginner Class



Stopit (Part 2)

My first installment of Stopits is going pretty well.

While I haven’t been completely successful with staying off the computer before 9 am and after 9 pm, I’m making more choices around it and feeling less controlled by the machine itself.

It’s time to add to the list.

There’s a big one (a really big one) and a little one.

Big one first:

1. Stop talking about other people.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be taking this to the extreme: not talking about other people regardless of the tone of the topic.

This has been brewing for a couple of months and stems from several things.

The seeds were planted when I read an article on Tricycle online (which unfortunately I cannot locate) about a man who has made a life practice of refraining: no talk about other people. He pointed to the value of silence, the general ridiculousness of talking about other people you may not even know (think: celebrities), let alone the damaging quality of gossip.

These seeds sprouted last week in a group situation gone awry (described in my interview with Teacher Goes Back To School, due out this week). I knew in that moment it was time to check my own entanglements with gossip, even that with a friendly tone.

And from our Teacher Training gathering this weekend, a bud emerged. The last three weeks were spent studying Ahimsa, the quality of non-violence, and now we move into Satya, or truthfulness.

The thoughtfulness and depth of discussion in the group inspired my beginner’s nature and reminded me of the discipline a mindful life requires.

So while the trainees are exploring truth and making discoveries that may be uncomfortable (as folks from last year’s group cried, “I never knew I was such a liar!”), I’ll watch my words with extra-special care. (Maybe Watchman Bill can help!)

Last night Bubby, bless his devil’s-advocate heart, was clarifying the terms of this two-week arrangement. This experiment doesn’t include practical information such as my mom needs a ride to the airport, or examples/experiences used for teaching purposes in TT (anonymous, of course). A general guideline is the three-fold filter often attributed to the Sufis: is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?

The more I thought about Bubby’s questioning (specifically, Why not eliminate only the negative talk?), I realized how I might use a positive comment about someone to position myself: to show how I’m close or “in the know” with that person, or even though they are doing well, I’m doing better, and how quickly a factual statement can trail off into I wonder why… or What if.

So, for these two weeks at least, the experiment will serve me best in its extreme.



2. Stop saying “was like.” As in, “She was like, no way!” or “It was like so cool!”

Which could be quite easy since I won’t be talking about anyone.

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