What is the yoga secret to develop self-confidence and to achieve our dreams? Imagine for a moment if your words were so powerful that whatever you say with intention would come true; you could basically achieve whatever you wish, you could manifest all your dreams. Imagine how much self confidence you would feel. Well, this power does exist and to develop it the yogis gave us a simple rule to practice.
This rule is called satya or truthfulness.
What is Satya?
Satya is the second of the moral rules or yamas described by the sage Patanjali in his yoga sutras. The first of the yamas is ahimsa or non-violence which I talked about in my previous post "ahimsa: the philosophy of love."
Satya is usually translated as truthfulness and honesty. In short, to put satya into practice we just need to tell the truth and act with honesty and integrity at all times. To act with integrity our thoughts, speech and actions must not only reflect the truth but they should also be coordinated and focused in the same direction. This is the way to develop the power of concentration which is necessary to achieve any success in life.
If we think in one way, speak in a different way and act in another way, what would we become? By not having coordination between our thoughts, speech and actions we create conflicts within ourselves, our mental energy becomes dissipated and we loose our self-confidence.
How to practice satya
To practice satya all we need to do is to make sure that our thoughts, speech and actions reflect the truth and have them coordinated and focused in the same direction. You can use the following tips to put this in practice. If you have any other tips please don't hesitate to share them in the comment section of this post.
1. Do not tell lies
Since satya is part of the yamas, the self-restraints or "don'ts" from the yoga sutras the actual interpretation is "not-lying". In this sense to practice satya all we need to do is not to tell lies, by not telling lies we are practicing satya.
When we tell lies our words are not in line with our thoughts or with our actions, we then create fears and become insecure because we are unable to assume responsibility for our actions or because we are unable to confront the truth about ourselves, about others or about external events. On top of that a liar will soon start to believe his/her own lies and therefore create a distorted view of reality.
2. Have integrity, commit to your words
Whenever we say that we will do something in the future but when the time comes we find excuses to not do it we actually weaken our will power, we loose our self confidence and others loose their trust in our words. Accomplishing anything for us becomes harder and harder and ultimately we become victims of life rather than the masters of our own destiny.
Practice satya by making the best efforts to do that which you said you will do, even if you've said it quietly and only to yourself. "I will do it! I have to do it! I'm going to do it!" that's the way the yogi thinks. This is having integrity and it's a really important practice to make your words powerful, don't underestimate it's power.
By developing the habit of committing to our words we create in us the conviction that whatever we decide to do we will certainly accomplish and if for some reason we are unable to accomplish what we wanted to achieve, even though we've made our best efforts, then we will know that life has better plans for us, new doors will be opened, new opportunities will be given to us or a new path will appear on our way.
"Ultimately we are our words. Ultimately, all we have is our word. If your words are no good, then neither are you [...] Never make promises you don't plan to keep."
"One of the reasons so few people retire young and retire rich is because they are not true to their word. They use words that to them are not real." Robert Kiyosaki - Retire Young Retire Rich
3. Walk the talk
Make sure that your actions reflect whatever values, believes or moral principles you have in your life. It's very disappointing to be around somebody who says believing in one thing but who acts in a totally different way. Of course we all have our faults, nobody is perfect, we just need to keep this in mind and do our best to "walk the talk".
4. Be true to yourself and do what you love
Satya is also honesty and honesty starts by being honest with ourselves, by being true to ourselves. A way to practice this is by doing what we really love to do cause what is true for us is what feels good deep inside, the wish of our hearts. In this way our actions will reflect our truth.
To put this in practice we need to ask ourselves if we are really doing what we love doing or if we are doing only what others expect us to do. Have we convinced us that it is more important to dedicate our valuable time to earn money than to do what we really love to do? Have we convinced us that it is not possible for us to do what we love to do because we are too old, too young, untalented, inexperienced, broke and so on? If we are not doing what we love doing in a way we are cheating ourselves, our actions are not coordinated with our deep thoughts or with the wish of our hearts and there will always be some sort of dissatisfaction in our lives.
I'm not saying that you need to quit your job and leave everything behind to do what you love to do, although I've been fortunate enough to be able to take that path. If you prefer you can actually start small by spending just a little more time doing what you actually love to do. Learn a new language, learn to dance, sing, play a music instrument, paint, write your poems book, take your family for holidays more regularly, travel around the world, train for that marathon, climb the highest picks or even start your own blog. Like my friend Phillippa says in her yoga blog "never give up the things you love."
And if you are having trouble to find out what is it that you really love to do here you can find some practical tips: How to Find Your Purpose in Life: 5 Key Questions.
5. Listen to your heart
There has been occasions when I thought I knew why somebody was acting in a certain way but when I have asked for an explanation that person would tell me that my perception was wrong and that his/her behavior meant something completely different. But later on for some reason I would feel completely restless and unease. Has this ever happen to you?
The fact is that sometimes, for one reason or another, people don't express the truth about the real motive of their behavior. We all do that at some point in time. However our hearts can tell what is the truth behind other people words or actions, we just need to listen carefully. Call it intuition if you will or just being perceptive, but if you listen to it and trust that it knows the truth all that restlessness and agitation would just disappear. That would be the confirmation to know that your intuition is right.
And the same goes for our own actions. If you are experiencing weird symptoms in your body or in your mind like depression, anxiety, agitation, even constant weakness or disease it might be a sign that your mind is not listening to the messages of your heart, you are not acting according to what your heart knows to be true. Remember, the heart always know what's the truth.
If you want to know more about listening to the voice of your heart then I recommend you to read this inspiring blog post written by my dear friend Lakshya-ji: "The Light Within You".
6. Be authentic, be you
Practicing satya means to be authentic, to remove all our masks and express ourselves as who we really are. It means being natural and genuine. For this we need to do some self study and find out what kind of self limiting beliefs, fears, prejudices and self judgements are stopping us from breaking ourselves free and become authentic.
Do we communicate with others the way that we really want to? Do we project ourselves to others in a way that does not really represent us? Is our behavior authentic or our we suppressing ourselves because of what others might think or say? Be fearless, be brave, be authentic, be you!
7. Remember your true nature
A higher understanding of satya or truthfulness is to constantly be aware of our true nature and of our inner potential, remembering that we are not just the body, nor the mind or the senses but the unlimited Soul, there is truly a Divine power within ourselves. What is there to fear? What is there that we couldn't achieve? If we could constantly remember this ultimate truth then our thoughts, words and actions will always be imbued with truth and we will act with confidence and humbleness at the same time.
Ahimsa comes before satya
To put satya or truthfulness in practice the yogis remind us that ahimsa or non-violence comes before satya. That means that we need to make sure that by practicing truthfulness we are not harming others.
So telling the truth or being authentic doesn't mean that we need to ignore the feelings of those around us. If your partner is a bit overweight and asks you "honey, do I look fat in this dress/suit?", what would your answer be? The words that we say and the way that we say them can have a big influence in the people that hears them.
There are no right answers here, you'll need to use your own discrimination when confronted with a similar situation, the important thing to remember is to be truthful but at the same time be loving. Swami Rama says "satya must be greased with ahimsa, truth must be greased with love", and in the words of Swami Sivananda:
"Speak the truth at all cost in a way that is not calculated to hurt the feeling of others. Know the power of each word uttered and the effect it will produce in the mind of others." Swami Sivananda - Samatvam: The Yoga Of Equanimity
Satya needs to be practiced even in the smallest of details
It's important to keep in mind that satya needs to be practiced even in the smallest of details like arriving to an appointment or an event at the time that we said we will be there, even if it is just meeting friends in a bar (yes, I can still go to a bar). If we can't stick to the small commitments in life, how can we expect to be able to stick to the big commitments?
The Yoga secret to achieve your dreams
Yoga Sutra II.36 says "satya pratisthayam kriya phala ashrayatvam" which can be translated as:
"As truthfulness (satya) is achieved, the fruits of actions naturally result according to the will of the Yogi." Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati's translation
"When the sadhaka (practitioner) is firmly established in the practice of truth, his words become so potent that whatever he/she says comes to realization." B.K.S. Iyengar's translation
And the interpretation given by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in his book Four Chapters on Freedom:
"This sutra may also be interpreted to mean that the truthful aspirant develops truth of speech. Whatever he speaks will come true, whatever he says happens. In yoga this is called psychic speech."
"These are the two meanings of this sutra. Firstly it means that whatever he speaks come true and, secondly, it means that the result of actions follows from his will." Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Four Chapters on Freedom
You might think that this is an exaggeration but I believe that consciously or unconsciously our thoughts always become part of our reality, what we need to keep in mind is that our thoughts are ruled by the believes stored in our unconscious mind so to ensure that whatever we say comes to realization, including our dreams, we need to align our believes with our words and with our actions.
We can certainly manifest all our dreams, the problem is that not only our dreams become true but so do our fears. The difference between a person who achieves his dreams and somebody who doesn't is that the first one knows this truth and therefore removes all fears and disbelieves aligning his deep thoughts with what he really wants and the latter instead becomes a victim of his fears manifesting exactly what he doesn't want.
If you have a dream that you want to accomplish but deep within you think "I don't deserve it", "that's impossible for me", "I don't have the talent" and so on, well that's exactly what you will manifest in your life, 100% guaranteed!
So whenever you say that you will do something your first task should be to examine your fears, examine your beliefs and make sure that they don't create obstacles but rather support the dreams that you want to achieve. Then take action and you will inevitably achieve your dreams. This is the secret to make your words so potent that whatever you say or will comes to realization.
"You have to let it all go: fear, doubt, disbelief. Free your mind." Morpheous - The Matrix
How can we gain self confidence and achieve our dreams? How can we make our words so powerful that whatever we say or will becomes part of our reality? Practice satya: tell the truth in thought, speech and action; have integrity, listen to your heart, do what you love, be authentic and align your beliefs with what you really want to achieve. Do you have any other thoughts about what satya is and how to put it in practice? Please feel free to share them in the comment section of this post.