by Roger McKeever
When I moved to Portland over a year ago I went for a walk with a young woman who taught yoga at the studio where I had just started teaching. On our walk we talked about Satya, which is a Sanskrit word that translates as truth or honesty. It's one of the 5 Yamas explained in the 8 limbs of yoga. At some point in our discussion we talked about how, in one form or another, everyone lies whether it's blatant or something more subtle.
Then she did something that startled me. She stopped me on the sidewalk, looked me in the eye and asked, "So, how do you lie?"
It felt as if the record screeched to halt. How do I lie? You want me to reveal to you how I lie? I stumbled for a moment feeling a bit awkward and unsure how to respond. What a truly intimate and personal question.
I answered it in the best way I could in the moment, but the question lingered for me. I've returned to it many times.
It's an important question to ask and to contemplate. Lies create misalignments in our minds, in our energy fields, and in our relationships. Even the small ones. Even those white lies we tell out of "kindness."
Whenever I talk about Satya with yoga students, one of the first responses is oftentimes an attempt to figure out ways when it's okay to tell a lie. What if hurts someone's feelings? What if it means I'll lose my job? My relationship? And my favorite, which I've heard more than once, What if someone has a gun to my head?
These are questions you have to answer for yourself. The larger question still stands: How do you lie?
Take a journal or a piece of paper and start writing. Be as honest and explicit as you can including all the ways you lie to yourself. Get it all out, everything, from the gigantic to the miniscule. Write it down without judgement, evaluation, commentary or explaination. You can always burn it or shred it once you're finished if you're afraid of someone else reading it.
This process has the transformative potential to create a deeper, more honest connection with yourself and with others. Be radically compassion with yourself as you embark on this journey.