I have referred to Yama and Niyama, the first two limbs of Yoga as the yogic ten commandments. The first Yama is Ahimsa – non harming. The second Yama is Satya. Satya means telling the truth with compassion. There is a saying that “the truth hurts.” Satya requires us to do the compassionate thing with our speech. Usually there seems to be a lack of complete understanding when I put this one in front of the group or a desire for very clear-cut guidelines. When to tell the truth? When to be compassionate? When to be silent? Do I say something untrue to be compassionate?
Examples help. I usually have one or two examples of how to share your opinion in a way that shows no compassion but why try hard to make examples when blatant unkindness is all over the news. A New York Times dance critic recently wrote “Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” Alistair Macaulay was reviewing the New York City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker.” No other information is needed to know that this is not compassionate speech. A remark like this is not consistent with Satya. The karmic consequences of this particular statement are still playing out as I write these words.
So truth with compassion. Let’s give it a try, shall we? And let’s enjoy Jenifer who is beautiful and dances divinely. What is that guy talking about?