Satya, Vichara and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 11.15.28 PM

Satya is often referred to as truth in speech.

This refers to the way we converse with others as well as the way we speak to ourselves, even our thoughts. Conversely, by speaking our truth we should also steer clear of lying, exaggerating, and “story –telling”.

Both sides of satya reflect our ability to express ourselves from a place of wisdom versus a place of reaction. Reaction often comes from a place of heightened emotion. Most of the time, our emotions do not reflect the facts of the circumstances in front of us, but mirror our learned behaviors and emotions from the past.

These tendencies and habits are called vasanas. These are our beliefs, impressions, and unconscious conditionings that usually guide our decision-making. Our vasanas are a part of our samskaras, (psychic or emotional routines developed over time).

The deeper our vasanas and samskaras are the harder they are to break free from. Imagine a car going down a dirt road, every day taking the same path, over time wearing out grooves for the tires. Eventually, the car cannot travel any other way than the path its past actions has created for it. Our mind is very similar. Because of our vasanas and samskaras we continue to make the same choices and often the same mistakes.

Many of our thoughts, as many as 95%, are the same thoughts we had yesterday, last year, and for most of our lives. The challenge with this is many of our thoughts dictate our lives in a way that is unhealthy, prohibiting our full engagement with the world around us.

Vichara is the process of observing and even befriending our thoughts. We then trace that thought to its origin, (the moment in time when you first felt abandoned, unloved, or fearful, etc.). Lastly we create space around the origin, to process and let go, dissolving the vasanas and over time the samskaras.

Vichara is very much the embodiment of satya.

The word vichara can be broken down into two equally important parts; vi, which means to distinguish, and chara, which means knowledge that expands or illuminates.

To distinguish the knowledge that expands or illuminates.  BOOM; satya in your face.

To begin the process of vichara we first have to change our relationship to our thoughts.  Our thoughts are our friends, offering us opportunities to identify and work with the parts of ourselves that may not allow us to have the most fulfilling experience of our short time on this planet. You will only learn from a thought what you choose to learn, what you allow yourself to learn.

This being said, if we are judging our internal dialogue, or ourselves as good or bad, right and wrong, no progress will be made. We will continue working from a place of emotion, rather than looking at the facts and exploring the root of our reactions and going beyond the surface of what’s in front of us.

Discernment, one of the gifts of yoga, is the ability to distinguish the facts (satya) from the fiction; to act from a place of knowing understanding, interest and curiosity, rather than from a place of raw emotion, reactivity and judgment.

Once you have established a healthy companionship with your thoughts (this may take time) you can begin to observe what comes up and when. Then ask yourself, what’s really going on here? When was the first time I remember feeling this way?

In the yoga world we are inundated by yoga celebrities. I am sure many of us dedicated yogis have at some point or another been jealous of that fame. Vichara asks us to go beneath the jealousy and ask what’s really going on? Perhaps there are feelings of not being recognized or appreciated that you can trace back to a specific time. When you get to the root, recognize that you no longer need this conditioned response, and allow yourself to let it go. If it’s available, connect to gratitude for the life you have, and even joy for the other person’s success, knowing that we each leave our own mark, big or small, one is neither better or worse, it’s all just being.

Most of the time we walk around in a state of heightened un-awareness, being guided by the happenings of our past that have molded us into the people we think we are today. Vichara is an invitation to step in to awareness and own that most of the stories we tell ourselves are in fact, not the truth. They are the stories we were told as children, by our parents and peers. They are our parent’s stories that we have adopted through their presence in our lives and the environments of our past. They are our childhood and teenage selves, reacting from a place of insecurity and fear.

Using vichara we create the freedom to say, I am no longer that person; I no longer need to own this story as my own.

Vichara is a practice that empowers us to step into the fullness of who we are, here and now. I have been using this tool for about a year. Recently after my morning meditation I felt a sense of lightness coupled with a strong knowing that these old stories, the ways I have defined myself most of my life are no longer my reality. I can stop telling them to myself and to other people, because simply, they are not true.

This awareness felt like a direct connection to source, to the intelligence of the universe. It felt like the truth.

Yoga provides us with the tools to take our healing into our own hands.  Vichara is one of them.  Imagine the power, the fullness of life that is waiting on the other side of our false selves.  Step into who you are, that’s what the world is hungry for, you being more authentically you.

*Featured Image:

Tagged under: happiness, yoga culture
Kim smith

Kim is the PaleoYogaMom. She is a mother, a yogini, a foodie and a lover of life. The practice, the lifestyle that is yoga has reconnected her to the shining light of creativity and clarity that exists in us all.  Through yoga she hopes to instill in her students and her family a deeper knowing of grace, love and joy. Through the Paleo diet she has been able to achieve health and all the ben...READ MORE