I have noticed a lot of raised voices in my house recently related to something they call the "Presidential election". Now being a dog, I really don't understand much about elections, but maybe this process could have benefited from observance of the Yamas. And one Yama in particular – Satya or Truthfulness.
Most children know the story – “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” The story involves a boy who keeps crying “Wolf!” when there is no wolf in site. He just wants to see what would happen when he cries wolf. He cries wolf a couple times, and the villagers come running to protect him. When they realize he is safe, they angrily scold him and walk away. The third time the boy cries wolf, he is actually being attacked by a wolf, but no one comes because he has cried wolf one too many times. This is a good example of what can occur when you are not truthful.
But the Satya Yama is not only about being honest. It is also about being careful with what you say so you do not cause harm to others. This includes gossiping as well as using words to mislead others.
This is particularly important to me as a dog as I only understand a few words humans say. Recently, my owners were working on a puzzle and kept saying, “You need to work on the outside pieces first. The outside ones are the easiest to put together. Let me help you find the outside pieces.”
When I heard the word – outside – I was sure they wanted to take me outside for a walk (see picture below). So I jumped up and went toward the door.
No one could understand why I was moving toward the door so they kept working on the puzzle and discussing the outside pieces. I started to whine at them and sat by the door. Finally they realized that their use of the word outside was making me believe that I was going outside for a walk. This is a great example of the power of words and how misleading they can be – especially for dogs like me.
We all took a walk and everyone shared ways they hurt each other with words. One of the ways was to call each other “stupid” or “dumb.” Everyone decided to make a pact not to use those words to describe anyone anymore.
Are there words you use that hurt or mislead other people? Do you lie about some things? How can you remember to be more careful and truthful with your words?
After our walk was over, the children did some yoga postures. Pictures of the postures they are most proud of can be found below along with my favorite yoga pose (sitting on bed where my owner just was – so warm and snuggly). Can you do any of these moves?
Hope this discussion of the Yama Satya (Truthfulness) has been enlightening and you will think a little bit more before you speak - at least around the dogs in your life.
Can’t wait for next month when we discuss the Yama of Asteya or Non-Stealing.
Until then, Namaste.
Yogi Bear is the friendly and wise mascot of Mini Change Yoga.