Returning to the Temple of our Senses: Satya – Truth, Trust, Presence, and Perceiving Reality

  1. Being Centered
  2. What is Truth?
  3. What is Reality?
  4. Sutra 11.36 on Satya: Truth
  5. Being Present
  6. Yoga Sequence 
  7. Savasana Reading by Adyashanti


Off Center:
On the airplane ride to Costa Rica this February, I sat next to a woman who told me that she gets really upset when people lie. She says there is nothing in the world that enrages her more than when someone is lying. For most of us, there is something that triggers us and knocks us off our center and careens us into a blast of emotions. So I asked her why that was? What was it about lying that got her so upset?  She went back into her childhood memories and told me that when she was younger her mother was very invasive. She said that she didn’t have a bedroom door because her mother wanted to be able to see into her bedroom at all times.  Her mother’s room was just across the hallway and she wanted to make sure that she was totally in control of and aware of everything that happened in her daughter’s life. She said that she began to lie to her mother because she needed some space, some room for herself that wasn’t completely invaded by her mother.  She said that at first she was aware of her lies, but then soon after, she couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t real.  She began having trouble knowing what was a lie and what was actually the truth. She said that physically, she also began having trouble seeing. Her eyes began to cloud up in the same way that an old dog’s eyes get cloudy.  Her ability to perceive reality mentally and emotionally was impaired as well as physically.  She said that as she got older she decided that she would begin to try to tell the truth with her words and as she began speaking the truth and acting the truth her eyes cleared up.  At this point in our conversation I looked into her eyes and noticed that they were indeed, a little foggy, not completely clear, but as if a layer of cloud was there between the tissue and layers of the eye.

What does it mean to be centered?
It means to be perceiving reality in total truth of what is really going on. It means to be present.

Breakdown: What is Truth? 

  1. Perceiving reality correctly (seeing correctly, hearing correctly, feeling correctly) – In the Buddhist and Hindu philosophy, all suffering comes from believing in something that isn’t true.  Pain comes from misperceiving or resisting reality.
  2. Acting truthfully and speaking truthfully.

1. Perceiving Accurately – Examples of different perceptions of reality: 

  • Ever notice that if someone you know gets a new car, suddenly you begin to see that car everywhere? Maybe you never even noticed that car before! Your awareness changes and your reality changes because you are now looking through a new lens.
  • Ever notice that if someone says something judgmental, especially a judgment that isn’t yours, that suddenly you begin to see people differently? Your perception of people begins to change.
  • If you begin to feel insecure or self-conscious in some way, suddenly everything you see and hear becomes about whether you should feel insecure about that that thing or let it go, everything you hear and see becomes about whether your ego is ok or if you need to somehow improve your performance based on a comparison of what you are seeing and hearing? So now, reality gets filtered through this particular lens and you only see and hear things in a way that relates to what you are trying to figure out.  You see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear… there is a natural filtering that begins to happen.
  • Optimism and pessimism: two belief systems that cause people to see the world in two completely different ways.

So what is real???
Reality is what exists before you have a thought about it. It is, what is, before your mind interprets it.

Try it:
“Notice the difference between what your mind thinks about this moment, and this moment as it is before you have a thought about it….Experience this moment free of your mind’s interpretations of it.” -(Adyashanti)

2. Acting Truthfully and Speaking Truthfully: 
In Sutra 11.36 Patanjali writes: satyapratisthayam kriyaphalasrayatvam
Satya = Truth, sincerity, genuineness, honesty
Pratisthayam = firmly established
Kriya = action
Phalah = results
Asrayatvam = substratum, foundation, dependence

B.K.S. Iyengar Translation:
“When the sadhaka is firmly established in the practice of truth, his words become so potent that whatever he says comes to realization…. Most of us think we tell the truth, but truth is causal, not integrated and cellular.  For instance, if we say ‘I will never eat chocolates again,’ as long as one cell of our body holds back and disagrees with the others, our success is not assured.  If the stated intention is totally whole-hearted, not one cell dissembling, then we create the reality we desire.  It is not our mind, but the inner voice of our cells which have the power to implement our intention.”

If we say, “I will be present.”  as long as one single cell of our being is still attached to thought, to re-thinking, to judging ourselves or others, to analyzing whether something was good or bad, right or wrong, good enough etc… then our success is not assured.

Being Present:
Our minds may never be present, they may continue to manufacture an alternate reality, and it’s not about stopping thought, but more about the recognition of the stillness within us, this remembering of what in us is NEVER ABSENT and identifying with that.  It is a remembering of who you really are.  John O’Donohue says to return to the temple of our senses, “our bodies know they belong… it is our minds that make us homeless.”

Returning to the Temple of our Senses: Yoga Sequence for Satya

You can experience reality through any moment in life, you don’t need a yoga sequence that is one way or another. I have chosen this particular sequence because it is very physically challenging which helps the body be present.  This sequence has many backbends which work to pull away stress and tension around the heart and re-connect us with our hearts. This sequence also asks you to be extremely brave, dropping into chaturanga from handstand as well as flipping over into wheel from downward dog are scary and invigorating and ask your mind, body, emotions, everything about you to be present, to be exactly where you are, because if you aren’t, the stakes are high!  Working with fear and taking risks can be super empowering and “present making.” The willingness to take risks and the willingness to be present go hand in hand.  To be present is the simplest act of trust and faith.Guidelines:

  • Reality is what exists before you have a thought about it. It is what is, before your mind interprets it.  It is what isbefore belief, opinion, and thought.  Experience each breath, each moment, each pose, each challenge, free from your minds interpretations of it.
  • “Don’t get lost in thought or you will miss your life. Just simply relax, and relax, and relax.” – Adyashanti
  • Breathe as though breath was truth itself. Let your body be like a sponge and soak up breath as if it were able to soak every cell of your being with the present moment and feel that happening.
  • Notice: What inside of you is never absent?

Yoga Sequence:

  1. Supta Virasana
  2. Virasana (AUM)
  3. Sun Salutation A
  4. Sun Salutation B
  5. Sun Salutation C (Warrior 1 –> Warrior 2 –> Reverse Warrior –> Extended Side Angle –> Ardha Chandrasana –> Trikonasana)
  6. Handstand –> Pinchamayurasana –> Uttanasana with interlacing fingers behind back x 3
  7. Handstand –> take one leg down to 90 Degree angle and back up 3 times, repeat on other side
  8. Handstand –> Pike down, two straight legs landing with feet right between hands
  9. Downward Dog –> pike position –> Float down into Chaturanga (hit chaturanga like a staff, totally stiff as a board and strong, do not let your knees bend, keep the legs poker straight)
  10. Lunge position –> hop straight into air into pike position –> Float down to Chaturanga
  11. Handstand –> 90 degree pike –> float down into Chaguranga  (hit chaturanga like a staff, totally stiff as a board and strong, do not let your knees bend, keep the legs poker straight)
  12. Down Dog –> Vasisthasana (two straight legs together)–>Wild Thing–> Down Dog
  13. Down Dog –> Vasisthasana –> Vasisthasana with foot in Vrksasana (tree) pose position OR into Vasisthasana 2 (leg straight up, holding big toe) –> Drop upward foot down to ground behind you and flip over into wheel pose –> flip back take knee to nose –> send raised knee and leg straight back into Eka Pada Dog –> one legged plank –> one legged chaturanga –> upward facing dog –> Downward facing dog.
  14. Pidgeon: A. fold forward  B. Hold torso upright work on opening hip flexor and puffing chest like pidgeon  C. Hold foot with hand or belt, full Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana
  15. Ardha Matsyendrasana
  16. Bridge Pose – Setu Bandha
  17. Legs up the Wall for Savasana – Viparitta Karani (reading from Adyashanti below for Savasana)

Reading from Adyashanti’s Book “Emptiness Dancing” for Savasana:
“The presence of stillness opens the body and soaks into you like a sponge, if you allow it.  A silent understanding happens that is not in words but is the direct experience of what is.  Allow yourself the great gift of not looking for some alternate experience.  Without thinking about it, without the movement of a single thought, what is it that experiences this? What is it that experiences?

Recognize that there is nothing that experiences this moment, but even that nothing is known and experienced.  There is something mysterious that knows, something mysterious that experiences this moment, but you can’t say what it is because, when you say what it is, it’s not that.  It’s closer, more immediate.  As soon as you think about it, you see it’s not that thought.  No description is necessary, so just rest on the edge, on the precipice, on the direct experience, directly feeling as though you do not exist and yet, knowing that you do.

One thought about this mystery sets apart heaven and hell.  Thought rips the unity into pieces to be analyzed by the mind.  But silence unifies. The experience of this moment is present but ungraspable, known but not definable.  This that is awake cannot be caught.   You can sacrifice that vain attempt to define and grasp it, and instead just let it go.  Maybe you are not you after all.  Maybe you are this that is awake inside of this very moment of experience.  Find a willingness to BE it, rather than know it.

Find a willingness to BE it, rather than know it. ”

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