My guru, Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi, teaches that “in the silence is the greatest activity of God”. Our society is awash in a cacophony of sound. We may be hard pressed to truly experience silence and therefore have access to the divinity within. Even when we have shut of all of the beeps and buzzers our handheld devices and computers emit, and shut ourselves up in our homes, away from the din of the world, our own minds may still bombard us with the noise of incessant thought.
When we begin to consciously quiet the mind in contemplation or meditation, we begin to become aware of the nature of our inner monologue. We start to tune into our habitual patterns of thought and discover if they are either supportive of our greater wellbeing or a detriment to it.
So much of what we think about our self and the world is founded on what others have said. It is based in their version of the truth, as seen through the lens of their own experience. That lens is very often distorted by their own biases and limited perspective of themselves and the world.
Yoga is a tool by which we can begin to access the greater truth of who we are, and allow that to permeate our consciousness. When we begin to release the distorted beliefs we have about our self, our view of others and the world begins to shift as well. The work must always begin with us.
All sound is vibration. The nature of the sound depends on the frequency of the vibration. Some sounds resonate at a lower frequency, while others reverberate at higher frequencies.
All our thoughts are made up of words, which are made up of various sound vibrations. The words we speak are our thoughts externalized, and ultimately become our actions. Our words have great power, either to create or to destroy. It all depends on our intent. Are we operating from the realm of lower frequency (destructive) or higher frequency (productive) thoughts? If a bomb destroys a building, what is it that brings the building down? The vibration.
Consider this analogy further. A bomb is placed in a building and detonated. The building is completely destroyed. If the bomb is set off because the building is structurally unsound, and it is being cleared away for new construction, it might be considered a constructive or creative use of the blast. However, if a bomb is placed in a building, in order to harm the residents, we can easily see it is a destructive use of the same energy. The difference, again, is the intent.
The effects of our words derive from the nature of our purpose for using them. If our words arise from a place of love and compassion the effect will be quite different from words intentionally meant to hurt another. We also help or harm ourselves, depending on whether we choose to speak about ourselves in a positive manner or in negative self speak.
The practice of right speech and action is what is the essence of satya. If our own thoughts about ourselves and our communications, and actions with others resonate at higher frequencies, and are based in truth, our relationship with our self and others will have integrity. Deliberate deception, exaggeration, and mistruth are harmful to others. So much of our conversations about others are based on hearsay, our imaginations, perceptions, suppositions, or erroneous conclusions. Idle gossip is miscommunication at its finest.
“It’s not necessarily what you say; it’s how you say it.” This was a favorite adage in my home, when I was growing up. In our increasingly virtual world of communication, it can be very challenging to convey our thoughts and feelings or interpret those of others, because the communication is so often being read, rather than given or received in person. There is no tone of voice or body language, to offer clues or cues as to the intention underlying the communication. That is why clarity and integrity in thought and speech, as well as any written communication are so important.
We also have a system in place through which information can be disseminated in a nanosecond. As a result, misinformation spreads like wild fire, because so many choose to accept at face value anything posted, tweeted, instant messaged, etc., without the due diligence of source/fact checking, or we only tune into information from those who are of “like mind,” therefore limiting the scope of the “truth” to only that which already supports our concepts and view of the world.
Satya translates to truthfulness, “to speak the truth”. Yet it is not always appropriate to speak the truth, at the expense of someone else’s feelings. Kids have an uncanny knack for blurting out whatever they think about the person ahead in the line at the grocery store. What we try to cultivate in our children is a disciplined tongue. In many cases we, ourselves, don’t practice what we preach. Furthermore, our “truth” is most often merely our perception, and not necessarily the Truth. Discernment is key. Is this “truth” coming from ego, or is it coming from the Higher Self?
Another saying in my home was, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” At times, if speaking the truth has negative consequences for someone else, then it may be better to say nothing. One must use considered thought to determine when it is necessary to speak up and when it is better to remain silent. We might remember these words of Shirdi Sai Baba: “Before you speak ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, it is true, does it improve upon the silence?”