Finding and Being Your Authentic Self

Sutra II.36: “When one is established in truthfulness, one ensures the fruition of actions.”

Being truthful in speech and living one’s truth requires willpower. From our teen years on, we develop a set of mental guidelines to keep us “safe” and on the “right side of people’s opinions of us.” The teachings in yoga aim to evolve our mind’s thinking. Yoga teaches us to live authentically and truthfully and to not attach to other’s views of us in any way. Simple to write. Easy to read, Hard to do. One of my absolute favorite sayings is “It’s none of your business what other people think of you.” Why? Because you have zero control over it. ZERO! Their view of you comes from their lens, their mind, their life experiences and feelings. Everyone on the planet has people that dislike them. Even someone as kind and pure as Mother Theresa did, I’m quite sure. It’s inevitable because of our authenticity. Each of us is uniquely beautiful. With those beautiful differences often comes judgement. We are all learning and evolving every day we walk this earth. Each of us, however, is evolving in our own timeframe. Some people choose to look at themselves with a critical eye, some with a fearful eye and some with a goal of overall wellness and a healthy maturation. Some of these lenses may cause suffering, though none of these viewpoints are wrong. According to the yoga sutras, the goal of yoga is to end suffering. The original yogis realized that suffering did not stop with physical pain. Quite the contrary. The majority of our suffering (including physical suffering) has roots in our mind and spiritual health. If we are not living our truth, it’s quite difficult to remain healthy.

It is not always easy to improve our mind and spiritual health. It’s a whole lot easier to go to a gym and walk on a treadmill for a half an hour to improve our physical being. Improving our spiritual being and our overall mental and physical health takes true introspection, acknowledgement and ownership of what is found and an effort to make a cognitive change. The yoga tradition has outlined eight limbs (parts to living) to aid in living a life filled with satya (truth). The work begins with choice. One must choose to live freer and healthier.

There is a tremendous level of freedom that comes from authenticity of word, action and thought in our lives. This is not to be confused with telling Aunt Ruth exactly what you think of her and then claiming you’re standing by your authentic nature. There is no rudeness or cruelty in truthfulness and authenticity. Upon attaining satya, you won’t feel the same about the people around you and their personalities. It will all look different. Therefore, you would never feel animosity toward another for their way of living. It’s like a complex mental dance really. But the work put in is totally worth it to live a fuller, freer life.

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