By Darren Littlejohn
In traditional recovery literature, it’s said that we’re as sick as our secrets.
To integrate with our deepest selves, we need to learn how to uncover and be present in our truth and to speak it, live it and work with it in our lives on the planet with other beings, each with their own truths and lies.
Jordan Petersen, the internet-famous Clinical Psychologist, says that to be able to articulate our truth is perhaps the most vital skill we can have. We can’t live in fear of rocking the boat, tipping the scales or upsetting the apple carts if we’re to live full, meaningful lives. The fact that we can think, be conscious and aware of ourselves is the result of billions of years of evolutionary progress. Don’t squander it. But our ideas are of no value if they live in our heads.
Nothing changes until somebody says something.
Some people tell me that they’re private. They don’t want anyone to know their personal affairs. Why not? We’re all here on the planet, as evolved, conscious beings, bumping into each other, blowing each other up, pointing fingers and spinning lies. The truth is that we don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t know how it is that we came to be here, how we live and breathe and have thoughts in the first place. Science, philosophy and religion (or spiritual systems) try to explore these questions.
How can we learn how to be on the planet if everything’s a secret? Maybe there should be no secrets.
That’s why I’ve always shared my story, as openly as possible. I speak my truth. Secrecy is part of the abuse dynamic. When children are assaulted, the #1 tool is that the perpetrators tell them, “It’s our secret.” To train kids to protect themselves against predators, they’re told to say NO, loudly. Keeping the secret keeps the abuse going. This dynamic plays out in all of the sexual abuse scandals.
In yoga, we try to live by the spiritual principle satya, or truthfulness.
When it is an adjective, the word satya can be translated as ‘real, true, authentic, sincere, faithful, loyal’, and as a noun it means ‘reality, truth, veracity, authenticity, sincerity, loyalty’.
The dictionary defines reality as ‘the characteristic of that which is real, that which actually exists, as opposed to that which is imagined, dreamed, fictional’, and truth as ‘the correlation between reality and the individual thinking it.’ Alongside this, the Sanskrit dictionary says of satya, ‘sate hitam satyam’, meaning ‘that which leads towards SAT, Being, reality, is satya.’
From this perspective, the truth is more than a moral obligation. It’s our spiritual duty. When our loved ones, people we trust, aren’t truthful with us, it vibrates against our intuition. Makes us question our reality. When someone that we believe in says black is white but we see black, it energetically messes up our intuition. Think of your own example.
What did it feel like when you caught your lover in a lie?
If I can’t be honest with you then you can’t know me. You can only know the false exterior—never the real person. When we aren’t truthful, we shut ourselves off not only from true relationship, but from our own spirit. That’s pretty powerful reasoning to try to live in satya.
Practice being present in truth, as truth.
Assume the posture of truth. Stand in front of a mirror, preferably full length, clothed or unclothed, with your feet on the ground, hip width distance. Draw your belly in. Tilt the pelvic bowl forward. Tuck your tailbone down. Press your feet into the Earth. Draw your shoulders up, and back and down.
Breath of Truth. Breathe in deep, from the base of the pelvic floor, up into the belly, heart, throat, eyebrows and above you. Fill up. Let out an open, relaxing exhale, with an nice, wide throat. Pause in the emptiness before breathing in. Repeat a few times.
Truth inquiry. Look at yourself in the mirror, right in the eyes. Ask yourself, “What is your truth?” Maintain eye contact. Be present to the feelings in your body. Notice any changes to the breath.
Smile. Your truth is always that you’re a Compassionate Light Being.
Integrate. When you encounter another being, be present. Connect to your power, the power of truth. Be present in the stance of truth. Look them in the eyes. Silently exhale like before. Pause empty. Initiate your light. Offer your presence as your truth.
See what happens.
Darren Littlejohn has graduate education in Psychology and is the bestselling author of four books on Buddhism, including, The 12-Step Buddhist (2009). With over 20 years of sobriety, he’s taught yoga and led groups and retreats for ten years. As a thought leader, his forthcoming work, Compassionate Recovery, offers an entirely new set of paradigms and practices for recovery. When he’s not teaching yoga and writing, Darren does web programming as Data Analyst and runs around San Diego chasing sunshine with his Shih tzu, Gizzy.
Editor: Dana Gornall