I was at lunch with a friend the other day, and he was telling me about some issues that he’s facing in his business life.
“Clearly, this is about me choosing the wrong people to rely on in my life.”
“And why do you do that? Pick the wrong people?” I asked.
“Well, I guess it’s not so much the choosing of them, it’s the keeping them around when I know there’s something wrong but I don’t want to fire them.”
“So…you don’t trust yourself?” I asked.
“I guess not,” he sighed.
Ironically, my romantic life usually takes the same route. I start off in a romance with some wonderful, caring, smart, funny, attractive man. And things are amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I have to tell everyone how wonderful the relationship is. One night in the not-so-distant past, I was telling one of my girlfriends about the guy I was dating, how he was kind and caring and loving and that the relationship was really easy. But as the words were coming out of my mouth, I knew there was something inherently untrue about them.
We broke up less than a week later. Why? Because while the relationship was easy in some ways, it was really difficult in other (really important) ways, and, like a pair of jeans that’s a size too tight, it didn’t fit me. He was (and still is) a wonderful guy. But it took me listening to that little, always-right voice inside me that said “tell the truth,” to realize that while he’s a wonderful guy, he’s just not my guy.
Sometimes, it takes questions from a caring, non-judgmental friend to get us to go deeper. (My pal’s lack of trust for himself, like my own, comes from a much deeper place of feelings of unworthiness: a false belief that you don’t deserve x, y, or z because you’re not worthy of those things.)
Other times, it takes a quiet listening to your inner voice: the one that tells you what is good for you, the one that tells you what is bad for you. This little voice is your intuition; it’s like a traffic director for the soul.
So how do we get in touch with the intuition? One way is by practicing satya, or truthfulness. The practice of truthfulness — in thoughts, in words, and in actions — gives us an opportunity to go deeper within ourselves.
We’re all taught not to lie as children (it’s “bad”). But the absence of lying to others does not mean we’re being truthful. We tell little lies to ourselves all the time — that this job or relationship is right for us, that we’re fulfilled when we’re not, that we’ll fix something fundamentally wrong in our lives “when the time is right,” etc. And by living those lies, we make it really difficult to connect with ourselves and others in an open and meaningful way.
There is no magic formula for practicing truthfulness.
For me, writing in a journal always helps; sometimes I don’t know I feel a certain way until the pen reaches the paper and words pour out of me. Also helpful? Talking to friends or teachers with whom I can be open — relationships where it feels ok to be vulnerable and admit that I don’t have it all together (for the record, I definitely don’t). And meditation, which allows me to sort my racing thoughts from what is still and peaceful inside me, is also a great method for distinguishing fiction from nonfiction. (When I’m in a period where I’m lying to myself, I do everything I can to avoid all three of these things.)
When you lie to yourself or you lie to others, you usually feel tight and restricted and altogether pretty yucky. But when you tell the truth, you usually feel a lot lighter. And that lightness, my friends, is intuition telling you that you’re on the right path.
Like any new yoga practice, this yoga — the yoga of truthfulness — takes a lot of effort at first. But the more you practice truthfulness in your life, the easier it becomes to tap into that inner voice, and the easier it is to make decisions in your life that are in line with your intuition.
Author: Megan Grandinetti
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Adriane Dizon/Flickr