In Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom, yoga teacher Colleen Saidman Yee writes in a line that gets to the raw heart of authenticity: The term Satya means “truthfulness” in Sanskrit. So many of us are lying to ourselves; we’re putting an identity out there that we want other people to see, and we’re hiding, from ourselves and others, who we truly are.
This reminded me of a talk the Irish poet John O’Donahue gave before his death for the podcast On Being. Talking about identity and the idea that it is far more fluid than we believe it to be, he said that when he came to America, he said he found people would freely tell him their biography but that he could tell it was a condensed identity that took out the story of who they were.
I find the end of the year can be stressful, a time where I feel like I haven’t accomplished all I think I should have if I look back at the lists I’ve reduced my life to back in January. I’m not where my goal lists have intended me to be. And at the same time, this year in particular, I have delved so much deeper into my personal practice and feel like I began operating from a larger space. How to reconcile this?
So instead of preparing a list of resolutions for January or a review of what you have and haven’t done. I invite you to take a few minutes and consider your life in a larger context.
Take a few long breaths.
Then ask yourself, what is the story you tell others about who you are? And what do you leave out? What do you hide?
When I ask these questions of myself, I find it opens me up to a sense of being OK. And oddly, while I feel less need to share a story, I feel more open to others. any story is ultimately limiting. We aren’t characters in a book or TV show. Our lives aren’t linear. they don’t always make sense. We are so much larger. This is really what the practice has to teach us.