Day 18 of the Feast
Dear One,

Are you familiar with the yoga sutras? They're considered the fundamental text on the system of yoga, though in it, you won’t find the description of a single posture or asana . Instead, you find a guide for living with expanded awareness. The author of the sutras, Patanjali, who has been called “the father of yoga,” and was a physician and philosopher. Although no one is exactly certain when he lived, it’s estimated that it was somewhere between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D.

The first line in the first chapter of the yoga sutras is  "Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ" w hich translates as: yoga is the settling down of the fluctuations of the mind.

Patanjali compiled 195 more sutras (a word which means aphorism, with the same root as suture!) which are considered to be the essential components of a path called Raja Yoga , the royal path to union.  In Raja yoga, there are 8 limbs, and one of the limbs is called the Yamas. Yamas are the attitudes we have when interacting with others. There are five of them. The one I want to share today is Satya.

Satya is the practice of being committed to truthfulness. It's an idea that suggests that honest communication is the bedrock of any healthy relationship, workplace, community, or government. When applying Satya to your own life, be gentle with yourself and others and be careful not to be too literal. It means speaking the truth, not misleading anyone, and considering how what we say, or don't say, may affect others.

Truthfulness and integrity arise naturally. When you practice satya, you are saying what you mean and meaning what you say. You speak without exaggeration, and also distinguish your observations from your interpretations. You choose to align your thoughts, words, and actions. And this brings you a life of peace, purity, and freedom.

On has to consider whether what they say is kind, true or necessary. Speaking the truth for truth’s sake, for example, is not more important than maintaining a kind, nonviolent attitude and demeanor. If your truth is simply to reveal something painful but will have no social benefit, it may in fact not be the true practice of Satya to express it.

Lying, at the core, is motivated by fear. Practicing satya can help you to realize that the short-term benefits of distorting the truth are outweighed by the discomfort that arises from betraying your integrity.

Most of us know our truth deep within. And though many of us might not listen to our inner knowing, or want to override it because we are being polite (or delusional), I aim not to. So, let's commit to practicing satya in each and every moment.
Thank you for putting your spirituality first during this time of deep practice. I am practicing with you.

Love, Sarah

Sarah McLean
Director, Feast for the Soul, Inc.

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Meditation Teacher Highlight
Valerie Skonie is the founder of the Feast for the Soul. Her passion is to help others find their way to a daily spiritual practice and deepen their access to their own inner wisdom. Read her book, a Path to Peace, here.

During the Feast, Valerie shared Heart-Centered Meditations. In this beautiful meditation you'll be guided into awakening your heart center.

Spiritual Practice Tip
Be patient and kind to yourself.

As you make the commitment to deepen your practice, it’s likely you’ll experience some major transformation. Sometimes this expansion and transformation can feel really good, while sometimes it can feel uncomfortable. If life gets difficult, remember, there are no accidents, you are ready for this expansion of awareness, and it’s happening right on time.

The awakening experience is describe in this poem by Rumi, the 13th Century Persian mystic, and is translated by Coleman Barks.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Living the Feast
Seeing the Truth

Each situation we come across offers us the opportunity to see the truth if we are open to it. A daily practice of slowing down, taking a deeper breaths, and observing people, situations, and things as they really are can help bring us closer to peace and serenity. From there we can move from darkness to light. From the unreal to the real. I use this Asato Maa  mantra from the ancient Upanishads as a daily prayer to support me as I aim for truth:

Asato Maa
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya

“Lead me from the unreal to the real
From darkness (ignorance) to light (knowledge)
From death to immortality”
I like to listen to this version by Deva Premal here.
Or the one by George Harrison and Ravi Shakar below.
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