The Urban Monk Workshop is a 4 week workshop guided by the WanderingYogi on how to meditate. Using breath, with a bit of a tap dance around other important stuff, like diet, clean living, and a healthy mindset.
Held about 3 times a year, for four weeks for 1 hour each sessions, all wanna be Urban Monks learn to practice meditation using different breath techniques drawn from the Eastern traditions. Wrapped within a theme (this is the WanderingYogi way).
Our themes for each weekly session are based on the yamas, a set of views on how to live your life, full of positive dharma.
Meditation on its own will get you so far down the spiritual peaceful path. But sooner or later, you need additional survival tools. Yamas are one such set. They help us cut through the mental overgrown rainforest of habit energies, internal narrative. They help us see the pure truth.
SATYA – THE TRUTH
“the virtuous restraint from falsehood and distortion of reality in one’s expressions and actions” Wikipedia
‘Virtuous’ – the word always makes me think of the 18th century bunting boards that were placed between men and women who were not married who slept together (yep, they did do this a lot – due to travel required to meet with suitable life ‘companions’ before the age of motor cars and planes, and limited accommodation in the residence of said life companion).
Practicing satya requires the introduction of mental bunting boards, and something else – a desire to seek truth.
The prefix word ‘sat’ literally translates as ‘true essence’ or ‘true nature’. ‘Sat’ also holds other meanings; ‘unchangeable’, ‘that which has no distortion’, ‘that which is beyond distinctions of time, space and person’, and ‘reality’.
Many Sanskrit words use the prefix ‘sat’ such as ‘satsang’ meaning ‘true company’ and ‘sattva’ meaning ‘pure’, which leads us to understand that satya is about something that is unchanged and pure – the ‘real’ truth.
But most of us spend most of our lives developing ‘truths’ through the lenses of our emotions and storylines which have little to do with an unchanged and pure truth. Our thoughts, emotions and moods are extremely interchangeable, so much so that if we stop to think about how skittish we are, we might begin to understand why it is so hard for any of us to be able to communicate to each other. Yet these create our truth and our whole life experience. And then we pass these onto others, as ‘the way life is’.
For most of us, truth is a relative construct. One man’s truth is another man’s poison the saying goes.
Much of our time is spent not actually seeing the truth or reality in any of our life situations, but a version of it with which we can ‘live’, or tolerate.
Learning to manage these ‘vrittis’, fluctuations of the mind, is key to understanding the pure truth, and also the great reveal of meditation.
Debating whether we tell someone they look fat in that dress, or this colour doesn’t suit them is not the kind of truth that practicing satya is geared up for – although keeping busy with this kind of issue is just the thing our monkey mind loves.
Satya is about not distorting reality to others, and to ourselves. We have to start with ourselves, and then from there, the issue of whether to tell someone about whether you saw their partner kissing someone else, becomes very clear.
Meditation, and the practice of breath counting, forces our mind to focus, double down as they say in the corporate world, and the immense process of creating bunting boards between those thoughts that just seem to want to hang around, and removing those that are simply overgrowth begins.