Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya
Om shantih shantih shantih
FROM BRHADARANYAKA UPANISHADS
Meaning: Lead us from changing reality (asat) to the Truth (sat) of unchanging reality. Lead us from spiritual density or darkness forward into spiritual lightness and illumination. Lead us from the identification with the finite body to the identification with the eternal of the soul. Om peace, peace, peace. – Translation: Austin Sanderson
In today’s hyper, emotionally charged world we hear the term “my truth” a lot. You hear it from people when they are discussing their personal life experiences and how those experiences affect them personally. In those situations, they might say, “I am speaking my truth,” or, “Wrong! Your truth is your truth and my truth is mine!” or again, “I am owning this and speaking my truth”…. But the truth is, there is no such thing as “my truth.”
The phrase “my truth” is usually meant to mean some combination of “my opinion” and “my experience.” Unlike either of these phrases, the phrase “my truth” implies an unarguable quality. It comes with an indignant argument of, “you can’t contradict me, because this is `my truth’ and it’s mine.” “My truth” is a subjective claim, it is not a factual matter; it is an expression of beliefs, opinions, and personal preferences that can change at any given time. The bigger problem with the expression “my truth” is that the phrase expresses ownership of Truth itself. It is impossible to be the owner of Truth because real Truth is available to all who seek it.
Unchanging Truth is objective, meaning we all have the ability to experience it and interact with that Truth. Truth is not something you have to feel the need to own or defend against others’ opinions. For the yogi, there is no ownership of Truth – it is universal. It is collective. When you twist the definition of Truth to imply ownership, you are no longer connecting to yoga. “My Truth” is a desperate attempt to grasp, control, and manipulate, attributes not found in yoga.
The first line of the Upanishadic prayer is asato maa sad-gamaya, translated as, “Lead me from the asat (untruth) to sat (Truth).” As with many Sanskrit words, sat has many meanings. Sat is truth, but it is also unchanging reality or existence. In yoga philosophy, sat or Truth has to exist in the past, present, and future all at the same time for it to be sat. Therefore, sat is best understood as “changeless Truth.” The “changeless Truth” of sat cannot be owned or processed by one person, nor by a single community. Real Truth (sat) is what brings us together, allowing us to yoke or create union. Universal Truth is yoga, it is not a singular but a plural that becomes oneness.
“My truth” is something that is constantly shifting like sand on a beach. Think of “my truth” as a child: maybe the child believes in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or monsters under the bed. At that moment “my truth” is “the truth,” but over time that truth changes, vanishing into thin air as you let go of ownership of childish concepts, ideas, and identifications.
This subjective misuse of the word Truth and ownership of Truth creates a problem when people want to speak of objective truth. The yogi stays objective, not influenced by personal feelings. If all our words appeal to our subjective reality, we will lack the language of objectivity when we need to come together in and unite in sat or Truth. Subjectivity is rooted in the attachment to the body, mind, thoughts, and feelings. Yoga teaches that we are not the body, the mind, the thoughts, or feelings, which are all states of changing reality. Yoga teaches that we do not own the body, the mind, the thoughts, or the feelings, because at some point in the cycle of life, we will experience the death of the body, mind, thoughts, and feelings. The goal of all yoga practices is the attachment to unchanging Truth, which has no boundaries.