Empowering Curious Minds

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Satya, Santosh, and the Bingo Game No One Wants to Play

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the bingo game no one wants to play

Satya (Truthfulness) and Santosh (Contentment)

Our second yama, satya, refers to truthfulness and authenticity.

  • In its purest form, its own relative version of shauca, it is a simple concept. We may experience satya through our underlying intuition – our felt experience and drive toward or away from people and things.
  • In its ego-based form, for many, satya becomes a game of matching and obligation. A societal call of Bingo where no one has the ability to check your card.

B4: Thin and/or buff

O32, O32: Heterosexual

G16: Willing to compromise on what they really want (satya) and what brings them authentic happiness (santosh), in exchange for others love, acceptance, validation, and approval

Who is calling this fallace game? In playing, we find ourselves oriented towards “winning” – both unintentionally and lovingly motivated by the validating acceptance of others, but also by an influence external to our own experienced authenticity, nonetheless.

What does it mean to be authentic? I don’t know – it keeps changing for me.

  • Authentically, I am not the same person I was 10 years ago.
  • Nor 1 year ago.
  • Nor 1 month ago.
Expanding this dynamic flow of authenticity and truthfulness outside of our own experience, what is authentic and true in one person’s experience will likely not be the same for another. Everything is subject to our unique compositions, situations, & contexts. “I am a woman” – this in itself is incomplete. What is it to be “a woman”? Is there only one version? For all eternity? For all cultures? In this process, of trying to comprehend, we must be careful to not assume meaning or association based on our own experience and instead be open to what that experience is, for each of us.

Labels such as gender or sexual orientation intended to offer an assumed understanding to the general populous often hurt us in the end as both our internal and external experiences are always changing. We are always changing. A label provides an obligation to be fulfilled, even when offered as a well-intended description. But, my label, though spelled the same, may vary in its definition from yours, from theirs, etc. Already, there is confusion, misrepresentation, & misperception present.

As a society, we have constructed these archetypes – these methods of being and ways of behaving that are “acceptable”, dare I even say, encouraged. It is in this process of matching the externally generated constructs, the scripts of identity, and the methods of being that we become performance-oriented. And yet, this is how we win Bingo.

The second niyama, santosh, examines the qualifiers to our contentment and the, often falsely assumed, prerequisites to our happiness. Distracted by these (once again often externally obligated), points of evaluation, we become less focused on our own experienced happiness – baited by the reward of winning Bingo.

What does the winner of Bingo get, anyway? Is it not a cry for help to have so much self-doubt and lack of trust in oneself that we are swept up in the current of what happiness is supposed to look like instead of what, who, and when we derive it from? Do we truly need that much validation? In our discussions of the first yama, ahimsa last month, is Bingo not a process of downsizing the authentic care and acceptance of ourselves in favor of others validation?

This system is…flawed. Confusing, and flawed. When the system doesn’t work and leaves us feeling discontented and unsatisfied, we still dare not question its prescribed methodology – no, instead we question ourselves. No wonder we shy away from our truths, our satya! We exist in a society that simultaneously shouts SEX in our faces at every media opportunity and also reinforces the idea that sex is private, should not be talked about, and is somehow still lewd if not “properly” discussed.

What has this resulted in?

  1. A fundamentally lacking system of sex education.
  2. Repressed relational communication.
  3. Unethical rules, regulations, and societal censorship around sex and sexuality.
Not to mention the heaps of mixed messaging in our school systems, family systems, media portrayals, and sexual stimuli (ie: porn). These notions that “sex is a private thing” have created a shame-based culture. One where we are left with limited options to openly explore our sexual selves, let alone express them!
  • How do we create a culture, both in our own personal relationships & in society, where it feels okay to talk about sex and ask questions about sex?
  • How do we create a safe space for ourselves to set these societal constructs aside (santosh) and expand into the freedom of the unknown in terms of what our authentic truths (satya) look like through the lens of our sexual expression?
  • Once discovered in the roaming hills of sexuality, how do I fluidly embrace and support my journey (interests, desires, kinks, etc.)?
I don’t yet know the answer to these questions. In part, these are the questions that guide my practice. Blessings to mine, and to yours.  

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Larissa Farrell

Environmentalist, yogini, sex educator, & graphic designer.