Lots of yoga to be explored off of the mat during these uncertain times we find ourselves in.
Satya is the Sanskrit word for truth. It is one of the 5 Yamas (ethical considerations) in Ashtanga yoga. It refers to being truthful not only with one's words, but also thoughts and actions. when practicing Satya we restrain ourselves from falsehoods and the distortion of reality in our expressions and actions.
Ahimsa means non-violence or non-harming. In observing ahimsa we refrain from actions that harm living creatures by not only deeds but also words and thoughts.
Here we have two newspaper front pages. Compare and contrast. Their content is broadly the same, and is satya. But is it? Do either communicate the information in a way which distorts? They create quite different realities with their words.
Does one use language which is more emotive, more likely to induce panic, more likely to create harm?
I am going to say yes. You may disagree. I am going to say yes based on the context of my 'waste of time subject' A-Level Media Studies; the half my childhood spent hanging around my parents' newsagents when there was nothing to do apart from read every newspaper to while away the hours, especially on the 6-9pm shift; the college and university years of psychology and the influence of people like my MSc supervisor whose PhD supervisor was MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, where I was introduced to the ideas and evidence that language influences and creates everything from gender identity, to racial prejudice, to the politics of fear.
Language reports. But it also creates. The two can be quite different beasts.
I've had a few conversations in the last 48 hours where I went away and fact checked things people had 'heard'. And these checks found that what they'd heard, and retold, wasn't true at all. Or was an exageration or distortion. I am sure they didn't mean to pass on falsehoods, but they had.
I've had reassuring and helpful conversations with a neighbour who just happens to be an environmental health practitioner, whose day-to-day work includes outbreaks and disease management (because of the natural self-isolation most people in London impose on themselves once they get home in the evening, I had no idea).
I've also seen and spoken with people previously calm about the virus who are now reposting things on social media which err on the side of panic.
These things might reflect your own feelings, undoubtably if you're reposting them they do, as we curate our echo chambers on social media. But shouting into the void isn't shouting into the void. It is seen and it may perpetuate or fan the flames of panic.
If you repost something, or hear something, I urge you to check first: is it satya? Will this action be ahimsa? Even one of my favourite things, statistics - 'numerical facts!' you cry - can be spun, misinterpreted, and are meaningless without context of population, or depending on the variations between one cohort and another.
Let's reflect and breathe. Let's take responsibility for our actions, practice sauca (cleanliness), and protect our vulnerable.
The divine in me bows to the divine in you.