Satvada is a big yogic concept for me these days. Satvada is the idea that everything is real. Dreams, thoughts, ideas, fantasies… it’s all real. Even misunderstanding and confusion is real.
Satvada eliminates a whole realm of discussions that I like to have with myself. The “is that real?” discussion. It goes like this: “Did I imagine that she was giving me the stink eye? Have I made up a story that is just in my head but isn’t actually happening? Am I remembering what actually happening or were my feelings getting in the way of seeing that clearly?” Guess what. It doesn’t matter if I’m imagining, misunderstanding, confused, neurotic, or so blissed out that everything is rosy. Real is anything that I experienced and felt. And you know why? Because real or imagined, that stuff that is going on in my head and in my feeling world is influencing how I’m behaving, like it or not. How I perceive a situation affects my behavior. My perceptions, accurate or inaccurate, are real.
This really does simplify things for me. I’m no longer having that annoying analytical debate centered around figuring out if something is worth figuring out. Satvada says it’s all happening to me so it’s significant. It’s all a part of my experience and correct or incorrect, it is real. The experience of understanding correctly, misunderstanding, feeling, thinking, imagining, creating is really happening in my mind or system so, yeah, it’s real. It has the power to influence how I see things and how I behave.
Self-doubt is really devastating to the ole self-confidence. I have a way of backing myself into a corners with, “was that real or am I making this up”? I couldn’t even allow myself to feel angry or hurt or sad because “maybe I was just imagining it all and really, I should get my shit together and not feel that way at all”. That sort of thing leads to denial and suppression of feelings and all that sort of unhelpful, therapy worthy work. Satvada has given me permission to believe what I’m feeling. Because I am no longer questioning whether what I’m feeling is real, or worthwhile or “just in my head,” I get to skip ahead to, “there that is again and what is there to do about it?” It is empowering. At a subtle level, this is helping me to trust myself more fully. It’s kind of like satvada lets us acknowledge the elephant in the room and then try to figure out the real challenge of what to do about it instead of worrying if that elephant in the room is real or not.
This may sound like something small, but it has had a big effect on how I think about and see myself in the world. Because I now I don’t discount what I think and feel—I don’t discount the emotions that come up and I don’t try to ignore the stuff I’m feeling that isn’t congruent with the way I wish I felt. Satvada allows me to say, “I felt this way and it’s real and it had an impact on what I did in that situation.”