February 2, 2012
Asteya ~ Non-Stealing
As the third Yama, or moral restraint in the ethical teachings of Yoga, we are exploring Asteya. There are many ways that we steal from ourselves, from others, from our future, from our earth and we are taking a good look at how we do these.
Asteya calls us to live with integrity. If we are living in fears, our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives leads us to look outward. We steal from our own opportunity for personal growth if we do not allow ourselves time to contemplate, to look deep within, and understand how we are truly living with integrity.
Again from Deborah Adele’s book on Yamas & Niyamas, she states “An outward focus leads us to compare ourselves to others and to send our energy into their lives in unhealthy ways. when we compare ourselves to others, we either find ourselves lacking, which makes us feel somehow cheated, or we find ourselves superior, which leaves us feeling somewhat arrogant. Our attention on others from a place of discontent within ourselves can lead us to live vicariously through others or to try to control, manipulate, or manage them in order to boost our own sagging ego.”
We also “steal from others by not paying attention to them or discounting them. When we are genuinely caring of the other, that caring finds expression in ways that feel supportive and tender to the other.”
Have we lifted someone else up, or supported someone through genuine caring and really listening? Do we sincerely compliment others, or simply exchange a smile?
When we are stealing from the earth, we forget that we are spirits having a human experience. Deborah Adele states “We are visitors to this land, to our bodies, to our minds. To fully appreciate this reality is to accept that nothing on this physical plane does or can belong to us. This guideline asks us to view everything in our possession as something precious that is on loan to us. And for the time that it is on loan to us, we are asked to care for it.
Developing and maintaining a sense of gratitude is a way that we can practice Asteya. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, we can allow ourselves to be truly grateful for all of the abundance that is right before us! We can be grateful for the many hands that go into the manufacturing, delivering, supplying and caring for goods that we may take for granted on a daily basis. Understand that we are all interconnected in our roles on this planet.
Ultimately, we steal from our future by lusting over goals and possessions. If we can allow ourselves time to sit and look within, we would have the ability to see that we spend too much time dreaming about the future and possibilities of what may come. We lose touch with our competency of right now. We lose the ability to seeing what is right before us. Being present and real, is a way to practice Asteya.