Non-stealing, Got It, Right?
Posted by terrepruitt on February 19, 2016
The Eight Limbs of Yoga, two of which are yamas and niyamas, restraints and observances. Yamas as ethical principles and niyams as spiritual practices. The first yama being ahimsa – non-violence, the second being satay – truthfulness. The third is asteya – non-stealing. This one kinda lands like the non-violence one. Seems pretty easy. But then just like the non-violence yama, it has its in-between-the-lines and fine print. Non-stealing can mean a lot of things.
In The Heart of Yoga T.K.V. Desikachar’s notes asteya as:
“Noncovetousness or the ability to resist a desire for that which does not belong to us.”
Oh. A little different that just “non-stealing”. It is going so far as to say we should not covet things that do not belong to us. Uh, I think that adds a whole different spin to this yama. I mean, I will go out on a limb and say most of us are not going to go out and STEAL our neighbor’s whatshehaveit, but we might WANT it. We might even think about if we had one our self. We might even imagine us having one and him not. Or us all having one and using them together. But we are coveting when we do that. We are wanting that which is not ours.
He also notes:
“One who is trustworthy, because he does not covet what belongs to others, naturally has everyone’s confidence and everything is shared with him, however precious it might be.”
We can also be stealing other things. If we are focusing our attention on wanting what is not ours we are “stealing” attention from what we do have. Possibly from people and things that are deserving of our attention.
One of my teachers mentioned jealous as a cause for stealing. Dominating someone’s time if we are jealous of attention they are giving to someone else. She also compares greed to stealing because we are taking more than we need. So sometimes asteya has a hint of non-hoarding, since some consider taking more than one needs a form of stealing. It is being taken away from someone else that might need it and then kept and not used. Some of this might be the more difficult stuff to work on.
But if we work on it we might feel more at peace. I know that when I am not spending my time thinking about what I don’t have I have more time to enjoy what I do have. And, as I said, that time is not “stolen” from what is present.
As I said when I started posting about the eight limbs and especially the yamas and the niyamas, they can get pretty deep. They can be explored and examined at great length. I am just barely introducing them. Hopefully giving you something to think about. I know they have me thinking.