Asteya – The Art of Non-stealing

I’ve seen this written on a sign a thousand times. It’s in every single locker room of the yoga studio I’ve been going to since 2009. Makes sense for a locker room – where we keep all of our personal belongings while in class. Don’t steal. Duh.

Today’s class was based around Asteya – the art of non-stealing. I’m a little surprised that I hadn’t thought of it this way before. An Art.

It’s not about stealing someone’s personal belongings. In fact, that’s quite easy. Most of us are not thieves in the typical sense. But really think about it though, how much do you steal from others? What thoughts? What behaviors? How much of what’s in your head is really your own? HOW MUCH ARE YOU STEALING FROM YOURSELF? Of course.. I must research more. 

Desire or Want is the Root cause for Stealing – Swami Sivananda

It becomes an art when you are able to cease comparing yourself to others and truly experience a moment, a feeling, an opinion 100% on your own. Not an easy thing to do these days. And to be honest, I don’t think it’s possible to achieve 100% unless you bury yourself in a hole and want to experience eating dirt by yourself.

How can you improve your Asteya skills? I for one need to work on it myself….

  1. Be content with what comes to you by honest means.
  2. Redefine your relationship with time. Are you always rushing through life; trying to cram in as much as you can? Full attention is what makes something rich, not necessarily the activity itself.
  3. Appreciate rather than conceal. Beauty lies within imperfection. Sadly, most of us take on enormous pressure to meet standards of appearance that are unnatural instead of appreciating our uniqueness. I’m guilty of this for sure.
  4. Give up your hoarding ways. The idea of hoarding is another aspect of asteya–when you are keeping more than what you need for yourself instead of sharing with others.
  5. In the words of B. Marley, “Don’t worry, be happy.” If the root cause of stealing is desire, when you give up desire for things, all sorts of wealth will come to you by itself.

Sure, it’s all a bunch or philosophical mumbo-jumbo, but I dig it. And If you don’t, you can kindly F off 🙂

Asteya reminds us that you never get a day back, but you always have the moment at hand. Practicing asteya will help you explore the small ways you withhold care and respect from yourself. The result is a deeper and more honest relationship with life that no one can take away from you.

Welp… I’m off to go asses my closet and de-hoard my life. Baby steps ppl. Baby steps.

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