Yogic philosophy provides us with 5 guidelines on how to interact with the outer world (called Yamas) and 5 on how to interact with our inner selves (Niyamas). In my Spring 2015 newsletter, I introduced you to one of the five Yamas, Ahimsa, which relates to the concept of non-violence or non-harming.
A second Yama is Asteya (uh-stay-yah), or non-stealing. At its simplest, Asteya means not taking (or intending to take) material objects from others. Anyone raised in a Christian-based culture has certainly encountered its Biblical counterpart, “Thou shalt not steal.” I’d like to think that this interpretation of non-stealing is straightforward and is followed by most people without even having to think about it.
Stealing from others can be far more subtle than that, though, to the extent that it may not even seem like stealing. Checking your facebook timeline or personal email account during work hours while you are being paid by an employer to do work for him or her or using the office printer or photocopier to print personal materials provide a couple of examples to consider.
This becomes even more interesting if you extend Asteya beyond material objects. Interrupting someone who is talking could be viewed as stealing that person’s opportunity to express him or herself, and cutting in front of someone in a lineup could be viewed as stealing his or her time.
As with Ahimsa (non-harming), one could even consider Asteya in terms of stealing from oneself. How often do we set our own wants and needs aside to meet those of others? At times, this is a necessary or noble gesture, but when we do this to please or gain the approval of others, we effectively effect rob ourselves of the opportunity to live our own truth.
Other Articles in this Issue
Balance At Work News & Events – Summer 2015
The Perfect Complement (Article)
Your Body on Yoga: The Spine
Take 5 – Make Time for this Quick Stretch: Crescent Moon
Health Tip: Breathe it Out
Eat Well: Fast & Easy Tahini Dressing