Mar 1, 2021
The third yama is Asteya: non-stealing.
This seems quite simple. Don’t take what doesn’t belong to you.
When we are unhappy with our lives or dysregulated in some way we may find ourselves coveting or desiring what others have. This desire may lead to behaviors that are both dishonest and unkind. That is why both ahimsa and satya are important disciplines as we investigate asteya.
Stealing is more than taking someone else’s material goods. It’s taking others’ ideas and passing them off as your own, cultural appropriation, not honoring someone else’s boundaries, showing up late consistently, and taking advantage of other people's time, resources or generosity.
Mansplaining and Whitesplaining come to mind here as insidious ways that those who are more proximal to power and privilege may engage in stealing without accountability. Exploitation of people and our natural resources are also forms of stealing.
Being conditioned and indoctrinated into a culture of White, heternormative patriarchial capitalism often times leads us to believe that we are not enough. And we may find that this becomes a way that we steal from ourselves. We steal our own peace and joy by comparing ourselves to a past version of ourselves or to others.
Because of social media we may find ourselves in a comparison spiral. We compare our very real life to the curated lives that people share in their social media feeds. This is especially true in the wellness-industrial-complex that we are living in. The female lifestyle empowerment brand as coined by one of my teachers, Kelly Diels, leads many of us to believe that if we just ate more kale, or used this oil, or said this affirmation our life could be as perfect as we desire. Or as perfect as that influencer we are following on social media.
This is, of course, untrue. Most of us know this at a deep level, but with the overwhelm of today’s culture telling us to achieve more, buy more, accumulate more, we may not feel like we are enough as we are. And, therefore desire what we perceive others to have.
But, when we practice asteya we can come to a place of enoughness. We can settle into the belief that we are enough as we are and we don’t need to look outside of ourselves for the next quick fix. Our body already knows what it needs to feel whole.
How can you practice asteya in your daily life:
- Don’t take what is not yours without permission
- Honor the boundaries of your family and friends
- Practice gratitude for all the beauty in your life
- Generosity. Give freely to those who may not have the resources that you have.
- Give credit where credit is due
- Disrupt your own thoughts of not enoughness when they show up
- Delete social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself
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Mar 4, 2021
When we are practicing Brahmacharya we are less likely to make impulsive decisions. We are less likely to behave in ways that are self-indulgent and more likely to make mindful decisions based on how our behavior impacts not just ourselves, but the collective.