Updated: Feb 19, 2022
In the month of April, Journey Forward is focusing on the third Yama - “Asteya”, or non-stealing.
We’ve all been taught from a young age not to steal. And yet, we’ve all been tempted. At one point in our lives we’ve likely physically stolen something from someone (think of how a child steals a toy away from another child). It’s a human reaction to wanting more, and wanting what others have.
When we practice Asteya, we are only taking what is ours. We are believing that there is more than enough to go around. Asteya moves out of the physical realm too. When practicing it, we respect others’ boundaries, opinions, and processes. We respect those things for ourselves too.
Here are some ways you can think about the practice of Asteya in your own life:
To not listen to others, is stealing a chance for you to learn and grow.
To judge others, takes away your chance to learn new (perhaps improved) ways.
To interrupt others while they’re speaking, is stealing their air-time.
To constantly talk during meetings, you’re stealing space from others to shine.
To deny someone's story/truth, you're taking security from them.
To show up late, robs you of your peace.
To show up late, you’re stealing the experience from others (when we’re late, people have to rearrange for us).
To want what someone else has, denies your own journey.
To compare ourselves to others, steals our own uniqueness away.
To stay up too late, you’re robbing yourself of your serenity.
In writing this, I'm realizing how much I’m stealing from myself when I miss grocery shopping over the weekend, and when I stay up late on a school night. I'm realizing I'm totally stealing my own peace by getting up late and rushing to work almost every day. I’m also taking from others with my lateness by rushing and having road rage and being a little exasperated when I arrive at school.
I'm also celebrating some things when it comes to Asteya. I'm proud of the work I’ve done to not repeat another person’s idea in a meeting - everyone repeating the same thing leads to us stealing valuable time. In that same vein, not taking someone’s idea without giving them credit. I've been trying to always give credit to the person who gave me the idea, or appreciate someone who is helping make something happen. In that example, I’m not afraid that me giving credit to someone else is going to steal anything away from me.
Life is a balance between give and take. We must try to give more than we take, and yet we still must take what is needed for us to be at peace. When thinking about Asteya, what are you doing well? Where can you improve? How can you help others to elevate their voices (recognizing someone that’s talking too much/not enough)? How can you take self-care steps for yourself to gain more serenity? There is more than enough goodness to go around. We don’t need to take it from others, and we owe it to ourselves to give ourselves part of the goodness too:)
Happy April, Happy Spring! All the JFY teachers are very excited to dive into Asteya with you this month.