The first time I learned about ASTEYA and the concept of non-stealing, my Catholic-school educated brain went PING! Thou shalt not steal~I got this. Wrong. I got part of it. We all know (hopefully) that we should not take what is not ours. But that’s where my knowledge of non-stealing ended.
Let’s add some layers…this is where it gets murky and uncomfortable, so consider yourself duly warned. What about that book you borrowed from your neighbor last month? Did you return it after you finished with it or do you even know where it is? Asteya is the not returning of said book. Unintentional more than likely, but lacking in mindfulness.
My personal favorite aspect of this yama about non-stealing concerns attention seeking. If someone does not give us the attention we believe we deserve, how do we handle that? Are there temper tantrums, pouting, retaliation? Do we get angry and source drama to feed what we think we need? All good, relevant questions. And should we have to steal someone else’s valuable time? What lies at the root? Insecurity, loneliness, jealousy? We have to address these issues ourselves…that doesn’t belong to anyone else.
Rolf Gates’ book MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT also goes into even further detail. His discussion of asteya on days 31 through 33 points out that stealing is also a manifestation of a lack of faith that we will have what we need, that the universe will provide. Doesn’t it always? This yama calls us to step out in faith and to stop clutching.
Lots of thoughts about this one…it is one of my constant battles. That said, I’m gathering library books and looking around to see if there’s anything else I need to return. Let the practice begin.