Asteya - Non Stealing
" All self-sabotage, lack of belief in ourselves, low self-esteem, judgments, criticisms, and demands for perfection are forms of self-abuse in which we destroy the very essence of our being." – Deborah Adele.
Well we can all look at this and confirm we do not steal. phew... What a relief.
At least I got that one under my belt!!!! Tick this one off....
BUT... As with all practices there are layers of layers of meaning if we are only willing to look deeper. No practice is simple and easy, when our full attention is directed at it, infused with the willingness to consider our way of life with honesty. One of my favorite interpretations for Asteya is not taking that which was not given freely to us: time, energy, etc... This is often a guideline alongside Ahimsa, for adopting a vegan diet, and living more in harmony with planet earth, working toward creating less footprint that burdens the ecosystems and damages it. . No doubt we all have more work to do in this, as it is a never ending path This concept; Asteya, is linked directly with a sense of lack. " I am not enough" or "I do not have enough". We do live in a culture of " not enoughness". Out of this sense of "lack" arises a desire for more. This is a movement outward, externally, to the world, to what others have, or more precisely to what we think others have, and the desire to be "like them" rather than "like me"/ "As I truly am". All spiritual teachings emphasize we have everything we need. Most of us have safe shelter, abundance of food, enough clothes for more than a lifetime. Even if we struggle financially, we have enough to supply for our basic needs and our loved ones. If we don't, then indeed there is a concern and an urgency to attend to this, as basic needs are of great importance. But we do have more than basic needs, and all the others are based in an illusion or misunderstanding. So we are on an attempt to gain more; more love, more attention, more approval, more titles, more status, more clothes, better car, bigger house, and so the list goes on.
. . So perhaps take time to reflect: Where do I feel a sense of lack in my life? Where do I feel a sense of lack, and "not enoughness"on the mat? What can I cultivate to move towards more gratitude and contentment. Suggestions to practice Asteya ON the mat:
Arrive to class 10 minutes before it begins. - This might mean skipping the "just one more thing / email/ task", allowing enough time for parking or walking, and getting earlier. This will represent respect to yourself, your time, the teachers' time and energy , the other students' time and energy, and to this ancient practice.
Choose to stay in "easier" variations and try to feel more content with less. Less physical strain and effort. less "progress" (according to Western standards...)
Prioritise the breath
Make sure your breath is the top priority of your practice and not the Asana / the pose. If you moved into a deeper variation, where you can't breathe fully, then step back, making sure you do not "steal" the breath, life force, from your
Don't take more space than you really need. Remember you have everything you need within you. Peace is within and is not dependent on external elements.
Suggestions to practice Asteya OFF the mat:
Focusing the mind on what you already have, that which you are very possibly taking for granted, and retraining the mind to see the whole full picture, rather than just one shade, color of element.
When you are alone, focus on your alone time
A gratitude practice every morning / every night (or both).
When you are with others, pay your full attention to them
Reduce multitasking, so you give your full attention and energy to the person you are with/ the task you are attending to.
Be clear with your words and intentions.
minimize your footprint: consume consciously and ethically, switch off all lights and electricity switches when leaving the house, avoid using Dryers when the sun is shining
Consider a vegan diet. It might be one day a week or more, depending on where you are at and what steps you can take that will be sustained over long periods of time.
We will be exploring this more in the studio so join us in classes in the studio or via zoom. . Namaste