Asteya is the practice of non-stealing. I think if you asked the average person they would agree that they do not steal but reading Gates and Kenison (Meditations on the Mat) they give some examples you may not consider. The first is borrowing something and then not returning it. I know for a fact that I have done this a lot in my life. Sam I still have your belt from like 8 years ago. I’m sorry, I was even wearing it yesterday. It was funny for me to consider this as stealing, but the truth is I have something that isn’t mine. Other examples they give are cutting corners on our taxes or being at work and being unproductive. I thought these were powerful examples because I think that at some level we can all relate. These are also examples of being untruthful, which doesn’t honour the yama of satya either.
“When we look honestly at the ways in which we have been stealing, we come to understand that in each instance, there is an attachment to a specific result that overrides our deeper values” (Gates and Kenison p. 42). Desire and being attached to things can make us do things that we would otherwise not do. We take things that are not ours because we want them and we hope we can get away with it. This desire or wanting of things interferes with our ability to live truthfully and with integrity.
The belief is that if we give up wanting, we get exactly what we want. That by trusting we will get what we need, by no longer taking what we desire and by living by right action, we will begin to source from abundance instead of scarcity. Stealing is an action taken in desperation, when we feel as though we aren’t getting what we need. Rather than having our mind-set working from this place of not enough, we need to train ourselves to understand that we actually source from abundance.
I was talking last post about a special on TV I was watching about Thailand. A Thai woman interviewed on the program was explaining how the monks are not allowed to accumulate wealth so everyday they must go and rely on the good will of others for their food. She was saying that the Thais believe by giving, they release their own greed. I thought that statement was so powerful. I often think of money as energy and you have to keep it flowing or it gets stagnant and then can fester.
This belief system requires the leap of faith that the universe will take care of our needs. It also goes against what I have grown up with, in my culture, that our success is measured by our accumulation of wealth. The practice of asteya “is our opportunity to let go fo poverty consciousness. We no longer have to believe that if you win, I lose”(Gates and Kenison, p. 44).