As I have written before, the nature of the Yamas and Niyamas is circular. That is, you can’t do them step by step, one at a time. It doesn’t work like that. There’s no linear progression. When you meditate on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali the Yamas and Niyamas bleed into one another as they carry you through your journey of Yoga. I find it impossible to talk of one without the others coming in.
Asteya is non stealing. That is, to not take anything that is not rightfully yours or willingly given to you. And the world we live in is unfair. It’s full of pain. And it can often seem like the people who are the least deserving are the ones who receive the most. Like right now there are people with disabilities whose benefits get cut, people on the poverty line, food banks being used in a country like the UK whose citizens shouldn’t need that. But they do. Meanwhile the cast of ‘The Only Way is Essex’ have money to burn and all the resources and free time in the world to get interviewed about their latest faddy diet or failed romance. Good people suffer and characters that seem to do nothing useful whatsoever thrive. Why would that NOT make anyone bitter?
There is also a current trend in the New Age community to blame poverty or lack on oneself. For not feeling deserving enough or not doing the right visualizations. Or low self esteem. And its intoxicating too, these books like ‘The Secret’ that promise you that you can have all your ego desires if only you put it out there. There’s nothing wrong with having desires, dreams and goals. However, the danger with this mentality is the total lack of acceptance of the here and now. And the lack of acceptance that sometimes shit DOES happen and that’s going to humble you. That which makes you vulnerable.
When you make a commitment to NOT STEALING this is far deeper than not being naughty and going out shoplifting. This is a deep commitment to accept what you have. This is a commitment to not misappropriate ever. It’s a commitment to not take credit for someone else’s hard work.
Actually it’s funny how in a weird way it then relates to ‘The Secret’ and all those books I generally have a problem with. For if you need to steal it’s because you feel you lack something even if materially you do not. If you need to steal then you are actually buying into all the distractions of the world we live in.
Your eternal being has a luminosity that you are trying to uncover through your Yoga practice. You are not trying to build anything. You are not trying to achieve anything. All you are doing is trying to uncover what always was and always will be and when you discover that- or even a glimpse of that- then all the details don’t matter so much. One of the strangest side effects for me in my Yoga practice is how it has made the Bible make sense. And i don’t go to Church. Religion wise I’m an Occultist. I do my best to see the truth and love it regardless of any rituals around it. But when I was meditating on Asteya i saw Christ’s temptations in his forty days in the wilderness and then I understood that story. When you are so tired, so lacking, so desperate your very being is nearly over why would you not give into temptation? Because temptation is like a shroud that is draped over Truth.
When you feel the need to steal then you lack something and so your platform is unsteady. There’s a chink in your armour. You still have work to do. If you feel the need to steal then you have accepted the limitations of this world and you have bought into all it’s distractions. If you steal an idea then perhaps you do not believe or just have not yet experienced the unlimited wisdom the quiet mind can tap into. When the mind is calm truth can filter down into it and express itself through the medium of whatever body-mind you happen to have been given and so no two peoples version of truth will ever be the same but regardless of that you cannot really counterfeit the luminosity of divine wisdom. Words can be a vehicle of truth but you need to find your own voice and you need to find your own truth. You can’t hitch a ride on someone else’s and nor should you try to. It’s ok to feel inspired, as long as you honour the one who inspired you.
You don’t get to steal other people’s energy either. Fixating on someone is a form of stealing. But really you’re just stealing from your own potential when you do that. When you believe someone else can answer things on your behalf. When you think they are your solution.
Do you see what’s happened here? Asteya- Non stealing- is in so many ways tied up with Satya- truthfulness. And acceptance too. Sometimes you can do nothing about poverty. But you can choose to accept where you are. And you can choose to never be ashamed of your own story.
And if you want, you can even choose to believe that your freedom to choose your beliefs will buy you new freedom and prosperity that no amount of money ever would. And see where that takes you.