Asteya- Non-stealing


Every month, WE highlights a specific virtue from the yogic code of ethics, as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra, the most widely regarded text on yoga.  The third virtue in this 10-part blog series, and the theme for March at WE, is Asteya- non-stealing.


“When we feel connected to the vastness of life and are confident of life’s abundance, we are naturally generous and able to practice the third yama, non-stealing, Asteya.”  -Donna Farhi, Teaching Yoga

At first glance, “non-stealing” seems like a fairly uncomplicated command because most of us do not steal.  But is this really true? 

When we look more closely, we see the subtle layers of the constraint.  Do we steal from the present moment when we worry about the future or brood over the past? Do we steal someone’s time when we are late for an appointment?  Do we steal when we take more than we need? 

Ghandi spoke to this form of stealing in his 11 Vows by saying, “Most of us improperly multiply our wants and thus, unconsciously make thieves of ourselves.”  In our greed for more and more, are we stealing from contentment?  

The core belief that drives us to steal in, any of its forms, is a distorted relationship with the universe.  Instead of seeing ourselves swimming in a world of goodness, abundance, light, and plenty, we often see the world through a lens of scarcity, fear, and lack.  When our soul feels greedy or jealous in response to other people’s good fortune, we are surely seeing through this distorted lens. One person’s fortune does not detract from our own opportunity for success.  There is plenty!  In fact, the world in which we live is bubbling over with abundance and provision. 

We see the world as we are, not as it actually is.  If we are fearful, we see the world as a scary place.  If we are joyful, we see the world as a festival. 

Let’s take a breath and start fresh.  We actually have everything we need already inside of ourselves.  The source of all strength, wisdom, power, love, joy, peace and hope is already inside.  We are stamped through and through with the Divine- and the Divine lacks nothing. 

Therefore, we exist and move and have our being in abundance.  Once we are rightly related to the world, we will no longer feel the desire to steal because we will no longer experience lack. 

In the words of Pantanjali, “To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.” We realize we already have what we need within and we no longer need to steal to feel complete. We can then honor ourselves and one another by being on time to our appointments, by not worrying about the future, by being present and aware in each moment, and by not taking more than we need of anything. 

We are enough.  We have enough.  There is enough.  In this spirit we can establish our steps in Asteya.  


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