It is easy to think of “nonstealing” as simply the avoidance of taking possessions that are not ours. It goes much deeper than this. The concept is the same, as stealing develops a mistrust and stress. We are a crafty species and will steal out of jealousy and necessity. This is a delicate line to toe. This line asks to contemplate integrity and what it means.
Asteya, or nonstealing, calls us to live with integrity and reciprocity. If we are living in fears and lies, our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives leads us to look outward, with a tendency to steal what is not rightfully ours. We steal from others, we steal from the earth, we steal from the future, and we steal from ourselves. We steal from our own opportunity to grow ourselves into the person who has a right to have the life they want.
Stealing from Others
Mantra – I am a forklift.
When we compare ourselves to others, we either find ourselves lacking, which makes us feel somehow cheated, or we find ourselves superior, which leaves us feeling somewhat arrogant. Our attention on others from a place of discontent within ourselves can lead us to live vicariously through others or to try to control, manipulate, or manage them in order to boost our own sagging ego. We may find ourselves trying to “trump” or “one-up” their stories and successes and experiences by coming behind them with our own more fabulous tale. It is all an attempt to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. Thief.
Or perhaps we steal from others by not paying attention to them or discounting them. In all the instances where we steal, we have made the situation about us, not about the other. When we feel unhappy with ourselves or our lives, we have a tendency to drag people down with us or make snide comments that come from jealousy.
“Be a forklift; you should always be lifting people up.” The question we can ask ourselves in our encounters with others is, does the other person feel uplifted and lighter because they have been with us, or do they feel like something precious was taken from them? Have we brightened their day by taking a moment to listen, to sincerely compliment them, or simply to smile?
Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele