In Sanskrit, asteya means “avoidance of non-stealing”. I skipped over this yama and went right to brahmacharya, so how about we revisit? Non-stealing is pretty straight forward, many of the yamas are, but there are always deeper ways of looking at things. What ways do we steal? Look at the things you do every day, and see what could be considered a form of stealing. Are you stealing? If so, how can you mindfully stop?
Taking a look at my own daily routines, I realized that I have a lot of stealing going on. Stealing time during work to get on my phone, randomly playing on apps that have nothing to do with anything. Pens, oh goodness the pens. They end up randomly in my purse, attracted to it like metal flecks to a magnet! Or time from people, when I call someone for no reason in particular, just to fill the void of silence. These are ways of stealing that I never really put much thought into before. Yet there are other ways too. Buying things that you really don’t need. How many times have you bought food, put it in the fridge because “your going to make it later”, and end up tossing it because you never do anything with it? I cannot tell you how many avocados I have had to toss because of this. Such a waste! Now when I go to the store, I only buy what I know I can keep for a while, or that I will cook right away. Sorry avocados, you will have to wait till the day of prep!
Being mindful isn’t always easy, but it is a habit cultivated of reminding yourself to be mindful. Take less, no more than you need. Dedicate your time to what you are to be doing, instead of distracting your self with other, unrelated things. Give the person at the desk their pen back, they will be happy not to search for a new one! Speak to friends, family, acquaintances only when you actually have things to say, not mindless, inconsequential chatter. These are all things that can help us lead a life more dedicated to our true self, to be authentic and live with mindfulness.
What ways can you carry out this more fully in your lives?