Continuing on our quest to investigate the Yamas and Niyamas, in this blog post we will take a deeper look into the third Yama, Asteya or nonstealing. In "The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice,” by Deborah Adele, she states that we can steal in the following ways: steal from others; steal from the earth; steal from the future and we can steal from ourselves. "Asteya, or nonstealing calls us to live with integrity and reciprocity," (60).
Asteya or nonstealing asks us to bring our attention to building ourselves instead of stealing from others. For example, in the first section Adele explores how we steal from others. "When we compare ourselves to other, we either find ourselves lacking, which makes us feel cheated, or we find ourselves superior, which leaves us feeling arrogant," (61). Instead of trying to compete or compare ourselves with someone else who is trying to share with us their emotions about a certain situation, we should be there for that person and share with their emotion with them. If we focus on building ourselves up and being comfortable with who we are, we'd have a greater opportunity to be there for the other person instead of stealing from them. "When we are engaged in the joy and challenge of building ourselves, we automatically serve the world rather than steal from it," (68).
A few years ago, my little brother scored a high-paying job in a field that he is still very passionate about. Instead of celebrating and sharing the happiness with him, I immediately jumped to compare myself because I felt cheated in the sense that I was not making as much money at my job. Not only was I stealing from my brother, I was stealing from myself by not previously taking the time for myself to reflect on where I was in life and whether or not I needed to make an adjustment.
Adele quotes Albert Einstein at the end of the chapter, "A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend of the labors of other people, living and dead. And that I must exert myself in order to give in the full measure I have received and am still receiving," (73).