Huh? What is Asteya?
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the yama, asteya. The yamas refers to our relationship with others and with ourselves and are often referred to as self-restaints on the 8 limbed yogic path of from Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras. Asteya refers to “non-stealing” or lacking the desire to have something that is earned or taking more than one needs. I really love the info-graphic below from GroundingYoga.com.
Asteya and Stealing Time
I was meeting my friend on the other side of town to get a mani-pedi. I had to allow at least 45 minutes to get there on time. My friend lives only 15 minutes max away from the salon. My friend is always late. And by always, I mean always without fail. The first few times I was understanding and then it really started to bother me because I feel like she is not respecting my time. It’s about being considerate and valuing the other person. In a way, it comes of as saying, “my time is more valuable than yours.”
About 30 minutes before our appointment my friend texted me that the salon was running about 30 minutes behind. But I was already on my way so I was still going to be there on time so I communicated that to my friend. Although, she knew I would be there at the scheduled time she allowed herself an extra 30 minutes. In my mind, we still could have had those 30 minutes to hang out. And if roles were reversed I would have still been there on time.
Again, I felt like my time isn’t being valued. And I know that is not my friend’s intention, but I also know her relationship and awareness of time is very different than mine. But again if she were aware of the the principles of Asteya would it help alleviate her chronic lateness?
Taking Without Permission
Asteya is most commonly translated at meaning non-stealing. In my situation I relate it to my friend stealing or taking advantage of my time. If I really think about it time is one the most valuable “things” we have. We can’t get it back and we can’t create more of it and the best way to appreciate it is to be in it.
Application of Asteya
This concept can be easily applied to our everyday lives. What about being consumed on our phones while spending time with someone else? Or taking more food than you need at a shared dinner? Or cheating yourself by not giving 100%? Is it easier to apply this concept when we relate it to how our actions affect others?
My old roommate was also always late. Her sense of time was almost nonexistent and her boyfriend became progressively annoyed. And this started to affect their relationship. Somehow I became involved and I wanted to tread as lightly as possible; not taking sides. I introduced the concept of asteya and related in back to my intention to be more conscious of time in order to be more respectful others. It gave my roommate a new perspective.
What other everyday occurrences can you relate the concept of asteya to?
There’s No Better Time Than Now,