The Yamas: Asteya - Non-stealing

by Maarten van Huijstee

The Yamas: Asteya - Non stealing

I'll be continuing my exploration of the Yamas, which are seen as the natural laws of Yoga and apply to all aspects of life, including restraints in one's actions, words and thoughts. This time we will reflect on the third Yamas, "Asteya", which translates to "non-stealing".

Do not steal. At first hand it sounds like an easy one to reflect on. Just don't. However, if you stand still and look closely at the root cause of stealing, it becomes a very subtle and profound journey inwards. Because haven't we all stolen once? Or taken advantage of a situation so that we just have more for ourselves? Skipped a line, didn't adress a missing drink on a bill or "forgot" to pay for the mini-bar in a hotel. 

So why do we do it? Probably because we feel we don't have enough and justify our behaviour by saying to ourselves that we deserve it more than the other. More than the hotel-owner who’s earning a lot more than me so he won't miss the €10 of the mini-bar.

Let's look closer at the feeling of not having enough. Isn't it actually the feeling of not being whole or complete and the mind's way of trying to fix this by adding something of material value to our lifes? Isn't the root cause of stealing; that we identify ourselves too much with the stuff and possessions we have?

Let's ask one of the great poets and musicans of our time; John Lennon. 

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

Now let's again look inside and contemplate on the depth of " Imagine no possessions". Only if we can understand the essence of these profound words, will we truly understand "Asteya" and free ourselves of longing and desire. We will realise that we are allready whole and have everything we need inside.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

About Maarten van Huijstee

Maarten is first and foremost a human being and proud father to Philip and Alexander and dedicated husband to Anna. Despite his diverse career in marketing and advertising, founding a few companies, and an extensive list of chairs on numerous boards and committees, there has always been one thing Maarten’s heart has consistently been trying to tell him..