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Friday, November 6, 2009

Yama #3: Non-Stealing +

The next step on our yogic disciplines that help to lay the foundation for a deeper yoga practice is most often translated as non-stealing (asteya). In researching the deeper meaning of this Sanskrit word I found that "steya" relates to adornment or envelopment and the "a" at the beginning is a negation. Therefore, asteya could be seen as not adorning oneself or becoming enveloped in a thought, word or deed. These translations come from Vishvananda Ishaya...thank you!

There are many externally imposed ideas around right and wrong but this is an invitation to go deeper into a very important principle of conscious living. Clearly taking something from another is inappropriate but this form of discipline is self-arising which means we practice asteya in order to preserve and protect the sacredness of our beingness not out of some externally imposed sense of morality. Taking on another's belief system or mimicking their actions is often a form of "covering up" a void that we are not willing to feel in our lives.

When I was a child I was so enamored with my father that it was clear to me I was going to be like him, no matter what. He was a pilot in the military and so that was my automatic preferred career path. I was devastated as a young teenager when I was hit in the eye with a puck and being a military pilot was no longer an option. Still, as a young adult in university I joined the military as an Aerospace engineer which lead me to a period of deep sadness and profound lack of fulfillment. I see now how this was a violation of the asteya principle. I had taken on my father's vocation as a means to fill a void of love that was painful for me. Just like taking money when we do not feel we have enough we take on beliefs, language and behaviors because we feel we lack something in our lives. A practice of asteya would be to begin to notice the ways in which we do not feel like we are "good enough" and adopt attitudes, behaviors and belief systems as a way of compensating.

You are perfect just as you are. You are an integral part of the great consciousness continually manifesting as life itself. The spiritual path inspired by the ancient teachings of yoga begin with the five yamas. This word yama may also be translated as "death" and when we make the effort to deeply let go of old patterns and habits that are so ingrained in how we identify ourselves it may feel like a death. The absolute beauty that is your simple essence is waiting to shine through the clouds of the ego. Commit yourself to the practice of asteya by being so full and complete within yourself and your faith that you need not seek to be filled by another.

We will use our practice tomorrow morning at 8:45 at Milo Boathouse to fill up on the simple essence of life through a deep awareness of body and breath. I hope you can make it.


Yogi Jayanta

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