Asteya is the third in Yamas also known as the restrains. I have already discussed Ahimsa and Satya in previous posts that you can read by clicking on their names. Asteya is also known as non stealing or non covetousness. It sounds pretty straightforward, don’t steal, but it’s more than just don’t steal things or object, it means, do not take from yourself or others both physically and emotionally.
Asteya teaches us that everything and everyone in our lives is precious and should not be taken advantage of. How many times have you given things away without thinking about how it will affect you later? And I don’t mean stuff or money, I mean your time, your energy, your emotions, and all those other things of that intangible nature.
Interpersonal relationship are challenging. I haven’t had a single relationship in my life that didn’t come with its own set of trials and tribulations. I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t challenged me as a person. Those connections to our friends and family are the single most important in our life. That’s not to say that every family has to be your blood relatives, your family is made up of the people who you care about the most.
There is risk in giving away your love and affection to others, whether they be friends, family, or lovers. There is a risk that they might take something from you either physically or emotionally. There’s also the greater gift that they will return your affections in equal or greater amounts. Speaking from someone who has been taken advantage of more often than I can count for my generosity in the past, I know what it’s like to what to shut it all down and not let anyone in. Once those wall come up, it’s very hard to break them down again.
Asteya reminds us to be gentle with ourselves. If you find yourself being taken advantage of, face that person and let them know that you do not appreciate what they are doing and they may want to consider the harm they are doing to you by taking advantage of you. And if you are the one taking advantage of yourself by playing on your own moments of weakness, then give yourself a moment to breath and return to your breath. Listen to how you’re feeling and find out what you really need in that moment.