Asteya is one of the yamas, or restraints, in yoga and is a Sanskrit word interpreted to mean non-stealing or creating abundance. When we think of stealing what typically comes to mind is someone stealing your car or your personal belongings. We don’t usually think about stealing time and energy. This yama can be interpreted to mean that any time you take something that is not offered freely, you are stealing. For example, if you were habitually late for work and someone else had to stay late until you arrive, you would essentially be stealing their time as they have not freely offered it to you.
Another way of interpreting asteya is to look at our subconscious beliefs that we don’t have enough, that there is a lack or scarcity that in turn can cause greed or hoarding. This can manifest in many ways; among them overeating and overuse of resources like electricity or gas. It can also manifest in hanging on to whatever you have very tightly, in a fearful way. We see this in business all the time. Author and motivational speaker Mandie Crawford calls it a ‘scarcity mentality’. When we operate from this mentality, Crawford says, we make decisions based on what the competition is doing rather than creating our own visions. She says that the only shortages are in our own minds; there is enough business for everyone, and when we pool resources and knowledge, everyone benefits. She refers to this as co-opetition rather than competition. When we are able to shake the fear attached to helping others achieve, we will achieve more; we will create more abundance in our own lives.
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