अस्तेयप्रतिष्ठायां सर्वरत्नोपस्थानम् I
Those who are deeply rooted (pratiṣṭāyāṁ) in non-stealing (asteya) have access (upasthānam) to all (sarva) jewels (ratna).
PRACTICAL LIVING In the last two weeks we explored how being well established in kindness leads to others feeling love in one’s presence, and how mastering honesty results in an authentic life. This week Patañjali explains that those who are firmly rooted in non-stealing receive precious jewels from life. Once again, we can explore this concept in several different layers. Some of those are as follows:
i. Non-stealing – literally refers to not taking that which is not ours. It may be an object, which is very easy to discern. But it can also refer to more subtle aspects like stealing music or software from the internet. It may be stealing someone’s time because we are avoiding doing something we dislike. It could also be linked to not taking advantage of what is offered to us. Integrity is another word for all of these ideas.
ii. Expectations – what we expect out of the world or people around us is a deep underlying current that runs in the background of our psyche, which often we are not aware of. When people or the world don’t give us what we “should” have or do what they “should” do, we feel like they are stealing from us. Who made the list of “should’s” and “should nots”? Self-righteousness is greedy. When we are always expecting others to behave in the ways we find correct, we are in a state of always wanting from others.
iii. Desirelessness – this is a harder concept for many of us to grasp. But it is an idea that many ancient texts refer to. The Bhagavad Gita, for example, repeats several times how acting without expecting results is a path to happiness. But we are always grabbing. It seems that every moment of our lives is spent thinking about how we will benefit. How will I gain from this person or this situation? It is stressful to live this way. When we desire less, there is space for us to enjoy more.
As we desire and expect less from the world, the jewels we receive are in the most mundane moments. Parents, the jewels are watching your toddler sing when they’re not aware anyone is watching. The jewels when we are less greedy come with being present in every moment. We become more aware of ourselves and our surroundings. Suddenly the frozen water on Lake Michigan in the winter is awing, the warm shower in the evening is amazingly relaxing, life is beyond extraordinary.
IN THE YOGA WORLD We can see how the concepts that Patañjali has presented to us our interconnected: taking only that which is ours, being more grateful and less greedy (asteya) leads to kindness (ahiṁsā). Deep honesty (satya) is a very loving place, one which knows that ‘more’ does not give me peace. Some of the most peaceful people were those who lived in poverty. That is not say we need to be poor to experience peace. Profound peace does not need much. The more honest we are, the less greedy and the more loving we become. Practicing these concepts is the path of Yoga, one which is a life (or many lives) journey in itself.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON A simple and loving woman comes to mind this week: Monica. She does not need a fancy lifestyle – no fancy cars, travels, meals or clothes. Instead, she devotes herself to making her home a beautiful magical place to live in. She has made (literally with her hands) several of the objects in her house. The process of making things (as opposed to buying them) shows how she enjoys the process, the journey of life. So often we get caught up in the destination, in the “when I…then I’ll be happy”. Monica is here. She paints. She walks with her dogs. She drinks Margaritas. She makes jokes. She cares. She is there for you when you need her. Her simplicity is grandiose. Thank you beautiful friend for sharing yourself with me! I love our friendship!
Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!
Thanks and next week we will discuss the power of moderation!