(i almost stole a dog): asteya.

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wake up and your first thought is: ‘I didn’t get enough sleep‘? And this snowballs into, ‘And I don’t have enough time today and I don’t have enough energy today and there’s SURE not enough sunshine today.’

When I have these days (usually it’s actually freezing and cloudy and the only things that can cheer me up are dance videos and Vitamin D) my ‘enough-ness’ is already deteriorating before I even take off my pajamas. In Yoga Philosophy, we recognize these automatic and unfiltered thoughts as mind-patterns which steal our energy. Coincidentally, one of the tenants of Yoga Philosophy is “asteya.It literally means: non-stealing. 

The foundation of practicing asteya is much more nuanced than, say… not stealing things. (Although, to be honest, I did try to steal a “stray” Ozark dog over New Year’s Eve… I guess I’m still working on the basic concept of asteya, after all. He really looked like he needed a home. And he was sweet and had a scruffy beard. I didn’t trust him to stay safe and warm running around the Ozark bluffs like a fool… but he didn’t trust my leash or the promise of a nice West Plaza home.) The foundation of asteya is TRUST. Trusting that we are enough and that the Universe is always working in our highest favor.

TRUST is the opposite of the scarcity-mindset that often dominates our mental landscape. In my experience, the two best ways to combat a scarcity-mindset of “not enough” are:

  1. Affirming that there is a greater power than me.
  2. Actively practicing a sentence of gratitude.

ONE: Affirming that there is a greater power than me. The healthiest people I know practice their spirituality every single day through moments of mindfulness. For example: when I am caught up in a snowstorm of not-enough-ness, I repeat this affirmation from Gabrielle Bernstein.

“There is a power greater than me, working on my behalf. I close my eyes, take a breath and tune into this energy.” 

This instantly changes my day; it invites me to get quiet and listen to: what actually matters. 

TWO: Actively practicing a sentence of gratitude. Can’t claim this one: positive psychology researchers, vulnerability expert Brene Brown and the great Oprah Winfrey all back this up. We are grateful FIRST, then we become more present and joyful. I stop whirly-twirly-anxiety-blizzard thoughts by saying out loud:

“I don’t want to steal from this moment or from my potential for joy. Right now, I am very grateful for ________________.” 

Use these two practices throughout your day. What do you notice about your ability to GIVE to the moment, instead of STEAL from it?  What can you learn about asteya from this practice?