“When a yogi is established in non-stealing, all gems manifest.” -Yoga Sutra 2:37
Our self-talk mantra—“I have everything I need.” Remember, we are spending time looking at the self-talk that we use which really organizes and creates our lives. We are reflecting on the specific subtle things we say to ourselves in reference to the yoga yamas. The yamas are the five restraints that yogis practice to begin to move toward true happiness and true oneness with the Source of Life. I personalize that Source and call her my Divine Mother. The third yama is “asteya,” translated as “non-stealing.”
Stealing is a very subtle practice that I learned early in my life. We never called it that when I was growing up, but I learned to do everything I could to get what I thought I needed to be loved and accepted. I have had to work hard at unlearning my fear of not having enough or not being praised by adults or people whom I respected in my life.
It started subtly. Just like my brothers tried to do, I made sure that I got the first helping of food at the dinner table. Sometimes my mom would even say, “Michael, put some potatoes back so your brothers can have enough.”
Most people would not even consider this stealing, but these are the subtle meanings of the yamas. The more we travel on the spiritual journey toward the divine life within, the more we realize the subtle barriers that surface between the divine and our ego self.
As I grew up, I began to realize that I was taking a lot of things that belonged to others. I would copy a great statement and not attribute it to the originator. I would write a beautiful poem and use many of the images of another poet. I would find some money and not try to locate the owner.
It became truly amazing to me how much I “borrowed” from others without giving them the credit or the proper amount of “reimbursement.” Oh! I was a good boy. On the external, physical level, I never took anything from a store or from my parents or others that I knew was definitely not mine, but my stealing was on a much subtler level…like taking the most or the sole credit for a group assignment in school. I even began to take credit for all the good things that I was doing in my daily life and occupation as a teacher, rather than giving the credit to the Source of all that goodness, God.
I did not realize that I was harming myself when I did those things. I was making myself think that I wasn’t good enough and had to keep taking the honor and glory for myself.
Yoga, however, has taught me that I have everything that I need because I am created from the essence of the divine. The Divine Mother will always care for me, even when I am not aware of it.
Life is much happier for me now, because I don’t look for the praise and glory as much as I used to. I have chosen now to take nothing that is not mine, but to allow the beauty of the divine to shine through me and my actions. I am saying to myself daily:
I take nothing in word, thought, or deed that belongs to another.
I have everything that I need.
Then a smile comes to my face!