Sunday, March 1, 2015

Making Up for Lost Time

This week my assignment was to practice Asteya, or non-stealing. It can mean the literal stealing of money or possessions from another person or it can mean coveting another person's intangible qualities, like beauty or intellect.  I have to admit that this practice was not as clear to me as the practice of Ahimsa (non-violence) or Satya (speaking the truth) over the last two weeks.

The main way that I observed myself coveting was related to the idea of youth. Whether it is in my yoga class or at work, whenever I encounter a person in their 20's or even their 30's there is a small part of me that wishes I could be in their position. I am sure we have all thought about it from time to time and wondered how things might turn out differently if we could just have a "do over" in life. Especially if we could go back while retaining all of the knowledge we have gained.

There is a show on the VH1 network that I have been watching called Hindsight.  It is about a woman who goes back to her 20's to try and figure out where her life got off track. And she carries with her all of the knowledge of the events of the past 10 years.  Even though she is armed with all of that experience, she still struggles to make the right decisions.  Ultimately, the show makes us wonder whether we are truly in control of our own destiny or whether the universe has a master plan.

This weekend in class we talked a lot about the idea of reincarnation. Part of the philosophy of yoga is that our soul is unchanging and it just moves from one body to the next in each life. I guess you could look at reincarnation as the ultimate "do over."  There is a quote about reincarnation that I really liked. It is from a book called Jonathan Livingston Seagull:
We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.
I guess I am straying a bit from the original topic of Asteya, but I am really curious about reincarnation and whether it is the universe's way of giving us another chance at life.

Back to the topic at hand. There was one other article I read on Asteya that helped me to put it in perspective. The article talked about stealing one of the most precious and non-renewable resources of all... time. This could mean being selfish with other people's time or wasting our own time.

As I move through life I become more and more aware how time is fleeting. That is why yoga teaches us to be in the present moment.

I know there are a lot of ways that I waste time. Sometimes I can immerse myself in unproductive thought patterns. Or I might invest my energy in people or situations that make me unhappy, just hoping that something will change. Even spending time watching TV or getting lost following a thread on Facebook and coming out an hour later can waste precious time.

Of course sometimes we may consciously choose to spend our time watching TV (especially if Hindsight is on). And that is ok. The purpose of practicing Asteya is not to judge our behavior, but simply to observe and learn.

If you tried to practice Asteya this week or if you have other thoughts to share, I would love to hear from you in the comments section.

This week we are practicing Brahmacharya, which is abstinence. Unlike most of the other Yamas, which seem to have more than one meaning, this one means exactly what you think it does. While you do not need to be celibate to practice Brahmacharya, you should focus on using your sexual energy to reconnect with your spiritual self and not in any way that might harm others.

As always, you are welcome to practice Brahmacharya with me. I guess if you aren't dating anyone special, this could be a pretty easy week!  Either way, I will be back next week to share more of my experiences with yoga teacher training.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When your ex calls to "check in" you can tell him this week you are practicing Brahmacharya and since he "loves" you, he should be willing to practice it too.