"Have You Been Stealing?"
Last night at 2:30am, I was woken up by hysterical screaming. Still half asleep, my husband and I jumped out of bed and went to our balcony to figure out what was happening. Realising it was our neighbour shouting in French, I started yelling back in the darkness if she was ok .... Within a few seconds, I saw two burglars exit our neighbour's villa via their front lawn and onto the beach.... the burglars ran off when they realised the neighbours were all waking up.
The burglars had come with one purpose - to steal Danielle's jewels and they didn't care if they injured her husband Giles with a machete knife when he put up a fight to block them from entering their bedroom. I was shocked at the boldness of their crime and the lengths these burglars went to, to steal....
Yet how many of us steal everyday - we steal from others, we steal from Earth we steal from our future and we steal from ourselves. "Asteya" or non-stealing is one of the many jewels I learnt about in my Yoga Teacher Training. Deborah Adele's inspiring book "Yamas and Niyamas" dwells into the limbs of the yogic path in greater detail, and this blog is a dedication to her work.
STEALING FROM OTHERS:
When we compare ourselves to others, we either find ourselves lacking, which makes us feel somehow cheated, or we find ourselves superior, which leaves us feeling somewhat arrogant. Our attention on others from a place of discontent within ourselves can lead us to live vicariously through others or try to control, manipulate or manage them in order to boost our own ego.
Perhaps a friend is sharing their excitement about an upcoming trip. To which we immediately pipe in with a much more exotic trip that we have planned or maybe we say we have already been there. Either way, the conversation becomes about us and we have stolen "the moment" from them. Perhaps we steal from others by not paying attention to them. When we feel unhappy with our lives, we tend to drag others down, or make remarks that are prompted by jealousy. But when we genuinely care, that expression finds ways which feel supportive and tender to the other.
Think about this - does the other person feel uplifted and lighter because they have been with us or do they feel dragged down? Have we brightened their day by taking a moment to listen, without interruption, to sincerely smile or compliment them or do they feel like escaping our misery?
Do we even notice what we are doing to the other person?
STEALING FROM THE EARTH:
Not only do we steal from others, we steal from the Earth.
You wouldn't go to a friend's house for dinner, complain about the food, leave your trash everywhere and walk off with their crockery because you wanted it! Yet, this is so often how we treat Earth - we abuse and pollute the natural resources of Earth to the point of no return.
"My" car, "my" house, "my" clothes, "I", "me", "mine" - the ownership of things is ingrained deep within us, making it hard for us to appreciate that nothing really is ours, it is all a gift from Earth...not for the individual, but the community.
The ancient Vedic scriptures speak of taking nothing without giving something back. Imagine what would happen if each time we took something, we gave something back just a little more than we took?
STEALING FROM OUR FUTURE:
A wedding priest once relayed this story about a wedding that was halted at the last minute. It seems that on the day of the wedding, the bride-to-be, discovered that her almost husband had slept with the maid of honour the night before. She didn't tell anyone about this discovery, but proceeded to prepare for the wedding as normal, walk down the aisle, and stand at the alter. The service proceeded up to the point in the ceremony where the Priest asked if there was anyone who objected to the marriage. At this point, the bride spoke "Yes, I have an objection. I can't marry a man who would steal from our future together, with his actions of last night". She walked off leaving behind a stunned groom and a silent crowd.
We also steal from our future if we have lost our sense of gratitude. We remain insatiable, a collective giant hole that we can't seem to fill. The excesses in our bodies, our calendars, our closets and our lives are all signs that we are living on the fast track, like a speeding train with no brakes, leaving behind a mess of giant proportions for our children and future generations. Our focus seems to be on what we don't have rather than the abundance right before us.
Can we try to live in this world as a visitor rather than an owner? Can we use or enjoy things rather than having the need to own them, possess them?
STEALING FROM OURSELVES:
All self-sabotage, low self esteem, lack of self belief, judgements, criticisms and demands of perfection that we place upon ourselves steal from our enthusiasm and our vitality.
The way in which we live in the past or future, steal from our present.
The way we put up fences around our mental idealism steals from the full expansion of our lives.
We are captured in a culture where our very identity is tied up with our accomplishments, which we show off to others. In the rush to get to the next achievement, to be "successful", we have left no time to digest and assimilate our lives, perhaps our biggest theft of all. We need time to catch up with ourselves, to chew and ponder. To allow life's experiences to integrate within us.
We need time to rest, reflect and contemplate and appreciate.
To live in the moment.
Thank you for sharing my journey and allowing me to be a part of yours. The questions I share here are ones I often ask my clients to do self enquiry/ journaling work on, contact me to find out more about my services.
If you enjoyed this blog, please share using the Facebook icon below.