Everything in the Universe is energy in motion. The nature of energy is reciprocal. In Newton’s Third Law of Motion, we are given to understand that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In the realm of physics, it means that if an object collides with another object, there is an equal and opposite force going into the target and back from it at the same time. This is otherwise known as the Law of Cause and Effect, and the foundation of our experience of karma.
When we emit high vibrational energy, such as compassion, toward others, we inevitably receive a similar energetic frequency from them in return. On the contrary, if we are generating and sending out a low vibrational energy signature, such as judgment, we will eventually, if not immediately, be the recipient of an energy force of like vibration.
Steya means “to steal”; asteya, the third of the Yamas, is the opposite. It means to take nothing that does not belong to us. This yogic principle comes from the understanding that as we sow so shall we reap. What goes around comes around. What goes up must come down. These axioms all speak to an underlying awareness that we always get what we give. Therefore, if we take (steal) from others, so we will have others take from us.
Ultimately, all misappropriation arises from a perception of lack. This sense of not having enough is the fundamental driving force of scarcity mentality. The feeling, whether conscious or unconscious, typically derives from the belief that our happiness hinges on external circumstances and material possessions. If we consistently seek satisfaction outside ourselves, we are less able to appreciate the bountiful abundance that already exists in our lives. If we cultivate an attitude of gratitude and a degree of self-sufficiency, rather than neediness, the Universe and others will bless us with all that we require.
One must also be mindful not to take anything that is not given freely. We must not take advantage of another’s time, patience or generosity. Extorting aid or affection by laying on guilt, or undo pressure is also something to be avoided. Additionally, if someone confides in us, or entrusts us with something, we must honor that compact and hold that information or possession honorably and in confidence, as we would be “stealing” that person’s trust in us, if we were to divulge it.
Not only may our scarcity mentality affect how we interact with others, we may also have developed the pattern of “stealing” from ourselves. If we are in the habit of perpetually over-scheduling our lives, continually engaging in mindless distraction, and running ourselves ragged for fear of missing out on life, we are “stealing” our own vitality, which gets siphoned off through all of our excessive activity.
We must honor our need for rest and replenish the well on a regular basis, so that our stores of energy are full. Otherwise when our energy becomes depleted, we easily grow fatigued, weak, and get sick or injured.
During our yoga practice, we may fear that we will not have enough energy to practice the next pose, so we may be uninspired and hold back from exploring a pose to our full potential. Each pose provides the energy required to practice it, if we tap into the prana, or Life Force that is carried on the vehicle of the breath. It is only when we persist in our scarcity mentality and feel a lack of abundance that we withhold and do not meet every pose with our full awareness and effort.
It is not to imply that we must approach all poses as the instructor demonstrates them, or maintain them as long. If we do not feel ready to attempt a pose, are coping with injury, or recouping from illness, it is always advisable to explore it in modified form, or to practice another pose that is within our abilities at the time. This way we can still practice the pose to our potential, using the full complement of the energy required to sustain it within our present limits.
The Universe always supports us to the degree we believe we are worthy of that support. We live in an infinitely abundant Universe. It is only ever we who withhold that bounty from ourselves. As we accept that we are worthy of this divinely given birthright, there will be no need to take from others or deplete ourselves, because the flow of Grace, like an artesian well, will percolate freely into our lives, to continually support and sustain our every need.