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Asteya | Non Stealing

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

My mom needs orange juice in the morning.  Like, first thing in the morning.   Fresh squeezed.  Always.  I get it.  It’s her thing.   We all have our thing.  And I support her.  While I’m staying with my parents, I’ve also come to notice my own idiosyncrasies, which usually feel so natural to me, but are absolutely bizarre to others.  These are my things. “What kind of weird concoction are you drinking now, Sarah?” as I mix chlorophyll into my water.  “How did we raise you to like the taste of dirt so much?!” as I swish and juggle between cups of cacao and tea. Parents. *sigh* One would think that as an adult, an extended trip back to Mom and Dad’s would be fraught with annoyances, head-butting and good old fashioned disagreements.  And don’t get me wrong, we’re not the Walton’s, but we’ve all been pretty good at giving each other space and allowing each other to have his and her own things.   It’s been good.  Regardless, when I heard the news that we would be hunkering down for a couple weeks, I knew that we would need to have orange juice on hand.  Stat. As I entered the grocery store, seeing rows and rows of empty shelves and people piling canned goods into their carts, my heart sunk a little bit.  Not for the lack of items, but for the ravenous scavenging that is taking place. Our world has been collectively diagnosed with a serious case of mystery.   And this uncertainty-inspiring-fear cycle is causing people to grasp for things for safety.   So far in my teachings this year, we’ve worked through the first few Yamas which provide ethical guidelines for living in the world with others.  We’ve focused on Ahimsa (Compassion) and Satya (Truthfulness) and now we step into the path of Asteya, which means,The ability to resist that which does not belong to you. Ownership is a conversation we have with toddlers.  What toys belong to you and what toys belong to Jimmy.  You can share your toy with Jimmy and it will still be your toy.   Believe it or not, this is a conversation that we still need to have with adults.   What’s your thing, what’s my thing.   This is an important conversation to have right now, because it is a practice of knowing what is within our power, what we can claim ownership of and what is simply beyond our purview.   Personally, I find it a relief to know that there is so much more out of my control compared to what I do have ownership of.  I don’t need to be responsible for everything!   What I do want authority over is my body and my ability to be a good, honest, brave and reliable person and that’s plenty for me for a lifetime. So as I waited in the serpentine checkout line, a man who only had a few items took up the spot right behind me.  As I offered for him to go before me I asked if he had seen any orange juice, since sadly, I hadn’t seen any.  To my chagrin, he bent down and handed me a couple oranges saying, “you can have these, if you want”.   I politely declined and asked if he could hold my spot while I make one last pass near the fridge section.  As I turned the corner, there it was, the only container on the shelf waiting for me…A gleaming bottle of Simply Orange - High Pulp.   I was relieved.  Mom could have her thing. But more so, I paused because I was overwhelmed by the stranger’s gesture and didn’t really know how to receive both his generosity and this great lesson.   He wasn’t buying much and of what he had he was willing to share.  Everything is temporary in this world and though we might think we’ve got it all figured out and have so much, nothing is really ours.  So, we might as well share what we have.   As I get back to my cart, orange juice in hand, I could see the stranger standing guard over my cart.  He was inching closer to the register which is my favorite place in the store, cause it’s close to the chocolate.  Without blinking, I grab a few bars and throw them on top of my pile. He smirks and says, “Woah, you must really like chocolate.” I smile, “yeah, it’s my thing.  Want some?”

To help calm your nervous system, try this guided practice of Yoga Nidra.


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