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The ethical guideline of non-stealing and celebration of Beltane

Last week I shared my views around the yama or restraint of Satya (truthfulness). Today, we celebrate Beltane in the Southern Hemisphere and we turn to the third yama, Asteya, translating to non-stealing:

We are most likely to associate stealing with tangible objects, but intangibles, such as information, time, energy and emotional favours, are more likely to be the objects stolen in our world. For example, we steal somebody else’s time by creating drama or creative energy when we are trying to control the other person’s thoughts, perspectives and behaviour.

Lack: The need to steal essentially arises because of a lack of faith in ourselves to be able to create what we need by ourselves. The moment we feel a sense of ‘lack’ or insecurity in life - want and greed arises. We begin to look for something or someone to fill that ‘empty’ sensation.

Yoga: How do we remedy this experience of incompleteness then? Well, the word yoga means ‘to yoke’, ‘unite’, ‘connect’, or essentially to become ‘whole’, to marry the feminine and masculine principles within ourselves. And so, by practising each aspect of yoga on and off the mat, we can move further towards the feeling that we already have enough, and we already are enough.

On the mat: A practical way to practice Asteya on the mat is to not push ourselves too far in order to attain a posture. Otherwise, we not only rob ourselves of a sustainable practice, but we also rob ourselves of being able to be present with the posture and with ourselves for exactly the way things are in that moment. It is never the postures we are able to do that define our practice, but the amount of awareness we bring to them….

Non-conforming: This applies when we try to cover up parts of ourselves or morph into what we think someone wants, as we then rob ourselves from the beauty of who we really are. Our worth then becomes dependent on, for example, our outer appearances or our level of ‘performance’ and it also robs others from knowing who we really are.

Hoarding: Asteya is also implicated in hoarding: When we buy more than we need, we are often unconsciously looking to ‘fill a gap’ that we feel is missing in life. We have to ask the question then: how can I live a simpler life.

Abundance: Finally and most importantly, Astaya is closely associated with the concept of abundance: Practicing, knowing that we have enough, and we are enough, is the key to wanting less, and therefore feeling a lot more whole and content. Also by practicing unconditional giving, for example giving food, money, time, appreciation and compassion, your sense of inner wealth can then reflect in outer wealth.

Beltane: All of the above ties in with the current state of affairs in the sky, where Venus has moved into her home sign, Scorpio, as well as with the cycles of life (and death) where we celebrate Beltane today (the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer). This is where we honour the Greenwood Marriage between the May Queen and the May King in ourselves as well as all around: All of life is bursting with potent and abundant fertility.

At this point in the Wheel of the Year, the Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos) symbolises the union of Earth and Sky, sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy and bringing ideas, hopes and dreams into fruition.

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