Asteya Means Not Stealing
That's easy. Don't take stuff that isn't yours. But it Also Means Not Coveting
Really? This is hard. There is stuff all around us and it's nearly impossible to avoid wanting some of it. Wanting things can be a great motivator. It's easier to grow and better ourselves if we have a goal in mind, whether it's a material item or a job or a relationship.
So how do we make not coveting a part of our yoga practice? I think it's by being a glass half-full kind of person. Before you get caught up in all the things you don't have, take a good look at all the things you do have, and be grateful for them. Wanting things isn't bad per se, but you don't want to let your wants take over your life.
And Not Going Into Debt
How is debt equated with stealing? That doesn't seem fair, but it makes sense when you consider who really owns the things you buy on credit.
When I bought my house ten months ago, I jokingly said it was my birthday present to myself. Shortly thereafter, I realized that I will be buying myself the same present for another twenty-nine years. I was able to buy with a small down payment, which is great for my bank balance. The downside: I have a very small amount of equity relative to the value of the house. It will be years before it will be profitable (or possible) to sell, and I regularly imagine an array of nightmare scenarios in which I lose the house but stay on the hook for the loan. The bank owns my house. I just have all the responsibility for it.
Using credit can be smart–investing in a home or business, or living on credit cards while you write a best-seller can work out in your favor. It's just important to be mindful of what you're buying, why you're buying it, and when/how you'll be able to pay for it.
Asteya is about being able to say the things you possess are rightfully yours. You're free to travel your path without the debt collector or the person you took from following a few steps behind you.