yoga sutras

Asteya

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Last time on Yoga Blog: Satya, well it was the guns but last yama was stay, broke down the lies we tell ourselves and truth flowed into our lives. Felling the hidden fortifications we constructed around our true-self. Satya, truthfulness. Refresh yourself and reread the last post if you wish and then continue your journey towards Yoga. “Atha Yoganusasanam.”

Third yama!

Asteya! Don’t Steal. Non-stealing. Nothing too fancy with this one in the translating department. Steya can stand for theft, robbery, or anything that can be stolen. As with ahimsa, the “a” reminds to not do or non, non-stealing. Postpone your pilfering and pause your piracy. One engaged in non-stealing will receive wealth in return. “Asteyapratisthayam sarvaratnopasthanam.”

Theft, breaking into a home and stealing jewels and a TV but it is not limited to the action of taking tangible objects from another person. Stealing ideas, time, peace, and opportunity are all things that may get stolen. There are even laws in place to protect such things like copyrights and trademarks. But, beyond logos and characters, if a noisy person or someone who constantly asks questions disrupts a learning experience they steal from those around them. Stealing the opportunity to learn for themselves and others. Stealing the time for contemplation and reflection. Stealing the opportunity to think for themselves.

And, still there is more to be stolen.

The appropriate intention intended for a device, object, person can be neglected and thus their use stricken from them. Looted by caging it a “safe” place. Money has a purpose. It is not be be hoarded and sat on in a dark cave. It wants to keep you well. It wants to help make life better for everyone. If its ability to do so is smothered under the weight of greed; thirteen dwarves and a burglar will liberate it in due time. That art you work on wants to be seen by the world. It wants to lighten someone's day. It wants to speak with others. The vacant lot wants to be played on. It has no need for the no trespassing sign. It wants use. It wants to welcome. Each and every thing has a proper use and wants an opportunity to serve its purpose. Do not rob that opportunity. Let purpose prosper.

Review: Opportunity appears everywhere give it a chance. Be true to your ideas or give credit where credit is due. Robbing and looting is bad.

So Robin Hood* and Aladdin** are bad people? Much like the burglar with the precious ring they play their part. Like the hero Arjuna they too are truthful to themselves, satya. The prince’s taxes stole from those who had nothing to give. That money kept for the greed of a king’s ideals. What other choice was there but to give it back to those in need. A stolen loaf of bread to fight back the mornings hunger. To offer to the starving so good will can continue to be passed from human to human. Oxygen must be swiped from the air to stay standing against hate. Fruit must be plucked from their mother to spread and grow a new.  

Establish yourself in non-stealing and live an anxiety free life. Worries flutter away like a dried leaf in the breeze. Using what you have and sharing when you can. Provide not take. Establish not prevent. Grow, become, prosper.


*I’m pretty sure the real Prince John got a worse rap than he deserved. He took over a kingdom from a brother that campaigned in a war that cost a heavy sum. Therefor he had limited choices. Taxing the people so King Richard could play in his silly war and become a hero probably seemed reasonable to him.


**Disney’s Aladdin, I have not read the proper One Thousand and One Nights and don’t know if there is a thief character.   


***Just a note. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali from Swami Satchidananda rests near me when I write these brief glimpses into living.


Yamas: Satya

Last time on Yoga Blog: We learned Ashtanga means “eight limbs” and yoga is not just moving and twisting. The first of those eight limbs is yama and the first yama is ahimsa. Which means non-harming. Feel free to reread the ahimsa post or read it for the first time. You could also find a copy of “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” and start your journey to Yoga now. “Atha Yoganusasanam.”

On to the second yama.

Satya! Truthfulness. The truth, actual, genuine, honesty are all translations of satya. I love looking up the meanings to Sanskrit words. Many times one word can be used in so many contexts. Different but wholly related. I am by no means a learned person of Sanskrit so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt but satya can also have the meanings of reality, dogma, oath, promise. All words with a need for truth in their meanings. Most of them dealing with a certain truth you have to uphold in yourself. Be true to yourself, to your nature. This is about to get a bit personal, just a warning. I thought I was a truthful person. I learned not to tell lies but in doing so taught myself to not speak. Holding back on words and just making sounds that could be an agreement just to get out of having to engage in a conversation and hopefully making the person feel good about what they just said. Definitely not showing my true feelings. I fill myself with these feelings that I would never allow freedom. Giving so many people a false reading that I agree with them. Making people think I heard or understood them when all I wanted was to not engage and dwell in my dark ball of repression. Lying to them with silence and a head nod. Throwing out the occasional false “Yup.” All lies, mostly to myself. And where has it gotten me? To a point that I have forgotten myself. I speak no lies but don’t know my truths. Depression arose. Society became frightful. Imagination wavers. I have lost myself trying to please others. Then learn that trying to please everyone but myself does not work and if I am happy most likely the people I care about would be happy as well. But who am I? Somewhere beneath the stacks of untold truths I must be. No more lies. They bring ruin and collapse. Lies are weak and full of cracks. Building a life atop such an unstable surface is destined to crumble. The root system of satya can grow true life. One of unclouded meaning and happiness. Enough happiness to spread amongst the world.

Lying is not just telling work you’re sick when you’re not. Lying is a mask that can be used to hide behind and die behind alone. Not that satya gives us permission to go forth and ritacuel all we see with truth. It is to be a glowing pilar that can be visited when a friend needs some perspective. An employee that can be trusted with the keys. A different opinion that can take time to listen, understand where the other is coming from, and continue the conversation.

Reality is actual. An oath should keep you honest. A promise is only taken when you can keep it’s truths. Don’t lie and everything you say will be true.     

We need to be true to ourselves. Even if it means killing loved ones in war, says the Bhagavad Gita. It is a great section of a great tale. Eighteen chapters of satya.

You’ll need satya. Satya is what you need.

Speak truths when it is called for. Think truths to learn. Be your true-self or work on it and try to find it. It’s not always easy. But there are others around to help if you are willing to let some of your truth free. Be well, stay true, see you next time on Yoga blog and the yamas continue.


Next Time: Asteya


Yamas: Ahimsa

Ashtanga Yoga: one eighth asana(the positions we put the body in) and not necessarily series one through six. What? Clap, get up and dance Yoga is not just an Indian workout. It’s a special way to live. We’ll get to asana, don’t worry, it’s number three of this eight branched path. Ashtanga translates to “eight limbs” or “eight components.” Ashta or eight. Anga or limb. Got that? Nice, keep following now. If asana is the third what’s the first? What’s the second? Whoa, slowly slowly. Start with the first limb, Yama. Our moral duty to existence, Yama. Yama, a practice achievable by everyone. Status, creed, class, time, physical ability, place does not factor into one’s ability to accomplish the Yamas. Yes, Yama”s.” There are five of them according to Patanjali. Five restraints. Our ability to rein ourselves in. Control, going back to how nature wants us, good humans. Morals you could call them. Those things we all have and should not be blind to. Law built into existence to keep things from crumbling apart. Ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, aparigraha: the five Yamas. Start at the beginning. Smile, these are great.

Ahimsa!

Non-harming, don’t harm. The word ahimsa breaks down into “Himsa” which means harm; violence; kill, and “a” which stands for not. Hences not violence, not harm, not kill or non-violence. Still with me? Feel free to go back. It’s okay.

Ahimsa teaches not to harm others, animals, Earth, yourself. No harm through action and thought. Murder harms but this philosophy should be contemplated on deeper. Effort must be put forth on contemplation and understanding of what it means.

Non-harming? Don’t kill got that.

But I live in the cold wilds of the north and sometimes must hunt to have food.

Good, don’t let yourself starve if you can help it. Respect that which helps you survive. No violence but care. Are your actions truly justified? Think, don’t lie to yourself, Satya — we’ll get to that later. Yoga knows you must live and to live certain actions must be taken. Only through living can the cycle of suffering end. Live and learn. Live and learn. Next life different actions can be taken. Same goes with thought. Those cruel words in your head did they pop up from unjustified prejudices or does anger, rajastic and tamasic gunas, need control. Hatful thought burns away at the body just like drinking cola at every meal. A slow steady destruction that can be stopped. Always time to help yourself.

Help? Yeah, help. Helping is not harming. In fact it is the opposite. Ahimsa: to help, protect, keep safe. Yes, cause no harm and help those in need. The struggle of life is real but with help that weight becomes lighter. Everyone carries this burden. Not one single person but all existence has the weight of existing pressing down on them. All help distribute the weight evenly. No criticism for what might have happened my shoulder is here to bare some of the weight. Their shoulder is here. Its shoulder is here. Her shoulder is here. His shoulder is here. We are all here.

Ahimsa, keep us safe.


Next time: Satya