Last time we explored how non-violence and truthfulness can support us in our personal growth and authentic living. Through exploring how we invite the Yamas into our lives we create more ease in our work and relationships.
This week we will explore the last 3 Yamas:
- Astyeya, non-stealing
- Brahmacharya, non-excess
- Aparigraha, non-possessiveness
Asteya. How do we steal from ourselves and others? We steal through comparison and judgement. For many of us social media is the biggest stealer (of time, self-worth,. We take things that don’t belong to us, not just physical objects, but we steal attention, we steal recognition, time, happiness, energy, autonomy and more. Asteya asks us to lift others up and give back. Think about the laws of reciprocity or the law of attraction. What we put out into the world, comes back to us. We often live small and steal from ourselves. We don’t go after our dreams because we lie to ourselves, saying things like, “you’re not good enough”, “now’s not the right time,” or “someday”. The other day someone in my networking group shared a quotation, “There are 7 days in a week and Someday is not one of them.” One way we can lift ourselves up is by growing our competence. What skills or tools do you need to close the gap between where you are today and where you want to be in the future? Do you want to become a better speaker, earn more money, have a different job, be in a different relationship? Who are the people who can help you become more skilled at getting what you want?
Brahmacharya. This can also be thought of as “moderation”. Often times we get stuck in a cycle of excess. Have you looked in your closet recently to see it full of clothes you don’t wear? Are you constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’? If we stopped looking outside of ourselves for satisfaction or gratification, we wouldn’t need to have as much. We overwork, we overeat, we overexercise, oversleep, overspend, we over do it. Tying this back into Asteya (non-stealing), what do you really want? What if you focus on your needs for a moment and were truthful (Satya) about your course of action? You can begin to tame your overindulgences in order to experience more pleasure and joy from the things that are truly meaningful. What might this look like for you?
Aparigraha. Non-possessiveness asks us to let go of the stuff that is no longer serving us. Let go of the excess clutter. Let go of the baggage that is weighing you down. Again, these might be physical items, they might be thoughts or beliefs or even relationships. The practice of letting go isn’t something that we can just do because we say were are going to let go… It is a process, of becoming aware, being vulnerable and moving from attachment to intimacy without possession. A great example is parents and their children. As parents we are attached to our childs’ wellbeing and are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they are happy and healthy. Along with non-violence and truthfulness, we need to be able to let our kids learn and grow on their own and to make mistakes. As they become teenagers and young adults, we have to recognize our own fears, our own thoughts and beliefs about what we think is right, and allow our kids to be their own person, to make their own choices.
Each of the Yamas can be explored independently or in relation to each other. The Yamas require us to make choices. They don’t tell us what is right or what is wrong. Aparigraha helped me to recognize a toxic relationship I had that was weighing me down and limiting my professional growth. It took me a long time to let that relationship go. Using the concepts of Non-violence and Truthfulness, and Non-stealing helped me become aware of the relationship dynamics, my role in it, and helped to make the right choices to negotiate the relationship and manoeuvre my way out of it. Now I am living more authentically aligned to my values and have created space for healing to arise.
If you’d like to learn more or want some support in your exploration of the Yamas and Niyamas let’s chat.