Has Your Time Been Stolen or is it Hiding? Asteya - Week 3 - 2017
I am asking students who are feeling out of balance and at a loss for time in their lives to contemplate this question: "How do I want to live my life?" Then, begin to make a list of what you are presently committed. Which items on your list are essential to your life and which align with the answer to that previous question... "How do I want to live my life?" Inside this list, may be where the time that you might have believed was stolen, has really been just hiding.
The 3rd ethical teaching of yoga, is the concept of Non-Stealing or Asteya, which can be taken quite literally as the avoidance of taking anything that doesn't belong to us. However, as we begin to really chew on this concept, we may start to recognize ways in which we are stealing from our highest potential or a full experience of enjoying life, because we feel overextended, overcommitted and exhausted from our long lists of goals and perceived obligations.
On the yoga mat, I hear students sharing aspirations of finding more time for yoga this year; more time on their mats working to achieve a higher level of expertise or dedicating time to a daily meditation practice. What often comes up next, is an expression of frustration that while they desire to create time for self-care and wellness, they just don't have the time, or rather they don't know where to find the time... because to find time would indicate that they need to let go of something else in life. Worse yet, we realize and get stuck in obligations that prevent us from finding time, when we steal time from ourselves! I am certainly guilty, with many others, of taking on too many things that don't align with our true path!
Enter the concept of ASTEYA <non-stealing> paired with my new favorite hobby ESSENTIALISM. Pairing these two ideas, may be how we all can touch more moments of balance this year and find the hidden time for what we actually value! However, starting down this path toward greater balance, may require you to become more skilled in two areas: letting go & making choices.
I believe to achieve a more balanced life and find the hidden time that we each long for, we need clarity in making choices. Making choices can be hard sometimes, especially when it means that we have to say "no" to the endless stream of wonderful possibilities available! There are so many things that we could learn, purchase and spend our time focused on, it is easy to stray from our true path! If we wish to create more space and time this year, we need to to become clear on what we value. Revisit the answer to our question of "How do I want to live my life?" often and determine if each choice you make aligns with your truth, found inside that answer. We can use that practice to integrate more activities that we value into our days! While this may require us to let go of the illusion that we need to have it all, we may find more moments of joy in what really matters.
I call you to join me in 2017 and begin to carefully take a look at all of the exciting opportunities that arise and consider if they align with how you want to live you life, before committing your time to anything more. Let's not let misaligned commitments steal from our truest desires and pursuit of finding fulfillment in life!
~ If you love the idea of simplifying your life and wish to dig deeper into Essentialism, I invite you to read: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, which inspired this reflection.