Earlier this week we had an insightful and engaging Heart Conversation around bringing asteya (non-stealing or generosity) to social and racial justice.
We started our conversation with a discussion of what asteya is, according to BKS Iyengar’s translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. His translation reads, “When abstention from stealing is firmly established, precious jewels come.”
During our discussion of being generous to ourselves and others the question came up of holding this yogic idea of abundance while acknowledging the very real lack and poverty that live in the world. How can we say that when we do not steal we will be met with all the jewels of the world when many folks are actively starving, homeless and dying due to lack of resources?
What about the folks who steal to feed and diaper their children? What about the people who steal money so they can afford to put gas in their car to get to work because they do not make a liveable wage?
I know that as a middle class woman who grew up in a middle class family, I can feel the desire to hold onto my resources because I do not have enough–but I actually do have enough. I have a home, clean water, heat and clothes to wear. Yet there are times that I hold onto my resources tightly because I have credit card debt or a large bill comes in the mail.
If the person stealing to feed their children and to survive just lives in an abundance mentality they may not eat, or they may lose their job, their children or even their life.
If I believe the idea that I am lacking and do not have enough, which the media tells me all the time, I can not access an abundant mind-state.
How can we hold that both of these things may be true? And if I truly do have enough how can I be even more generous without causing harm to myself and while still being honest with myself?
Today I went to visit the Nickelsville encampment at Othello Village, which is about 6 blocks from my home and the studio. I decided that an action I can take from our Heart Conversation is to offer a space for a donation-drive. I asked them what they needed, and several folks asked for hats, gloves, socks, warm clothing and canned food.
This coming week at RBY I am offering free classes to celebrate the end of the Yoga for Resilience and Yoga for Lovingkindness series that started in January and to get ready for the new series starting in April. I will be gathering donations of these items to deliver on Friday.