Getting to Good-Enough
This precept is often translated as non-stealing. Though I like to flip that definition and view asteya through a lens of generosity. While comparative thinking has been around forever, social media and entertainment have exponentially increased our sense of falling short as a human. This feeling of not being “good-enough” stems from falling short somehow. To compensate, we fill our lives with things that make us look, feel or seem better. In this way, we believe that our discontent is cured through external factors and materials possessions.
We hope that our troubles will be swept away, or disappear, with a click of button or swipe of a card. Asteya is the third precept of Patanjali’s yoga sutras. It comes after kindness (ahimsa) and honesty (satya) and asks that we look at the ways we are holding on and holding back.
Asteya asks us to live generously. We start with the fullness of what we have and move from there. All demands and expectations that we place on ourselves steal from the unfolding our own uniqueness. Self-sabotage, personal doubt, low self-esteem, judgments, criticisms, and demands for perfection are various ways of stealing vitality from ourselves. Most importantly it’s a practice of being present. Being here for yourself in any capacity is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.
Attitude of Gratitude
Not feeling good-enough has us constantly looking outside ourselves for satisfaction, which blinds us to the abundance that already exists. In such a state, we forget what matters most – our health and the riches of our inner life and the joy and love we are able to give and receive from others. Something as simple as clean, running hot water is a blessing.
The practice of asteya asks us to be careful not to take anything that has not been freely given. This can be a subtle as asking someone if they are free to to talk before filling the space with words. The paradox of practicing asteya is that when we relate to others from the a place of abundance rather than neediness, we find that others are more generous with us and that life’s real treasures begin to flow our way.
A helpful way to practice asteya when you’re feeling “not enough” is to ask, “How is this mindset blocking me from enjoying what I have?” Another way to foster a sense of abundance is to reflect on what is going well in life. Don’t over complicate it. Give thanks for having a partner or loving pet, the grace of good health, or the joy of having a garden.