Asteya is a Sanskrit word that means "non-stealing." It's one of the 10 yamas and niyamas of yoga -- ethical guidelines that yogis strive to embody and practice, on and off the mat.
And like most yogi-centric ideas, it's got several layers of meaning and depth.
On a surface level, practicing Asteya can mean literally not stealing money out of someone's pocket. It can also mean not hoarding materials you don't need, mindlessly consuming natural resources, coveting other people's possessions, or appropriating other people's ideas.
But one of the most interesting interpretations of Asteya is the notion of not stealing the most precious and non-renewable resource of all: time.
With each passing year, my life seems to accelerate. I'm highly conscious of how little time I have left to do the work that needs to be done. I'm highly conscious of how little time I have left with my parents -- a few decades, a couple dozen Christmas dinners, and a handful of vacations together, if we're lucky. I'm highly conscious of how easy it can be... to waste time. Mine, and others.
Here are a few thoughts on how to practice Asteya -- non-stealing of other's time -- in your work and communication.
- Write short, concise, elegant emails. Most working professionals receive upward of 100 emails a day. If you're going to add to the queue, strive to be precise.
If you tend to be overly-wordy, pretend as though you're appearing on a morning talk show and only have a few moments to captivate your audience. If you tend to use a lot of convoluted jargon, pretend that you're speaking to a very young child.
It's been said that "all the wealth of the world will be drawn to one who has mastered the practice and discipline of Asteya." How do you practice Asteya in your everyday life? How do you inspire others to practice it, too?
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