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Not Taking Away


By HariKirin

The third Yama in yogic philosophy is "Asteya: non-stealing". Let's unpack this together.

Think of a time when you let your own light be diminished by negative self-talk, or by others. Something was stolen there. Think of a time when your own negative look or comment shrank another person. Large or small, these impacts leave a toxic residue on our emotions.


We are responsible for our impact. Even if the intention was good. If we see the word or action land in a hurting place, it is our amends to make.


One way to experience humanity is to feel into the "interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part." This is also the African principle of Ubuntu. Rev. Desmond Tutu explains;


Ubuntu is the essence of being human. It speaks of how my humanity is caught up and bound up inextricably with yours. It says, not as Descartes did, “I think, therefore I am” but rather, “I am because I belong.” I need other human beings in order to be human. The completely self-sufficient human being is subhuman. I can be me only if you are fully you. I am because we are, for we are made for togetherness, for family. We are made for complementarity. We are created for a delicate network of relationships, of interdependence with our fellow human beings, with the rest of creation.

-from Ubuntu: On the Nature of Human Community


With this understanding, we see that to limit ourselves is to limit others. To diminish another is to create our own failure. Armed with the yama of Not Taking Away, we see clearly what we put forth. We grow more fully into ourselves and into humanity.


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