Bringing Awareness to Consumption: Observations

In contemplating these definitions, as well as the catalyst behind these actions (jealousy and desire), I began to categorize them in terms of which ones don’t challenge me, which I’ve already worked on in the past and which are still a challenge.

It is the basic, material definitions of asteya that are not challenging. Stealing, misappropriation, using something for the wrong purpose or beyond it’s time limit. As someone who is fortunate enough to have my basic needs met, I have not lived a life where these actions have been tempting or even necessary for survival. I also do not have any psycho-emotional issues that would lead me to these material forms of stealing.

I have already addressed some of the more subtle forms of asteya in the past. When I first began teaching group exercise classes I was guilty of accepting undue praise and giving the impression that ideas were my own. This came from the desire for my students to have confidence in my abilities. I didn’t want them to know that I was a new teacher and to doubt that I had the knowledge to help them. In high school I started working on not gossiping. I consider this a form of asteya as it is a breach of trust. I find that it takes conscious effort not to gossip because there is such a strong desire to share information that you know other people would find interesting. This comes from my desire to be liked, to be seen as entertaining.

And finally, there are forms of asteya that I still struggle with eliminating. One is gathering things that I don’t really need. I think at times this comes from jealousy of what others have and at other times it is just a desire for ownership. There is security and comfort in owning things. Also, I find that I’m guilty of misappropriation of non-material things, namely my time and attention. I thrive on multi-tasking but have become aware that when I try and divide my time in so many directions, nobody gets the benefit of my full attention. I see this as a form of asteya in regards to my family who deserves my full attention and especially in regards to my personal training clients who are actually paying for my full attention. My family is supportive but I can tell at times that my unavailability annoys them. My clients’ feedback tells me that they are satisfied, but I know personally that there are times where I could be giving them more.