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Acknowledging the Breadth of Emotions (Asteya)

Non-stealing is a basic interpretation for Asteya. We should not take what does not belong to us, both material and immaterial. We “steal” when we waste others' time or remove them from their peace of mind. We can steal from ourselves, as well.

Depriving ourselves of the ability to feel is a violation of Asteya. When we feel overwhelmed with life, sometimes we attempt to dismiss our worries with other activities. Constructive use of time (however an individual personally defines “constructive”), can be a beneficial pursuit. Other times, we merely distract ourselves to our own detriment. If we attempt to escape the grief of our ailments, we may suppress our emotions and learn to avoid those feelings. When we approach similar situations, we may repeatedly (possibly inadvertently), retreat from those emotions. Doing so develops a pattern of avoidance. Withdrawing in fear only serves to reinforce those negative feelings. We avoid them for the time being, while never learning how to address them. The result is a temporary relief from the associated anxiety – until another, similar situation arises. The next situation will challenge us in the same way. We can again choose to flee or address it. Addressing the situation opens us to the associated emotions while teaching us to manage and eventually lessening the associated anxiety with that particular situation.

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