The Yama of Asteya presents itself as one of the most pivotal moral guides during this time. This Yama, most basically, means non-stealing. As with the other Yamas, the literal meaning of the word only scratches the surface of how deep the definition can extend into our lives. Non-stealing does not only mean that we should not steal the property of another—it also means that we should not steal others rights, happiness, ideas or safety/security.
It is important to remember during this difficult time that in an effort to promote what we love, we might also be outwardly bashing what we hate. While this may seem justified in the eyes of the individual making the claims—there are always people on the receiving end of these messages that may begin to feel attacked, robbed of their own ability to express their ideas, or in the worst case scenario—potentially begin to feel unsafe. When we make this transition, we are stealing from them in many senses of the word.
There is a difference between promoting what we love and bashing what we hate. One can exist without the other. One, in fact, should exist without the other. It is completely plausible to spread the messages we want to spread in a positive light—i.e., promoting what we love. However, the moment this message takes a turn and begins to put down someone elses beliefs in an effort to give more leverage to our own—well that is when we are guilty of violating Asteya.
It is a fine line to walk, but one we need to be mindful of. This can be applied to times much less volatile than the current climate of our country (such as promoting yoga by bashing Pilates, as a simple example), but it seems applicable to address a situation everyone can relate to presently.
Regardless of the political side we might resonate with currently, there is a lesson here in learning how to spread our messages through love, rather than through hate and anger. To remember that in times like these, we are granted no extra right to steal from others. We have no free pass to stop viewing other people as individuals and to view them instead as targets for our anger and hurt.
Asteya is a reminder that stealing, in any sense of the word, is harmful—but especially so when we rob others of their rights or feelings of security. Besides, much more can be accomplished toward our own agendas when we approach others with positive passion for our views rather than with negativity, anger and hostility.