Updated: Apr 23
Prior to learning about the yamas, I would have not thought of reciprocity as a form of non-stealing. Well, not entirely at least. For example, in most common transactions, money is exchanged – otherwise it would be considered stealing. There is also this universal moral to not take anything that doesn’t belong to us, however to think of myself in debt to the gift of life since the moment I was born, is a new way to look at it for me.
I remember, as a child, I’d compare myself to others often and I’d wonder why I couldn’t have parents like someone else’s parents or why I couldn’t have the things that others had. During my teenage an early adulthood, I was convinced that it was life 'which had been so unfair towards me' that was in my debt. I’d think to myself, more often than less, that I did not ask to be here. I didn’t understand why so much was expected from me despite all that I have been through, when I could have easily just not existed at all.
Years of comparing myself to others resulted in me working tirelessly to have all of the nice things that I felt I had missed out on while growing up. This only led to exhaustion and more frustration. While I thought that it was life cheating me, I was actually cheating myself – stealing from myself. I wasted a lot of time and energy -to say the least- into attaining things just because someone else had it and it seemed cool. My disappointment led me to unhealthy habits until I simply wanted to give up an end my own life.
Now older and wiser, I am grateful to still be here and able to connect with a greater purpose for my existence. I am also grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow from many experiences in life, however tracing back to reciprocity, I find it challenging to maintain a balance between giving and receiving. Instead of thinking of myself as entitled for having to experience a lot of trauma, I sometimes fall into a habit of feeling undeserving to the point that I’d still cheat myself by giving more to others than I have to give – mentally, emotionally, and physically. From time to time, I even find myself still falling into overexerting myself with work.
In my new understanding, after learning about Asteya, reciprocity seems to be a responsibility to maintaining a balance of ebb and flow within all things in life. Furthermore, reciprocity is to prescind the idea of material things and to focus on acquiring a competency with life as a whole. Non-stealing is an understanding that my history was not meant to be carried as a burden but as an opportunity to learn and grow – and always will.
What are your thoughts and/or comments on this?