Like Satya, Asteya (non-stealing), seems like an easy one at first. JUST DON’T STEAL. However, also similar to truthfulness, upon further examination non-stealing means so much more. Aside from abstaining from petty theft, how can I practice Asteya in a way that is whole and honest (Aha! See how these things are starting to relate? More on that later.) How do I steal from others without meaning to or realizing it? Do I take more than I need to eat, to use, to wear? Do I buy extra “just in case”? Could my overconsumption be ultimately negatively effecting my community? Does that cute purse at Buffalo Exchange REALLY belong to someone else, someone with more need or desire, and I would be stealing from them if I took it instead? Sounds silly, but this is a real thing. I grew up in a house where if we had nothing to do, we went shopping. It was a way to spend a free day, an entertainment activity, with little regard for whether we really NEEDED anything. I don’t think this is necessarily a “wrong” or “bad” mindset, to an extent, as we had the means to live so. But now that I am responsible for my own finances and spending choices, perhaps it is time to shift my perspective on SHOPPING and approach as a need-based activity than a way to pass the time. Not just as a way to save money (although that will be a nice side effect), but in an effort to slow or stop my unnecessary consumption, for the month of April I will not buy anything that I do not NEED.
Hmm, NEED.. that’s a tricky word, and I can see myself bending the definition as a way to allow the purchase of something I just really, really, really, LIKE. So, to be more concrete, I can only buy: groceries and produce (being mindful of how much), toiletries (not make-up), cleaning products that I cannot sub something I already have, and medicine (mostly for my dog, and it IS allergy season). I will “eat out” only if I do not have something to prepare at home (which pretty much never happens) and I will allow myself to partake in social gatherings and libations (purity is another month, thankfully). I will not buy anything that is not vital to my survival or basic comfort in the moment (no, I can’t buy a coat on sale because it WILL get cold again). Again, all this sounds trivial, but I LOVE browsing and shopping, online and in person, (wonder why?) and I think this will be harder than it seems. However, I am welcoming the challenge and look forward to how this month might shift my perspective and perhaps create a new outlook on necessity and consumption. Just got to stay out of Target..