Last week we began our exploration of the third yama, asteya/non-stealing. We started the practice by thinking about ways that we steal time and energy from ourselves and from others. In my post, I said that our most valuable resource is time. This week I'd like to expand on that; consider for a moment if our most valuable resource is not only our time, but also our attention.
Having a whole library, TV, encyclopedia, weather station, gaming console and access to the thoughts of millions of people in a device smaller than a single book is incredibly convenient, but how often does technology divide or perhaps steal our attention, often without us even noticing?
As a society we are more distracted than ever. While sometimes this distraction may not hurt anyone, at other times it can hurt other's feelings, cause accidents, or make us miss out on the best parts of life.
When we watch TV while eating, we steal the enjoyment of a meal from ourselves, and perhaps the pride of the person who has spent time carefully preparing it.
We steal our attention from the important task of driving any time we respond to our phones while on the road.
We steal the enjoyment of a concert when we focus on capturing the perfect picture or videoing the act rather than simply watching and being present.
We steal our presence from those around us by scrolling on our phones instead of paying attention the person in front of us.
"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention" ~ Thich Nhat Han
This week, on and off the mat we'll be exploring asteya or non-stealing of our attention and presence. I believe this practice connects the very heart of what our yoga practice is for; learning to be present in the moment.
Start today by removing all distractions when you sit down to eat. Practice presence with others by committing to leaving your phone, laptop and other technology completely out of sight while interacting with friends and family. On and off the mat commit to being present and attentive to whatever you're doing or whoever you're with.