Asteya is the third of the yamas and means non-stealing. Steya means to steal, asteya means not stealing. Asteya means far more than refraining from taking physical objects--it means not taking what is not freely offered, i.e. attention, ideas, or time.
When we impose on another by taking up their time or attention (when not freely offered), it becomes a form of theft. I read somewhere about a yoga teacher saying that being tardy or late falls into this category of theft of time. Of course, there are times when being late is unavoidable, but if it is through laziness or carelessness or done deliberately, then it violates the precept of asteya.
You know what I mean. Have you ever told someone to be present at a time earlier than you told everyone else--in hopes that the entire group wouldn't have to wait?
Asteya also means we should refrain from taking another's ideas, thoughts, words, or techniques and claiming them as our own original ideas, etc. Taking credit when it belongs to someone else is a form of theft. When these things are freely offered, we can take advantage of that generosity, but not claim it as our own original ideas.
Asteya is honesty, in any and all aspects, tangible or intangible.
There is so much generosity on the web, so much sharing. Most of the people who share ideas and techniques aren't saying they "invented" it out of thin air, so to speak, but more that they have "embellished," "developed," "expanded," --have taken a technique further in some way and shared it freely. We are all grateful for this generosity, and ideas and techniques spread outward, rippling through various communities.
Building on a foundation is wonderful, as long as we don't claim to have built the foundation.
2:37. When the yogi has subdued the stealing tendency in
human nature, material existence endeavors to serve
him. Thus it seems that all precious things become
available to him. --Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
:) I got a little carried away on this one, and I have 2 more yamas to go! Bear with me, and I'll skip the niyamas.
Today, I hope to finish the AAQI quilt I've been working on.