There’s a running joke in my family that one of my aunts is “chronically late”, as though it were a condition she’s afflicted with. It’s a disease I share. I’m not always late, but more often than I’d like, I find myself leaving the house later than I meant to and then rushing to the next place I have to be. This is stressful for me, no doubt, but it’s also a waste of time for the person on the other end, sitting at the restaurant or outside the yoga studio, waiting for me to arrive.

The third Yama in the list is Asteya, non-stealing. (The Yamas are the ethical guidelines for living a yogic life. We covered the first two, Ahimsa {non-violence} and Satya {truth}, the past few weeks.) Asteya both refers to not stealing the possessions others but also to not stealing the intangibles, time, energy, etc, ie, not taking that which is not freely given. When I’m late for an appointment, I’m stealing the time of whoever is waiting on me.

I once had a sweetie who was even later than I was. Without fail, I’d wait half an hour or more every single time we met. Even though I was also often late, it made me so angry! I felt disrespected, like my boo didn’t think my time was valuable. I’d sit at the coffeeshop or the bar fuming about this time I was wasting. This was ultimately really good for me because it taught me what other people felt like when I stole their time, but I still struggle to consistently be punctual.

Of course life happens, and occasionally things come up (sometimes literally, like the St. Claude Bridge). But if you’re habitually, chronically late like me, we’ve got work to do. Stealing time from other people creates more fluctuations in our mind (Sutra 1.2), and prevents us from abiding in our own True Nature (Sutra 1.3).

This week I’m thinking of timeliness as next to Godliness, so to speak, and trying hard to not steal time that doesn’t belong to me. Will you join me?

Much love,