If you’ve been on this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big proponent of practicing non-judgment. The Universe and Who We Really Are, never judges us or sees us as “wrong” or “broken”. No actions are “evil”. There is simply that which serves us and that which doesn’t. This, or rather the misinterpretation of this principle, is one of the main reasons that many consider LOA to be a selfish and even sociopathic belief system. Nothing could actually be further from the truth, and answering this question will allow me to further explore and explain the concept of non-judgment.
So, if there is no big entity somewhere judging us, if everything is truly ok in the Universe’s (or God’s or our Higher Self’s, etc.) eyes, then is it “ok” to steal?
Stealing is not manifesting
First things first. Almost every one of the versions of this question that I have been sent (and there have been several), asked if it was ok to “manifest” by stealing. So, before I go any further, I’d like to explain that stealing is not manifesting, at least not in the way we want to deliberately practice it.
That’s like saying that you manifested a resolution to an argument by bashing your opponents’ head in. Sure, you can do it that way, but given what it is that you REALLY wanted to accomplish, it may not have been the BEST option.
True manifesting is lining up your energy with what you really want and then allowing the Universe to bring all the components together perfectly to make it happen. And when you allow this process to take place, when you simply open yourself up to receiving what you want, and being inspired to any action that you may need to take, you never have to take anything away from anyone and you never have to hurt anyone.
When you align with Who You Really Are, your manifestations will never have negative consequences for anyone.
What causes people to steal
No one just wakes up one day and decides to be a thief. This is an action and a mindset that results from a whole host of limiting beliefs. Stealing is a way to make something happen that one doesn’t believe will happen any other way. Again, it’s the equivalent of resolving an argument with violence. The basis of this kind of behavior is fear and powerlessness.
Think about it: Under what circumstances might you be motivated to steal something? And I don’t mean what kind of justification might you have to come up with to make it easier for yourself – that’s just the mind justifying the action. I mean, under what circumstances would you actually feel compelled to take something that isn’t yours?
The Reptilian Brain
Well, I’m guessing that pretty much everyone would steal food if they were starving. While extreme, this is an example that we can all understand and relate to. If you and your family were starving to death, and there was a loaf of bread sitting on a shelf by the door of the supermarket, you wouldn’t hesitate for very long. You wouldn’t really have a choice – your hunger and fear of death would compel you take the food. Your survival mechanism would step in to protect you from death. This is the reptilian brain – the oldest part of our brains and the part of our noggins responsible for basic survival. And while our actual survival is rarely threatened these days, the reptilian brain gets a lot more involved in our everyday lives than we like to think.
This part of our brains makes no decisions or judgments. It doesn’t evaluate or weigh evidence. It’s like a machine, running a very basic program of survival and it sees EVERYTHING in terms of this program. When it considers something a threat, it has no way of determining if that threat is big or small (that comes from the higher brain functions). If the reptilian brain considers something to be dangerous, it sees it as a threat to your life and reacts accordingly.
This is the most animalistic part of our brains and as much as we like to think of ourselves as evolved, intelligent, cognitive beings, when it comes right down to it, we’re a lot more primal than we may realize. And at no time is this more apparent than when we feel threatened or in danger.
Activating the reptilian brain
When we have a fear or limiting belief, and this fear gets triggered, it can actually cause the reptilian brain to think that our life is in danger. It will cause us to act in ways that are designed to mitigate that danger. If you get hungry enough, you’ll eat anything. Your cognitive abilities will eventually shut down to the point where you are nothing but instinct. You won’t even be aware of what you’re doing anymore. You’ll kill for food. It doesn’t matter how evolved you are, if sufficiently threatened, your animal nature will step in to protect you and keep you alive. The motivation and drive for these actions come from the reptilian brain and it has the power to override all the other, much bigger and more evolved parts of our brains when it has to. This is generally a good thing, and has been crucial to the survival of our species.
The problem is that, in our current times, our lives aren’t really threatened all that often. The issues we face today have much less to do with hunting and protecting ourselves against saber toothed tigers, and much more to do with budget reports and arguments with our spouse. And yet, when we feel threatened in any way, that reptilian brain jumps in to protect us. Willpower, determination and discipline can’t stop it. Neither can the threat of negative consequences. When you are starving, you no longer care if you could get in trouble for stealing the bread. You just want to live.
How this relates to stealing non-essentials
So, we’re all in agreement that if we were starving, we would totally steal some food. But how does that relate to people who are stealing lipstick and designer shoes, or those who plunder millions from retirement accounts? The underlying principles are exactly the same, just on a different scale.
Stealing usually occurs when the individual (the thief) has a combination of the following beliefs (highly simplified for the sake of explanation. Real life is always messier):
Scarcity - a belief that there’s a limited supply of everything. In order for one person to get something, another must give it up. In order for one person to win, another must lose.
Powerlessness – a belief or set of beliefs that states that the individual does not have the power to get what he really wants.
A strong desire - the individual must have a strong desire for something – so strong that the reptilian brain equates it with survival.
Notice that I never mention morality or ethics here. Those come into play when you judge why certain actions are right or wrong and when people try to justify why an action might move from one side of that line to the other. The Universe doesn’t judge. Period.
For example, if you justified your compulsion to steal by saying that you only steal from large companies but never single individuals, that would be the mind coming up with ways to feel less guilty about the action. But the compulsion was there first. Taking it back to the basics, if you were starving enough, you wouldn’t care whose bread it was that you were taking. Thoughts of guilt might come in later, but in that very moment, you wouldn’t give it a second thought. Because when the reptilian brain takes over, thought no longer comes into play.
So, now you have an individual who has a strong desire for something, which the reptilian brain interprets as necessary for survival (that happens a lot more than you think). You couple that with the belief that the individual cannot get this thing he thinks he needs, and the belief that the only way to get anything is to find a way to take it from others. Stir that pot long enough and a thief is born – a person who, when presented with the opportunity, will take over the Universe’s job of manifesting what they want and try to just make it happen.
And in so doing, they will perpetuate the energy of scarcity and powerlessness within themselves (by reacting from a place of fear, you add to the fear) and by spreading it to others (nothing will trigger beliefs of powerlessness more strongly than being victimized). And while the victim had to be a vibrational match to the experience that being robbed provided, it goes to show that when both sides (victim and perpetrator) blindly react from their place of powerlessness, they simply keep adding to that energy, keeping themselves stuck in this cycle.
A better option
So yes, you can get what you want by just taking it from others, and the Universe will not judge you (you won’t go to hell for it), but given that what you really want (in this example) is to feel abundant and powerful, is it really the best way to go about getting that? Stealing perpetuates the energy of what you DON’T want. This is why thieves never just steal once. The high (feeling of empowerment) from the theft wears off and then they steal again, even when they clearly no longer “need” to. And when focused upon long enough, the energy that led to the compulsion to steal in the first place can become enormous (think Bernie Madoff).
So, while stealing can lead to short term satisfaction, it will never lead to long term happiness and fulfillment. NOT because it’s morally wrong, but simply because the very act of stealing is caused by a focus on the vibration of what we DON’T want, continuously perpetuating the energy of that and keeping us from moving towards Who We Really Are and what we want.
When a child steals, it’s often enough to threaten them with consequences to get them to stop, especially when they were just testing boundaries. But if the powerlessness is large enough and the desire strong enough, no amount of lecturing and even physical punishments will work. Neither will imprisonment. Most people who steal and get sent to jail will steal again when they get out (often having become more efficient thieves in the process). This is because we are trying to use logic and reasoning to shut down an action that was compelled by the reptilian brain. It doesn’t work.
Our true options for stopping this compulsion are:
- Deactivate the reptilian brain. This isn’t an option, since it would lead to death. Promptly.
- Shut down the desire, therefore stopping the reason for the stealing. This also isn’t really an option, since you can’t shut down a desire once it’s formed.
- Break the link between the desire and the idea of survival. Good luck with that. In order to break this link, you’ll need to find a way to make the desire unimportant (since the reptilian brain only has two speeds – necessary or not necessary). And although this is possible, it’s still the hard way to go about it, since it it’s very difficult to make something that’s really important to you unimportant. However, you can -
- Release the core beliefs of scarcity and powerlessness, to disarm the triggers. This is a really viable option, but very hard to do WHILE being triggered, especially when the beliefs are big and old. Which is why I recommend the following:
- Figure out what’s behind the desire and discover other options to get THAT. No one really wants money. We always want money because we think we can use it to get something else. And so, while the (not too bright) reptilian brain may think “Must get money to survive”, what we really want is to feel powerful, or abundant, or safe. If we can discover what our true motivation is, we can disarm a lot of the triggers of our fears. We may have tons of beliefs of scarcity around money, for example, but we may have no such barriers to the core feeling of abundance. When we focus on the core of what it is that we really want, we begin to see options available to us that have nothing to do with money or stealing.
So, is it wrong to steal?
No. It’s not wrong to steal. Nothing is wrong. There is that which serves us and that which doesn’t serve us. Stealing, while possibly satisfying in the moment, doesn’t serve us. It keeps us stuck in powerlessness and scarcity, perpetuating that energy and making it grow bigger. It’s like a drug addict having to take more and more drugs to get the same rush. Thieves often need bigger and bigger scores to get the same amount of relief. When someone becomes self-aware enough, stealing is no longer a viable option – again, not because it’s wrong, but simply because it doesn’t get us where we want to go.
What do you think? Has this post helped you to understand the concept of non-judgment a bit better? Do you have a different view of those who steal? I know that many of you are going to have a lot to say about this topic, so go on. Let’s have it.