About “taking what’s not yours” and the five senses

In this article I will share with you my thoughts about not taking what’s not ours. I will also talk about how we are exposed to many circumstance, especially through our five senses, where we have to exercise our judgment and decide whether to “take” what is not ours or not.

Making a sound judgment pays us well on a karmic and spiritual level. Always follow the golden rule:

Do unto others what you want them to do unto you

Remember that every action you make in life always comes with a price: physical, psychological, emotional and a karmic price.Remember that what goes around comes around.


When you find an item somewhere, like a wallet, a driver’s license, a smartphone, money or a piece of jewelry, etc…You tend to pick/touch the item up and decide what to do.

Exercise sound judgment about what to do with the lost/found item. Common sense dictates that you should deposit the item in the nearest lost and found location.

For instance if you found a driver’s license, just drop it in the nearest mail box. If you found something at work, university, gym or any other institution, make sure you return the item to the receptionist or the business owner so they try to notify the concerned parties.

When you find an item in a restaurant or the cafeteria at work or university: deposit this item so its rightful owner reclaims it. This is the most common form of not taking what’s not yours.

Always ask yourself, how would I feel if I lost an item and then came back to find it where it was lost only to realize that it was no longer there.

Many times I lost stuff but when I came back to look for them, luckily the items were not stolen. They either stayed where I left them or they were deposited at the reception desk.


I cannot tell you “not to smell what is not yours”, that would be funny. One way I can think of the smell sense and how it applies to not taking what is not ours is when we use the smell sense to inquire about something that does not concern us.

For example, if the sense smell distract you and arouses your curiosity in a non healthy manner and cause you to inquire about businesses that are not of your concern then just stop doing that. Do not “take” what is not yours.

I leave it up to your imagination to think how your smell sense can violate the rule of not taking what is not yours.


I can think of the case when you find yourself at a party or open buffet restaurant. You would feel that “Hey, it is free food, let me eat more and pick the best food items”.

By doing that you are forgetting about others that may also be hungry and would like to taste the same things as you.

If you paid for an “all you can eat” meal at a restaurant it does not mean you have to be greedy and over eat. In that aspect taking what is yours is taking (eating) as much as needed to satisfy your hunger. Anything excess will do you harm rather than good: think of gaining weight, letting your animal instinct and greed develop (instead of controlling your senses).

Again be responsible when it comes to eating without limits just because it is there and it is free.

There’s a saying: “If this is not your pocket (from which you are spending the money from), it is your stomach that you are stuffing”


The hearing sense is another form of “taking” things through your ears, the things that you’re not supposed to listen/hear.

  • Overhearing a conversation: if you happen to be in such situation where you can hear some people talking privately then if you can avoid hearing then do it. At least don’t intently listen and analyze the conversation
  • Going out of your way and making extra efforts to hear/listen to what you’re not supposed to hear.


The sight sense allow us to see things with our eyes. The sight sense tends to give us a lot of opportunities to practice “not taking what is not ours”.

It is no wonder that one of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament says:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s

It all starts when you’re looking at things you’re not supposed to look at:

  • People typing passwords: look away when someone is trying to type a password
  • Waiting in line for the ATM. Don’t peek and look while trying to figure out what is the PIN of the person in front of you. Not only this is not ethical, this can constitute a crime
  • Peeking at someone else’s smartphone: while curiosity killed the cat, you as a human being have the will power to look away and restrain your curiosity
  • Staring at women’s/men’s body parts: this can be unhealthy especially if it evokes irritability and discomfort to others.
    • Sometimes women or men will be wearing exposing or very sexy cloth (sometimes to the extent of being inappropriate). In this case, even if you feel it is impossible not to look, still exercise self control and look with respect. Look the person in the eyes. Eventually you will not miss anything. It pays you well to tame your senses and instinct and use it only when appropriate. Do not objectify others.
      One day you will get married or find a partner and it will be your right to look all you want at your partner. Not only that is more healthy, depending on your partner, it is healthy and flattering.
  • Voyeurism: No matter how tempted you feel, this is still a sight not for you to see. If you are not personally concerned then don’t look.
    • Looking/Sneaking a peek at your neighbors or strangers having intimate moments: it is their private moment. Mind your business.
    • Looking/Sneaking a peek at the girl/boy next door changing cloth across from your bedroom window
    • Peeking outside through your door peephole just to see who coming and going out of compulsion and unhealthy curiosity: control yourself.
    • Peeking through your garden fences to see what your neighbor is doing
    • Going out of your way and making extra efforts to see what you’re not supposed to see: in a sense you are crossing the line and may be spying in that case.
    • etc…
  • Taking pictures or video recording: do not record others without their permission or without at least letting them see that you are recording (so they have a chance to tell you not to record if they don’t want to be recorded)
  • A big NO for coveted picture taking/video recording. No matter what.
  • Leaking private photos: if you steal / leak private photos you are taking what is not yours. You are also committing a crime. Don’t do that. Remember that you will incur karmic debt.
  • http://www.answers.com/Q/What_does_the_Bible_mean_by_’thou_shall_not_covet_thy_neighbor’s_wife’

Whatever circumstance your sight sense puts you through, use your moral compass and make the right call.


Finally, I cannot dictate to you what to do and what not to do, or what is right for you and what is not right for you. Remember there is no absolute right and wrong outside of what your moral compass and your spiritual maturity tells you.

In the end, when the time is right then you will hear/smell/touch/taste/smell anything that life has in store for you. Only then you are sanctioned to use your senses.

Be patient, good things come to those who wait.

Kindly leave your comments, suggestions or thoughts in the comments below.

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