Sutra 3.13: etena bhuta indriyasau dharma laksana avastha parinamah vyakhyatah
In this way, the change in the characteristics, state, and condition of objects and the senses is explained. Translation by Edwin Bryant
Every now and then, the sutras reach out into the regular world and say, hey, this is how yoga helps us understand everything else, everything non-yoga. In the midst of guidance on finding a deeply quiet and peaceful experience of self in relationship to the bigger picture, moments like these are reminders of what’s contained within the bigger picture looking from the outside in –what our everyday world is through which we can get to know yoga.
In the last two sutras, 3.11 + 3.12, we learned that to establish samadhi, we need a stream of steady concentration on one point, on pure consciousness. This is in contrast to the state of our mind when moving through most of our everyday activities. In our normal experience of the world, change –the change of time, the change of environment, the changes in our thoughts– reigns. And if change is our norm, it’s highly possible we won’t even think of it as such. It becomes, in our awareness, just another samskara, another groove in the mind that seems permanent.
What happens when we assume ourselves and our world to be one of permanence? We completely freak out when things start to change! The thought of not being part of this permanence baffles the mind. When change through aging, injury, circumstance, etc challenges our current experience of ourselves, most of us stubbornly refuse to accept any such notion and get busy with whatever actions we can take to mask this change.
The experience of samadhi, a state of oneness with pure consciousness, a state of awareness of the laws of the universe that are “permanent” (as best we have an ability to conceptualize actual permanence), helps to clarify for the experiencer that the rest is all changing. An experience of utterly unchanging focus on “nothing-ness” stands in stark contrast to the usual noise and clutter of the mind.
Before I started meditating, I had no idea that my thoughts were noisy. I would never have called it so — I love thinking. I love the noise in my brain because it connects me with the world around me. I still do love this about thought. After having a daily meditation practice for several years, though, I see my thoughts differently. I am more compassionate towards them. I am more accepting of their flighty nature and therefore better able to steady myself within them when I need to. I see myself in the big picture, and I see the big picture in me. I experience the steadiness and the fluctuations as one and the same, and ride through life with this union as a comfort.
Hari om tat sat!
Experience your true self and bring it into every moment of your living!
The Yoga Sutras are a classical text on yoga–a guidebook of sorts.
Each week, 216 teacher Esther Palmer dives into one of the sutras and we let it take us where it takes us.