एतेन भूतेन्द्रियेषु धर्मलक्षणावस्थापरिणामा व्याख्याताः I
etena bhūta-indriyeṣu dharma-lakṣaṇa-avasthā-pariṇāmā vyākhyātāḥ
With this (etena), changes (pariṇāmā) in our inherent nature (dharma), changes due to external interference (lakṣaṇa) and changes based on time (avasthā) seen in the elements (bhūta) and the senses (indriyeṣu) are explained (vyākhyātāḥ).
PRACTICAL LIVING The last few sūtras described how the mind can gradually change from distraction and agitation to calmness and focus. This sūtra emphasizes the fact that everything in nature goes through transformation. This transformation changes according to three different things:
(i) dharma – one’s essential qualities or main properties (our blueprint) will determine how change occurs in our lives. A rainforest will go through different changes than a desert, for example. I will go through different changes than you because we are different. A dandelion does not wish it was more like an iris – they each have their own dharma. Can we accept our own dharma as a determining factor for change?
(ii) lakṣaṇa – life factors happening around us also determine how we change. The plants in my garden, for example, depend on sunlight, water and pruning. When I leave on vacation, someone else needs to water them to ensure they do not die. As children, the amount of love and attention we received from our caregivers determined how we developed and changed. Our social and geographical locations have clear influences in our personalities and life perspectives.
(iii) avasthā – timing is essential as a determining factor for change. The irises in my garden only flower in the spring and no matter how much I hope or complain that they do not bloom in the winter, they still won’t bloom. I also strongly believe that I was only ready to be in the graduate program I am currently in, now – after the many years of other self-studies. Change has a time component that we often want to ignore or want to press fast forward on. Just like the seasons, change has its phases and can only occur as we are ready for it.
These three components above remind me to learn how to accept and love what I bring into the world. Not what you or others bring – but what my own inherent nature has to offer. I am also reminded that external factors matter, therefore surrounding myself with people and situations that elevate and support my inherent nature, is really important. Lastly, there is patience – I do what I can and then allow space for life do its thing at its own time.
IN THE YOGA WORLD Back in sūtras II.15 and II.19 we discussed the nature of change in terms of the guṇas – tamas (heaviness/stillness), rajas (movement) and sattva (balance/clarity). The mind, our senses and the object of our senses share these different characteristics as well. Sometimes we feel lethargic or sleepy, sometimes active or even hyperactive, and hopefully more often than not, we feel clear, balanced and spacious.
The five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether, the corresponding senses of smell, taste, sight, touch and sound, and the senses of perception and organs of action, in addition to the mind, intelligence, consciousness and ego are all parts of nature. All of these are influenced by the guṇas and are continuously changing.
The whole universe is changing continuously – a good reminder for us when we are wanting life to be different than what it is.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Life is continuously changing and this goddess, Leah, surfs it like a pro! She is kind, hilarious to the bone and lights up the world with simply her presence. Leah has brought so much lightness, laughter, absurd playfulness and friendship into my life this past year. Woman, I love watching you ride this crazy journey and role with what life brings your away. You are such a blossoming beautiful flower! Love you so very much! Thank you for existing!
Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!
Thanks and we will look at change and nature vs. nurture!