Introduction to Yoga Sutras 3.09-3.16
WITNESSING SUBTLE TRANSITIONS WITH SAMYAMA
WHAT IS AN OBJECT?
We normally think of an object as something you can touch, or hold in
your hand. However, an object need not necessarily be material in
TRANSITION IS AN OBJECT:
Think of a car, which is a material object. When it is driving down
the road, there is the kinetic energy of motion. That motion itself
is also an object of sorts; it is some-thing, though having no
molecules of its own. Now, imagine that your car either accelerates
or decelerates. The change, shift, or transition is, itself, a
separate object, though quite related to both the car as object, and
the motion as object.
THOUGHTS HAVE TRANSITIONS:
Similar to the car above, thoughts are also objects. However, the
thoughts in the mind field not only interact with one another; they
also come and go. Just imagine for a moment that you had mastery over
that process of the coming and going of the thoughts, the
transitions. With mastery over the transition process itself, you
would gain tremendous insight and mastery over the thoughts
themselves, as well as the subtlest inner transitions of mental
process. Those subtle transitions are also objects themselves,
subject to exploration and witnessing, as well as to setting aside
through non-attachment (1.15).
THREE SUBTLE TRANSITIONS ARE WITNESSED:
You become witness not only to thoughts as we normally think of
thoughts, but also to the transition process of how they are coming,
being, and going.
You become witness to the process of transitioning into mastery over
thought patterns (nirodhah-parinamah, 3.9, 1.2), since that
transition is an object.
You become witness to the process of transitioning into the higher
state of meditation (samadhi-parinamah, 3.11), since that transition
is an object.
You become witness to the process of transitioning into one-
pointedness of mind (ekagra-parinamah, 3.12), since that transition
is an object.
MASTERY OF TRANSITION BRINGS MASTERY OF THOUGHTS:
By mastering these three types of transition process, mastery can be
gained over all of the particular thought patterns subject to these
processes. It brings mastery over the life cycle process of the
countless objects of the mind field. Samyama was introduced as the
finer tool (3.4-3.6), and this process of dealing with transitions is
a finer use of that tool. In this way, we come to see that purifying
the mind does not mean a detailed psychological analysis of each
thought, but rather, gaining mastery over the life cycle of those
THE TRANSITIONS ARE LATER TRANSCENDED:
The inner journey of Yoga systematically encounters and then moves
through layer after layer of experience, each time moving past
another level of ignorance or avidya (2.5). While the mastery of the
subtle transitions described in this section brings such a new level,
it too is only a stage to experience. In the most subtle stages of
practice, even these transitions are transcended through dharma-
meghah samadhi. (4.32)
TRANSITIONS: NEW YEARS AND
NEW MOMENTS IN LIFE AND MEDITATION
The transition from one year to the next year happens in an
infinitely short moment that is actually non-existent in time. So
too, there are transitions in the moments of life and the moments of
meditation. Mindfulness of transitions in daily life and during
meditation time is extremely useful on the spiritual journey to
enlightenment. The recording ends with a 15-minute guided
contemplative meditation on Transitions, which begins at 54:42.
Podcast Date: Dec 30, 2006 Length 1:09:25