1.16 Awareness established in Truth does not become distracted, even by the subtlest fluctuations in nature
A clear and firm intention is sustainable if it is directed towards something that lasts. The previous sutra helps you recognize the temporary and changing nature of wants and dislikes so that it is possible to stop chasing after sensations, thoughts and emotions. Almost inevitably questions arise: What is not temporary? Is there anything that lasts? As you attend to life processes, you are bound to notice that nothing seems permanent. Perhaps, the only thing permanent is the constant mutability of life in its ongoing variations. In fact, what aspect of you notices these endless changes? Is it simply a way of looking? When you stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself and then look at a picture of you from five or ten years before, you can see the changes in your external appearance. Yet, despite the changes in your body, in your ways of thinking, and in your emotions, it seems like every time you look in the mirror there is some part that does not change, that seems to remain the same. Is that part more lasting than all the temporary aspects of yourself? Is that aspect of you what is often called the Seer or the Witness? Is that aspect of you related to the natural state explored in verses 1.3 and 1.4, the state of just being with what is? Another way of exploring this is to ponder what is left when temporary activities quiet down? Does contemplating impermanence influence your moods, thoughts and actions? As your explorations bring some experiential insight into these questions, you may expand your research to live with the following questions: What is the background of all of life? If everything is impermanent, is there anything that is permanent and unchanging? If so, is that what Truth is?
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with some of the words coming together:
तत्परं पुरुषख्यातेः गुणवैतृष्ण्यम् ॥१६॥
tatparaṃ puruṣakhyāteḥ guṇavaitṛṣṇyam
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually: