3.16 Meditative integration (samyama) on the three dimensions of change (properties, characteristics, and condition) reveals past and future.
At the most obvious level, when you look closely at one of the cups you use regularly to drink your favorite beverage, you can probably see some signs of wear including tiny scratches, some stains, and perhaps some other subtle discolorations. These are marks that tell the story of that cup, they are signs from its past. At the same time, there are potential changes in the future of the cup that are most likely beyond what you can ascertain. This aphorism continues the previous discussion about meditative integration, the technique for directing your awareness with laser-like precision towards any focal point. Through meditative integration you can discover the properties (dharma), characteristics (lakshana), and condition (avastha) (3.13) of anything you focus on. You can also apprehend its essence (3.14). Becoming aware of the sequence in the manifestations of those states you can know the various changes that object undergoes (3.15). This sutra continues that line of thought by saying that samyama on the changes along the three dimensions (properties, characteristics, state) can show you the changes that an object has undergone as well as the potential changes to happen in the future. So you may be able to know the composition and origin of the clay used to make the cups, as well as where the cup has been and where it will be in the future. You may even be able to learn what will happen to the cup once it is broken and becomes shards. Of course, it is possible to test these ideas by meditating on any object and trying to notice what information may be revealed.
When we think about accessing information about the past and future of a certain object, is it possible that there is an all-encompassing timeless awareness that pervades all of existence, yet cannot be fully apprehended through our senses only?
Could it be that whatever manifests in the world of the senses enters the dimension of time?
Can it be that, in awareness, time collapses just like it does in our subconscious mind where memories from events that happened at different times come together regardless of the order of their occurrence?
Is it possible that you can learn to regulate your internal levels of activity and reactivity so that you can turn your senses inward (pratyahara 2.54) to explore the timelessness of your being? (And, perhaps, in that timelessness there are cues to seeing beyond the boundaries of time?)
What happens when you try to relax yourself deeply into the spaciousness, silence and timelessness within?
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:
3.16 pariṇāmatrayasaṃyamātatītānāgata jñānam
परिणामत्रयसंयमाततीतानागत ज्ञानम् ॥१६॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast: