Listening to all the news about the possible first sighting of a Higgs boson particle and the attendant proclamations of having, just maybe, finally found the God particle, I’ve been struck with a strong sense of deja vu. Now, deja vu, itself, is no longer an odd or infrequent visitor for me. As my Mindfulness practice has evolved, a certain kind of sixth sense has grown–a form of apprehending life events within a subtle, but powerful, context of non-reactivity. This leaves room for experience “bigger than” the ordinary thought/reaction context within which we live our ordinary daily lives. Yet—the deja vu sense has been particularly vibrant for me as the Higgs boson story unfolds.
Here’s what’s coming up in the deja vu lens for me. First, apprehension of how deeply culture and experience are intertwined. Is it any wonder that so much of the reporting of the Higgs boson findings sounds so much like the words of the Three Wise Men from the Christian Bible? The deep longing, to find the long promised Christ child and longing for the ultimate spark creating the universe–how different are they really? The Higgs boson findings, coming from within a Judeo-Christian culture, where deep longings of many kinds continue–how much overlay might subconsciously inform the scientific work? Particularly given the season.
A second sensation arises. How much of the work is predicated on finding something–in this case a sub-atomic blur that interrupts a perfect vacuum (if I understand the physics correctly), that would be just enough to spark the construction of quarks, sub-atomic material and on up the chain of physics? All the hopeful eyes are glued on the instruments that would offer a quiver of a reaction if the dear Higgs boson were to flit through the vacuum. Eyes preconditioned to accept only that, ultimately, the universe and truth, are dependent on an event or a thing. What if the longing were the inverse of the “thing” itself, the vacuum, or profound silence, if you will, that must pre-exist outside of all conditions for a first condition to be seen?
It’s not my intent to get too far off into woo woo land here. Words are imperfect, and certainly they are relatively weak indicators for the profound simplicity of silence I’m attempting to convey. I grasped this simplicity of silence through the teachings of one of my root teachers, Robert Hall. Practice with Robert is very much about simplifying, simplifying, simplifying down to bare listening. And sitting with that over time, listening, itself a sensation, a thing, deconstructs. Monkey mind just hates this, it always wants something to keep it jumping. But our hearts dearly love the depth of peace and equanimity that shows up when the chatter stops–if only for a flash, maybe long enough for a boson? Maybe it is this silence, the peace beyond all understanding, that already is/was/will be here, that gently rattles our holiday loving, Higgs boson loving, dear longing selves. We’re just so focused on the boson, we forget what gives it life in the first place.
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light
As an early Holiday treat, I have added Robert Hall’s website found under the “Great Links” button on this page.
May all beings be at peace.
May all beings be at ease.
May lovingkindness infuse our lives.