Finally, the Summer fog is in. I didn’t mind the hot weather too much the last few weeks, but these dampened gray mornings suit me better. In the afternoon yesterday, the pug and I headed to the big park and when we laid flat on the grass we could feel the warmth of the sun and avoid the cool wind pushing the clouds back across the city from the sea.
Summer has always been my least favorite season. For me, it is the gloomy season. I have never gotten to the bottom of this pattern of thought. I think it has something to do with missing being in school as a child. Being bored, missing the social interaction of the classroom and the stimulation of learning. When I put myself back there long ago, I lie in my still room feeling the incessant breath of the air conditioner, listening to the mosquito buzz of a lawn mower or a plane chopping through the sky. Everyone elsewhere, everyone gone. It is a weight on my soul, the certain knowledge that humanity splashes gloriously in the warm sunshine as I sit in a prison of tedium.
We all have such stories, and they become what we believe we are. All of these experiences develop patterns of thought and emotion and we think, this is who I am, because of this. I say, I am gloomy when it gets hot out. I say, I tend toward depression in the Summer. I attach myself to that concept, that thing I am, I tell the story, and I get depressed. I attach myself to all the stories of my childhood, the feelings of frustration, the loneliness, the disconnection. Summer is my least favorite season, I say. In Summer, I get depressed.
This is our pattern of living, the pattern of life. First, I feel an emotion. I tell myself the story of the emotion. I berate myself for feeling the emotion. Then, I judge it, see myself as weak for feeling that way. Then I push the emotion away, and find a bunch of ways to distract myself from that feeling. Then, I fall further down again when I fail to avoid the emotion and I lose the battle. Then, it begins all over, the dismay, the judgment, the avoidance, the fall. All of this just keeps the pattern in place, just reinforces it. It is how I am, I say.
For instance: I get depressed in Summer. I tell myself I feel this way because of experiences in my childhood. I tell this story. I judge the emotion. I feel ridiculous for disliking everyone’s favorite season, and I tell myself I am weak for associating Summer with feeling lonely. There must be something wrong with me for being lonely in Summer. If I get up every morning and go out for a bike ride, eat mostly fruit and make myself very busy, then maybe I will avoid feeling depressed. This works for a while, until an afternoon comes when the emotion is unavoidable, the depression falls again, and there it is, that feeling, except now I feel even worse because I tried to avoid it, but failed.
I have been learning the secret to letting this pattern of living go.
The secret is neutrality. When I fall into that still place underneath the ego, underneath Clementine, into what I call the true self, then I see the emotions, the thoughts, the concepts, those building blocks of ego, and I no longer react to them. A feeling of loneliness passes through and I say, ah, loneliness. Let me observe it. I notice that when I feel lonely, there is heat behind my eyes. There is a tightness in my chest I associate with sadness. There is sadness, an aching feeling in my torso. Let me invite this in. Let me feel this fully. When it fills me up, this deep empty pain, I just sit and feel it. I am neutral to it. I can feel it, yet I don’t attach to it. Sometimes I think, maybe I will die if I allow this emotion in fully. It has never come to that. I can always take it, no matter how strong the feeling.
After a while of doing this, keeping myself neutral, just observing emotions, detached from the stories I would normally tell, I start to notice that there is a part of myself where sadness doesn’t exist. I try to call it up, and I can’t find it anymore. It has dispersed. Often, once I allow the emotion in completely, face it and feel it fully, detach from it, then I am amazed to see how quickly it disperses. What is there instead? Sometimes, there is the opposite emotion underneath: lightness, joy.
To these emotions, I am neutral as well. Let me just observe. Let me just sit in this still, peaceful place and let that joy fill me up. I let the tingly sensation of bliss pass through me. Again, I don’t attach. This too will change. This too will not stay. Let me just fall into the infinite consciousness upon which the ego sits, and let me rest in this peace while that joy passes through.
This work is not a breaking of patterns. This is a letting go, a dispersing feeling as intangible and dissolving as the Summer fog at 1PM as it burns off in the heat of the sun.
How freeing it is to just let go. Clementine has all of these struggles, and yet as I let go of Clementine I let go of battle and technique and effort. I fall into the infinite place of no story, no past, present, future. Right here.
I was listening to an interview with Physicist Brian Greene on my favorite podcast On Being. He was speaking about the Higgs Boson, and how reality is created from pressure, from interaction:
… the universe may be filled with an invisible substance called the Higgs Field, and as particles try to burrow through this environment, they feel a kind of resistance, which is where their heft, or their mass comes from. But we have to accept this strange idea that there is this invisible substance that is all around us.
… So, mass comes from an interaction. Exactly right. It’s not something that is just sort of imbued from the get-go, or from the outside. Now, a parable that gives us some sense of how you can take that very strange story and make it seem less strange is to just think of fish in the ocean, or fish in a fish tank. Right there, swimming around, and they’re really not aware that there is a part of the universe that’s not filled with this watery substance. In fact, this water is so familiar to them that that is emptiness, that is their universe.
So there you have some beings that are living within an environment that is suffused with essentially an invisible something, water, and yet, because they’re in it all the time, they don’t know it. We are in the Higgs field all the time, we experience our interaction with it all the time, and that’s why we don’t even know it.
I was thinking about this a lot lately, about how reality is created from force, positive against negative. I was thinking about those concepts. If the positive exists only because of the pressure the negative is applying, then what is negative, really? Doesn’t that make it positive, if its opposition to positive is what allows positive to exist?
I was rolling these things around in my head, and then two days ago, I had a dream. In my dream, I was thinking about this pressure, this force holding everything together and bringing reality into existence. Then, I started to be able to see right into the place where everything meets, the exact line where the force is applied. I was looking at people and things and could see a physical line dividing it all down the middle, where the positive and negative forces meet. I kept looking closer and closer, and suddenly realized that right there, in that place where reality was created, where energy becomes form, in that narrow space of pure pressure, there was no force and no pressure. It was completely free, an open and infinite consciousness that I could feel in my whole being. It was a release, a nothing and an everything. It was as if at the center of all pressure and at the bottom of all reality was total freedom, total peace, devoid of any of this perceived force or battle or however I would describe reality.
In my dream, I opened my eyes and was overwhelmed with the beauty and vividness of the landscape around me. I was laughing, thinking that this had been all around me, this vibrant color, this gorgeous reality, and that I had never really seen it. I was zooming around and brilliant emerald mountains with flowers all over them were flying by and I had never seen such color. I had never felt so free. I woke up joyful.
What is this reality, really? This force of the past pressing in on the present and future, bringing into existence this ego with emotion and thought and creating this edifice I call Clementine, which is continually created and holds itself together with the pressure of concept. Who is telling the story? What happens when I let go of all stories?
My ego tells me, if you let go of these things, this Clementine, the story of Clementine, you will die. When I fall into that infinite spaciousness, that expansive freedom, I ask myself, who is it who dies? When I am in this true self, this light that continues and does not change, then death is yet another concept that blows away with the fog. I choose freedom. At 2PM, the Summer sky is a jewel of blue, a gift for whoever cares to see.
You can hear me read this here: https://soundcloud.com/clemthegreat/summertime-in-the-higgs-field or on my iTunes podcast HERE.