Good news mixed with fear

Double-slit experiment

I heard from Chonyi a few days ago.  He had good news.  The Chenpo Terma site we explored in April just one day before the earthquake is intact for now.  The entry to the underground portrait room had been blocked, but a few dedicated and brave individuals, working slowly and in secret as usual, cleared away the collapsed rock and were able to enter once again.  They even returned with the naljorpa who lives nearby to renew the blessings and protections on the site.

This development was so great, but it meant I had to soul-search all over again.  I have been paralyzed, not knowing what to do, or not do.  The location and the secrets behind it and the relic too have been hidden for over three hundred and fifty years.  Events (like the earthquake) and some people’s bad intentions keep conspiring to keep them hidden.  Am I just an overreaching American, a Scooby-Doo style meddler?  People, nice people, are telling me I should let this lie, that I am making things worse – for myself and for their efforts to protect what is precious to them.

Then I turned on Coldplay.  Listened to the song “Fix You.”  “Lights will guide you home,” he crooned.  And yes, tears did stream down my face.

I keep talking about physicists perpetuating dark, insidious theories about reality.   Keep the lights out… just question the darkness!  I preach.  But we are all susceptible to its most basic form.  Everyone experiences fear, some groups just build on it with fancy names and elaborate theories is all.  Others of us conspire with it to hide a tough reality we are reluctant to face.   My Tibetan friends have made a lifetime of commitments over generations to hide the Chenpo Terma, and they are afraid to let go.

Light is bound to reach us in the darkness.  When we wait for it rather than reflexively turning on the self-conscious light of limited understanding, perhaps more so even,  it may pain us, it may surprise us, but it will slowly warm and enliven us again.  Our first thought in this new state should be, If there is a god, it is a Cosmic God.

Personally, my second thought was, Repeat to yourself, mantra-style, The paradox of revealing nothingness. The paradox of revealing nothingness. The paradox of revealing nothingness.

Preferable to The paradox of preaching hypocrisy, which is what I was toying with these last few days.

Ours is a paradox, in which nothingness may be revealed and somethingness is certainly hidden.  I can only promise for now that the motive remains.

Recent events in Tibet that brought me to the Blogosphere

As you probably know, there was an earthquake in eastern Tibet on April 14.  I was there when it hit; north of the epicenter, at a site in Amdo (Qinghai Province).  The exact location of the site, referred to in some legends as the Chenpo Terma, had been a mystery to all but a handful of Tibetans for over 300 years.

I had been to the site only the day before with my travel partners.  The experience was transformative (more – much more – about that later).  No booby traps.  No skeletons.  Technical difficulties were all that vexed us, but that’s common in remote places like the Tibetan Plateau.  We planned to go back the next day better prepared, with our solar camera batteries fully charged, weather cooperating.

The quake hit early the next morning.  We were safe, thank goodness, having camped nearby but (for no particular reason) well away from rock formations that toppled or shifted during the quake.  From what we could tell when we returned to the site, the quake destroyed the only entrance, blocking us from going in again, and may well have destroyed its internal structure.

I have really done a lot of soul searching since then.  I already knew quite a bit about the Chenpo Terma’s history and meaning, but the time I had experiencing it first hand, and nailing down the first glimmer of a coherent physics since then, make me feel determined to not let superstition sway me.   The coincidence of the earthquake the day after our entering the Chenpo Terma was too much for many.  Those who allowed us to visit are questioning everything all over again.  Maybe I should have taken a hint.

There are those, some of whom I do not wish to upset and some I wouldn’t mind a bit upsetting, who take task with me trying to make this common knowledge.  I have come to terms with the fact that I may be betraying the “natural order of things.”  It comes down to the difference of my new view of the natural order of things since.

Continue reading