Dancing and quantum physics, part I

quantum 2There are billions and billions of tiny dancers whirling and twirling inside each of us at any given moment. Those sub-atomic particles that quantum physicists are so fascinated by are constantly in motion – leaping, darting, spinning (Richard Feynman called it jiggling) – in what’s been referred to more than once as a dance.

So if those same particles – the ones that make us up, along with everything else in the universe – originated from the creation of the universe, then dancing is literally part of what we are. It’s a fundamental element of life. A lot of it seems spontaneous, but parts of it might be choreographed, although how and by what isn’t completely understood.

The dance that is constantly going on inside us is what quantum physics attempts to describe even though it can’t be seen. The dancing that we can see – the dancing that goes on outside of us – comes from the same source. It can be graceful and goofy, beautiful and sometimes not, wild and controlled, passionate and disciplined, painful and liberating. It definitely uses and creates energy. And it always, always, comes from the source of life.

Years ago, a friend gave me a plaque with this inscription: Life is not waiting for the storms to pass; it is learning to dance in the rain. At the time, there was a pretty big, pretty dark storm cloud hanging over our family, and I left the plaque where it would remind me every day that the “stuff” of life – the dancing parts – didn’t have to be sacrificed because of the storm. It was a hard lesson to learn, and maybe it’s just me, but I find it’s one I have to constantly re-learn. More than a year after weathering that storm, it struck me that actually, that wasn’t the storm after all. This is. This is the rain we’re meant to dance in. If dancing can only happen when the skies are clear, this world would have ended a split second after it began.

This is one of my favourite passages from Paradoxology by Miriam Therese Winter. I like it as much for the words as for the image it conveys of her talking to her own cells. (Like none of us have ever done that.) I hope it inspires you to join the dance.

Quantum leap. More than metaphor. It is integral to us. It is the reality inside of us, where a universe of activity occurs in every cell of our body every moment of every day. I think about that mysterious realm whenever I am feeling stressed, when I try to keep from jumping to conclusions that do not have a basis in fact. Leaping, jumping electrons are the very substance of who I am. Therefore, cellmates, I say to you, enjoy your slapstick behaviour, while I access the source of restorative stillness that also bubbles up within. Then, when I hear the music of the celestial spheres, I’ll join you in the dancing.


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Wanting to capture the world, one piece at a time.

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