Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Lightning Paths

The Lightning Paths
Before lightning strikes
feeders unseen to the ordinary I
travel possible paths through the air
to find the right way to bolt to earth.
Before the secret green cells in the leaf
drink from its suncatchers, light walks
all paths through the protein scaffold.
Scientists say that any road taken
collapses all possible paths.
In the leaf, in the air, in a human span
no road, perhaps, is entirely untaken.

If our lives are gardens of forking paths
what happens when we take one branch
with the definite body? Do possible selves
travel on along all the possible paths?
Can we meet each other?
Can the branching paths rejoin?

In default mode I departed a mental map
and followed a road I thought I had left
towards an old place. When I saw my error
I thought at least I was on familiar ground
on my ghost trail. I bulled across many lanes
to make an utterly wrong turn and did not see
I was speeding the wrong way on the Royal Road
until I met a familiar, a bull on a steakhouse sign.
It's not so easy to get back on a road you left.

To get my head around this
I'll go on a quantum walk tonight.
Like light in the leaf, like lightning's feeders,
we try all paths in our dreams.
When we are witness to ourselves
we can change the default mode
and weave the many roads into the right one.

- Mountain View, California, January 18, 2009
Comment: Suncatchers and Quantum Beating
Recent research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that the marvelous speed and efficiency with which green plants transfer solar energy from surface receptors to molecular centers that convert it into chemical energy is the result of a process of "quantum beating". In the presence of light, oscillations are triggered in the plant that explore all possible paths between receptor and converter simultaneously and reversibly (meaning they can retreat without penalty from a wrong path). These many wavelike probes collapse into a single movement, observible only through electronic spectroscopy that can measure events in femtoseconds (millionths of a billionth of a second). A report on the Berkeley Lab findings was published by Graham Fleming et al in the April 12, 2007 issue of Nature.


Robyn said...

Fascinating post, Robert!

In the midst of ancestral explorations, I dreamed last night that I could enter my "past" in a simple though precise way, by walking backwards down the steps of a familiar-feeling house porch and concentrating on two things. 1. I could not LOOK behind me with my physical eyes. I had to move wholly by my inner vision and trust; and 2. I had to be fully aware of the number of steps I took. I awoke feeling focused on a direct way of entering pathways through reversal. I'll be doing more exploration with this, and the image of many converging paths.


diane said...

Robyn, I wonder if the importance of counting the steps you take down is so that you will know how many you need to take to come back to this present life; and also to have "roadmaps" of how many steps to take to get to differing pathways. Fascinating!

Robert Moss said...

Hi Robyn: I'm intrigued by your dream-gifted practice of "stepping back" into the past. I've experimented with something similar in group work in which we picture ourselves "stepping back" into the life experience of previous generations of our families, through the bloodlines, stepping into the life of father/mother, then grandfather/grandmother and as many steps back as feels right. In journeying back into one's personal past, however, I tend to favor going with (inner) eyes forward, traveling upstream above the river of life.

Robyn said...

Diane, your idea about the possibilities of roadmaps and step counting gives me lots of think about and play with. Thanks so much!

Robert, I was tuned into my grandmother's world in the dream rather than my personal past, and the stepping back felt right. What you say about going upriver into one's personal past does feel intuitively right for that. I wonder why the difference. Maybe it helps to avoid getting "caught back" in one's memories. I'll explore this more!

diane said...

The experiences I've had of stepping into what may be ancesteral spaces tend to come when I'm looking at their picture or thinking of them with a feeling/sense of them. Then it is rather like watching a movie while being inside the movie, sometimes detailed, sometimes more diffuse. When this happens, it doesn't feel like past events but more like something that is still occuring now somewhere in time and space...It's a strange sensation. I haven't really had a set intention or questions, just a focus on the person and an open-ness to join with them.