The Daily Stoic for April 29th. “Washing Away The Dust Of Life”.
“Watch the stars in their courses and imagine yourself running alongside them. Think constantly on the changes of the elements into each other, for such thoughts wash away the dust of earthly life.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.47
I love slow music. Stars of the Lid, Tangerine Dream, the most ambient albums from Sigur Ros… The first time you listen to Zeit, a Tangerine Dream double album from 1972 composed of four 20-minute songs, you may think that the music never changes.
Nothing further from the truth. There’s something happening there. Only, it’s happening too slowly for you to notice that first time.
Once you get to know the music better, and invest some time -actively- listening to it, you realize the masterpiece that lies within. The same happens with albums like “The tired sounds” of Stars of the Lid, or “()” by Sigur Ros.
When I turned 30, I decided to tour Iceland, traveling through the ring road with a jeep. One of the best experiences of my life was reaching the edge of the Vatnajökull glacier. There, if you close your eyes and spend some time listening, you can actually hear the glacier and the ice advancing… at a glacial pace… Just like the music I mentioned before.
Washing Away The Dust Of Life
This same metaphor also applies to the movements of the stars that Marcus Aurelius mentions. Probably all generations think the same, but in today’s world, we live in a constant mad rush.
At least in my case, sometimes this race to nowhere makes me forget how small and insignificant our problems are… And how big they conversely seem to us.
Lately, I’ve been under a lot of stress due to a new project I am starting. That’s one of those situations when my problems seem to creep up on me and pile up until I feel overwhelmed. Today, putting everything in perspective, and understanding how small we all really are has helped me look at things differently.
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, centuries, millennia… time is so relative. I am alive now, and can afford to look at the stars and think how lucky I am from time to time… I should be glad for that.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Washing Away The Dust Of Life”, brought a deeply needed perspective to things in my life. Sometimes, our little woes seem so big… They overwhelm us. Having a look at the stars, thinking about ho small we are, helps us look at things under a different light.