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Undeniably the Night Sky, a Dream

A dream on the night of 08/12/2017

By James Wadman


In the city, it is believable that the sky we see is merely a curtain of haze permeated by only our closest celestial neighbors. In August, we see Jupiter rise first and Saturn closest to the moon. As the nights get darker, we will see the big dipper pointing toward the north star. Dominant is the amber glow cast by streetlights and industries that never sleep. It is as if the night sky we see in the city is more so a reflection of ourselves and the decision we made to turn inward, rather than gazing through our window to the universe above.

In my dream, I followed a map to where the trees cleared and the sky revealed the moon, the animated stars, and the dust of our galaxy. It was apparent that I was not in the city

“Stand here,” I was told, seeing only a man’s finger pointing to a spot on the map.

I took one more step forward. The sky darkened into a nearly colorless shade of blue. The stars became brighter, perhaps even closer. It was then that I remembered what the man had told me about this place on the map:

“Here you will see what is undeniably the night sky.”

He was right: I could see into the universe as if I was witnessing the birth of stars with the naked eye. I could see our galaxy breathe, the dust coalescing into pink and golden stars. I saw the moon, the planets, even the nebulas, as if they were just out of my fingers’ reach.

I sat there for a moment before I noticed clouds began to form on the distant horizon. It began to snow and the sky was colored by the familiar amber glow of city lights.

There is no deeper meaning here, except to say that the universe is out there.

Something more amazing, something worth fighting for, something worth believing in, is always out there one step beyond your perception.

It is up to you to take the steps necessary to reveal the value in living by following the pursuit of wonder.

 

-Jw

 

Image taken on a late night in Yosemite. See more pictures of Yomsemite on my instagram. 

A Raindrop Falls to Beethoven’s 5th

By James Wadman

Many people doubt our significance in this vast universe, and for good reason. I discuss this subject on and off from different attitudes because it is important to weigh both our significance and insignificance when making important decisions in life. My overall opinion on the matter is no secret, and has remained relatively constant for the last few years: I think of the entire spectrum of conscious, human life on earth with the analogy of a raindrop on its descent to the ground. If some tiny world in this raindrop suddenly gained consciousness, does it have any effect on the storm? No, it will simply carry on its transient journey until it becomes a splash in a puddle.

Insignificant, yes. Grim even, perhaps. However, something occurred to me the other day that fits into this narrative and provides a bit of hope to the tiny world on its descent to the ground. Consider a timeless piece of music — Beethoven’s 5th comes immediately to mind, not a symphony I particularly love but one that is incredibly meaningful to our world. Society seldom questions its cosmic significance because its value to mankind is indisputable. Therefore, Beethoven’s 5th has unquestionable value, and this will remain true for the entire existence of humanity.

So I ask those of you who interpreted the raindrop analogy as grim, does the fate of the raindrop matter if our tiny world carries its own significance throughout the descent? We derive meaning not from where we are going, but through the value in our lives at every moment getting there. Just as no one doubts the significance of Beethoven’s 5th to humankind, no one doubts their own significance in life when they are actually out there living.

I unearthed a quote from my novel, Diamondis, recently that captures my opinion on this perfectly:

“The realization of our meaningless can be told in a word, a sentence at the most. Our story rarely revolves around the realization itself. However, the descent to this realization is lush with poetry. The beauty is the descent.”

This quote comes from a discussion between the main characters, Tomas and Julia, trying to debunk the perceived meaninglessness of life by nihilistic philosophers. So there — my views on our insignificance are in fact very optimistic. I like to live lightly and make decisions based on the immediate happiness of myself and my loved ones. And, just a bit of off-topic advice to go along with this, it is always important to find the balance between the aforementioned “immediate happiness” and what will provide you with lasting happiness. When making big decisions in life, ask yourself, will this bring me happiness now? Then, will this bring me happiness for days to come? People often neglect one of the two questions — if you can’t answer yes to both, you might want to dig harder for the opportunity.

This Moment

There are times in our lives when it is necessary to take a moment to breathe slowly, to reflect on where we are and where we are headed. Ironically, these are the times when patience is most difficult. When we so deeply want to move forward, it is easy to miss the value in stasis.

What are your goals in life? Do you wish for permanence or for tranquility in the moment? Are you in search of laughter or something deeper? Are you just trying to get by? Will you be content looking back at your life, knowing you only tried for moderate satisfaction?

These are the questions that arise during slow breaths, when the world spins around you. It is necessary to be okay with these moments because, just like the risks we take and the long hours of working hard to achieve your goals, these moments help to illustrate the reach of your dreams.


“This Moment” was a quick thought that came to me as I was listening over to the mastered version of my new song, “Bridge to Permanence.” If you are visiting my blog on a computer browser, it is likely that you are listening to Bridge to Permanence playing in the background. If not, you can catch it on YouTube or Soundcloud.

Piano Rift – Slow, Still Moments

“I have learned that there exist slow, almost still moments in life,” Tomas said. “I think time in the winter is more significant, as if it’s more pronounced or more valued because the time we spend is either more solitary if we are alone or closer to the ones we love if we are in love. The best of things happen in the winter, not the things that offer us the most satisfaction, but the things that are simply meant to happen.”

-James Wadman, from Diamondis

If the winter had its own sound, to me it would resemble Piano Rift. This is the first song I ever wrote when learning the piano. To be honest, I actually wrote the main chord progression before I had much of a clue about playing piano at all. However, I corrected many parts about the chords, the arpeggios, and the strings on the long road to completion.

Piano Rift fits into the parts of my book I characterize with the “slow almost still” moments of winter. As Diamondis describes, winter is the home of many significant moments in life — not necessarily the best, but the moments that are meant to happen. Piano Rift, to me, is a song that was simply meant to happen. I hope the chords take you back to the feeling of childhood, pleasant walks in your neighborhood, or they serve as respite from a challenging day.

Listen to Piano Rift

Buy Diamondis (iBooks)

Buy Diamondis (Amazon)

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As long as the universe exists, there is something to be created and something to be explored. James Wadman
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