In Homer’s Odyssey, the Sirens sing in the sweetest, most beguiling voices to lure sailors to their death.
Everyday there are thousands of beguiling voices using ever cleverer ways to attract us eg. with humor, drama, friends, protest, shock, envy. Attention determines what we will be conscious of at any given moment. What we are conscious of is our experience of reality. Our attention is therefore the basis of our experience of life.
Do we really want to allow our existence to be at the mercy of whoever is most able to grab our eyes and ears? Most commercial messages are aimed at getting us to buy something and therefore draw us to what we supposedly lack or need. We will constantly look for what we can do or buy to make up for our imperfections. If our attention is on what we don’t have, then our lives will always be about what is missing.
When we become aware of where we direct our attention and of the fickleness of living a life dictated by whichever company or individual has the sweetest siren call, we take a giant step towards mental freedom. Awareness of our personal choice in what we attend to, what we believe and what messages we absorb is enough to diffuse the power. Gently bringing our attention to how we are already complete, frees up our mental space for unlimited creativity instead of desperate consumption.
Odysseus had his men strap him to the mast so that although he could hear the sirens’ songs, he could not throw himself into the water and to his death. We don’t need to strap ourselves to masts. We can simply be mindful.