Saturday, April 16, 2011

When the Sirens call- for a friend

"First of all thou shalt come to the Sirens, who bewitch all men with their singing. For whoever cometh nigh to them, and listeneth to their song, he seeth not wife or children any more; for the Sirens enchant him, and draw him to where they sit, with a great heap of dead men's bones about them," writes Homer in The Story of Odyssey.

Stories of resisting forbidden knowledge, of the things we are not meant to know, call us as the Sirens called the sailors of ancient Greece. We so believe that these passions are worth knowing even if they mean the end of everything we know. This powerful call is a distraction. The feelings you have of doubt and guilt advise you wisely to turn away. We call it our heart and our head, but it is a lure as old as time. Some things we are not meant to know or at least are not worth the price.

The absorption of every fiber of our being into some glimmering mirage of unreality distracts us from the very moment we are living. When you are thinking of some far away place, you are not here. When you are here and in this moment, you have let go of the siren's call; you are present to life.

"Friends, it is not well that one or two only should know the things that Circe prophesied to me. Therefore I will declare them to you, that we may know beforehand the things that shall come to pass, and so either die or live," said Odysseus to his men.

"Letting go?" my friend asks. "How do you do that?" My husband says, "Free will is our greatest gift." Exercising our free will is difficult. When we do not exercise our will, when we do not listen to the nagging guilt, we get the foretold ending- the heap of bones. This is the mess we make of our lives when we do not put the wax in our ears, or when we do not have our shipmates lash us ever tighter to the mast. Our very pain in the moment is a wild scream to us to resist despite the lure. The sirens' call is a fallacy or else it would not be so painful. Yes, this siren's call is strong and hard to resist. Let it go.

See the moment here before you, be here. Feel this moment. The very act of letting go is being present to the moment you are in now, here. Odysseus' story does not end with resisting the call of the Sirens; it goes on and on as the adventure of life does. You will go on, there will be another monster, another tight spot. You are not there, you are here so be here, be present. Battle the monster before you, not the sirens ahead of you. Life is hard when you forget now and go into the future or even the past.

Regrets are about not being present to this moment in life. There are many forks in the road, but those turns are in the past. Here, this road before you, this is the one you are on and so it is the one that matters here and now in the present.

This morning the mule told me, "you need to add a taste of spring to your body." I asked her, "Who said that?" "My teacher," she replied. Apparently grown ups need to do this more than second graders, but the teacher urged them to do it too. I think it is a good suggestion as it is spring now. Add some spring to your body, exercise your free will, and I'll be right over to tie you to the mast.