It takes a lot to pay close attention today. With the buzz of media and constant input from humans, there are very few spaces of quiet. Even now, as you are sitting down to read, stop and look around at what calls for your attention.
The outside? Your inside? The great noise of the past? The sharp inhale of the future?
While it is celebrated to have your attention split and held in various directions, it can also be exhausting and confusing. As though it were an unwinnable competition. You always miss something.
Worse yet, you might feel bad that you’re missing out on something.
But we can’t keep up with it all. Doom scrolling is not a path to beauty or hope.
In this ever-present descent, can we turn our ear to the great experience?
Navigating the Everyday Descent
When in doubt, call to Inanna to aid with your attention. Call to the one of charm and stealth, to the one who may have known all along that things were going to work out. Though probably not the details of her story’s conclusion.
From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below
From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below
From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below.
–Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer
Inanna did not have to contend with social media and computers in our pockets or on our wrists. Those were not the layers she left on her way to the underworld.
But if we are eager to turn our ear to something beyond what is clamoring for our attention, I might offer the shedding is the perfect metaphor and a timely sacrifice. A making sacred of your attention.
Turn your ear.
Let Go and Listen
I invite you to step to the gates and let the guards know you are on your way to something different, a new kind of attention and intention.
Leave your expectations, your stories, your wishes, your need to be seen, your desire to be loved from the outside, your fear that you’re not worthy, and your worry about the next day. Leave it all. Leave more. Do not turn around to see what has dropped. Do not remember their names and their weight.
Leave them at the gates. Drop them from your shoulders and your joints.
The ways of your perception are not perfect. They should be questioned.
Let yourself be struck down by the eye of knowing. And dissolve into a place of waiting for the right time to be resurrected.
Because you will be. The flies will find you. Someone is banging the drum for you.
And if you haven’t already and want to know more, read Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer. Again and again.