I started pondering this question early in the 2020 pandemic haze after watching the Netflix Series, “The Messiah.” A friend had recommended it so I dug in one Friday evening when I needed some non-thinking couch time. Surprisingly I found it entertaining and thought provoking, so much for non-thinking. Without going into all the thoughts, I am focusing here on one scene in particular that had a particularly strong impact on me. “The Messiah” was speaking with one of the main characters, who was interviewing him trying to figure out who he was working for. When he insists it was GOD, she becomes frustrated believing he is lying to her. He then quite craftily moves the conversation to her life and how she is “very devoted to her job…” She looks at him confusedly. Some backstory here, she had just undergone an IVF embryo transfer with an embryo made from her deceased husband’s sperm, yet was on a plane shortly after that, darting around the world, working late hours and sometimes forgetting to take her hormone treatment. She ended up having a miscarriage. The Messiah says to her blank face, “Everybody worships. The only choice is what we worship. Some people kneel to money. Some to power, to intellect.“
As a sound healer, I speak about vibration and resonance a lot, and this was one of those moments where I was in full resonance with what he said. It reverberated through my entire body and my mind, knocking around in every cell. Why do I forget this foundational teaching of life? Why am I not more conscious of what I am giving my time to? I’d done some work with a shaman years back and something he taught us was the concept, “Energy flows where attention goes.” This is just another way of saying what “The Messiah” so poignantly alludes to with his statement. “The Messiah’s” word choice however, “everybody worships,” pushed me into a more honest awareness of my values. I was forced to reckon with the fact that how I choose to spend my time is a direct expression of my values. I am someone who appreciates the sacred in life. For me, it can be found in art, nature, love, my breath, well truthfully everything, but when I look at my actions and attention through the lens of devotion, I can see how I am unconsciously worshipping things that are not, in my opinion, worthy of my attention.
When Every Moment is Sacred
In a much longer story, I’d spent years of my life socializing and drinking alcohol with friends before I truly connected with yoga and meditation. When those old behaviors fell away, I found myself acutely aware of the time I felt I’d wasted and wanted to use every moment of my day to soak up life. Every moment was sacred. I felt extremely alive, grateful, was creative, healthy and finding purpose in life. Over time however, that strong connection to the sacred in every moment began to fade. I don’t know why precisely. It’s something I am actively investigating. I do know that I spend more time with my energy focused on things like politics and social media than I’d like to. That’s not to say that those things aren’t necessary or important, but if I am being very honest with myself, I could spend less time with them. I could be more aware of who and what I am listening to, reading, watching, or spending my time with.
It’s a powerful act of self care to recognize that my time and attention is valuable. I would expect this is something many of you can relate to. We all make decisions about how we spend our time, prioritizing one thing over the other for whatever reason on a regular basis. If I pause and truly contemplate the value of my time and attention, it helps me to see where I am unconsciously giving it away. This is not to say that every moment needs to be spent in an awareness of the sacred or that every action or thought is going to feel sacred. I don’t yet know if that’s possible or even desirable, but if any of this strikes a proverbial chord with you, then perhaps there are some aspects of how you are spending your time and attention that would benefit from a redirection toward the sacred. I know that when I was deeply connected to the value of my time and attention, life felt good. That’s not to say that everything was perfect, but I had gratitude for each moment that I was living which somehow helped to make it all more than tolerable.
A Resolution to Value My Time and Attention
As I contemplated another turn in the Gregorian calendar, I couldn’t help but ask myself how I want to be spending my time this year. That’s a vast question to ponder for 365 consecutive days. Sometimes it’s valuable to consider the inverse as well if it feels a bit overwhelming. I knew that I wanted my morning time to be more sacred so I committed to a daily self care practice which I am hoping will help to rewire some of my habits in that regard. I also knew that I wanted to spend less time worrying about things that are out of my control, and to spend more time in the present moment. That means a more careful and conscious digestion of news and social media. How I get there is a work in progress, but if I return to the question of what is valuable to me, what do I worship, and allow that to guide my choices in how I spend my free time when I have it, then I believe I will be setting myself up for a more fulfilling and personally meaningful life. Not to mention that when it comes to reaching goals and accomplishing things, of which I have many, it behooves me to stay aligned and in tune with the actions that will best support my endeavors.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with the words of a much more highly revered writer than myself, the dearly departed David Foster Wallace, whose words express my sentiment in ways I could only aspire. “Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”