Devotion is potentially a controversial word for some that might conjure up undertones of, on one hand, religion and dogma or something like blind obedience, and on the other hand there could be some dismissiveness around it, rolling eyes and patronising sneers.
I have known both sides of judgment and have had to learn to honour the extraordinary beauty of what devotion has opened me up to in my life.
But before that happened i had to pass through the resistance of what i believed prayer was, of the bad taste religious ignorance has left me with, and of the submissive connotation the word had entailed.
I too was sceptical at the authenticity of those that bowed deep, hands folded in front of them, to a god or a guru. I had seen too many empty ceremonies, habitually going through the motions of faithfulness without the presence of sanctity. Similarly i thought it embarrassing when a disciple would fling himself at the feet of his master, promising to give himself completely to his grace.
I was not able yet to know the difference between “belief” and “religiousness”. I put them all in one pot, that i wanted nothing to do with.
And then I experienced devotion. Correction, i think i have experienced it many times before but i did not recognise it as such and when i did i was quick to shrug it off like a nuisance that i secretly felt ashamed of.
Today devotion is a fundamental part of my life, that deeply humbles me again and again. It shows up in the pouring out of an overflowing heart, in the deep gratitude of the ordinary and the extraordinary, in the grace and flawlessness of life’s contradictions, in the surrender to that which is greater then, and yet includes me.
I have opened in devotion to the awe of nature, to several masters, to the landscapes of music, to dance, to a lover, to the depth of grief, to the great unknown.
Its an ongoing love affair it seems that widens and deeps with time. It has instilled an enormous sense of trust in me that life is benevolent and that when surrender can happen, all is well.
Even now, reading back these written words I can see that without having experienced this phenomena i would frown at the corniness, rendering the writer airy and exaggerated.
The truth is, there is something very tangible and grounding in devoutness, despite its enigmatic nature.
It is also true that one can absolutely use devotion to spiritual bypass the human experience, or cling on tightly to anything that is not earthy and worldly as not to have to face the suffering and despair also present in this human experience. It is easy to disregard our personal power and capacity for change, giving it up to a “mystical father” or other deities in order not to have to take full responsibility for ourselves.
This, to me, is not a devotion rooted in everyday life, which carries a danger of giving up ones transformative agency. The earthly can thereby be postponed and rejected for the heavenly and with this rejection suffering will be created, making it a vicious spiral in which god and i are separate and thus we dismiss our own natural perfection.
I guess that devotion shows up in different ways for each one of us and in different moments and forms, but i believe that in it´s nature, the experience of devotion should be one we can integrate into our daily lives. Not one that is confined to churches and temples and is reserved for gods and gurus.
If we can recognize the godliness in the ground we walk on, in each other, in the cup of tea we slurp in the morning and the spider crawling over our toes, then spirit is not something separate from ourselves that we need to pray for or too.
It becomes an integral part of us, one that carries us through challenging phases and raises us beyond our limited perception.
A grounded devotion is where we can meet god in the marketplace and we know that i and he and it, is all one.
Have a beautiful day,
Co-Founder of DIMA Mallorca, a Centre for Conscious Living, Mallorca, ES
& Holistic Counsellour