Mention devotion and it conjures up all kinds of images of subservient followers bowing down to a person, or a God, and maybe thoughts of cults come to mind. Especially in the West, where individuality and self-promotion are the marks of success, devotion is just ridiculed. Devotees are seen as weak, feeble-minded, and submissive because too often devotion is defined as obedience to the will of another. This is an unfortunate contextualization within an all-too egoic framework.
Devotion enters our psyche when we see something bigger than ourselves. The problem is that most people stop right there, as they idolize a guru, a holy person, a spiritual master, a God, or whatever the case may be. And they think they need to submit themselves accordingly. But devotion is not about someone else, it’s about ourselves. True devotion has never been about the object of devotion. It’s all about what is happening inside as we transform ourselves from within.
What if we don’t see one object as bigger than ourselves, but everything as bigger. What if we see anything as bigger than what we take ourselves to be. A tree – revere it. An animal – revere it. Another person – revere them. Water, the air, food – all are revered. Can you begin to see the paradigm shift of true devotion? Is there any weakness or submission? No, there is courageous humility. There is another level of intelligence beyond the mental intellect.
Just look at anything – any aspect of life. It’s chock-full of mystery. Science is always at a frontier – is science today diminished from a hundred years ago? No, it’s swelled to whole new areas never before imagined. There is more to study in Science than there are scientists, than the funding can possibly cover. When every aspect of life is that expansive, beyond our understanding, it is not bigger than this little mind and body? Is everything not worthy of devotion? Is the unbelievable profundity of existence itself not worthy for us to bow down to?
In fact, in the truest sense of devotion, we are actually devoted to ourselves and to a mystical process of internal evolution. The guru, the master, the teacher – they are facilitators, their role is to point and guide. True spiritual teachers do not need your devotion.
Devotion is that which is devoid of you. When all of creation is seen as an expression of the divine, and you become a part of life simply unfolding, not a personality set apart as “me, me, me…” then that is devotion. When life flows through you without resistance, that is devotion.
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