Devotion is a word often associated with such ideas as ardent love, the path of the heart, bhakti yoga and some forms of prayer. It is often tinged with thoughts of idolatry and blind faith – what we might call the dark side of devotion.
But devotion is also a word that means dedication and commitment. It requires trust.
Thus there are many forms of devotion. Love is simply it’s purest, highest form.
Devotion to one’s kin, family, children and mate.
Devotion to truth
Devotion to a work
Devotion to a teaching or belief system
Devotion to an ideal
Devotion to a practice
Devotion to one’s story of the world and self
Devotion to our ego
Most broadly we could say it is something we have sustained throughout many experiences of change. A commitment.
I was reminded of this recently by an old friend. I observed how much more devotional he was than I but he disputed this, observing they were just different forms of devotion, however unintentional.
From a broader picture, from what we might call God’s view, all forms of devotion are just that – seen as a commitment to various forms of love.
This is a valuable insight to gain. If we don’t see the devotion in ourselves and others, we can mistake the motivation. Make the divine wrong.
For example, a man is often raised to play a provider role. Thus he may feel he has to work hard in a job and/or on the home and grounds of the family. Similarly, a woman may work overly hard on the living space and on child care in addition to her work role. In many relationships these roles are mostly unconscious. Not only do the players not recognize the roles they are playing but with slight variations in upbringing, their partners even less. The players feel they are doing their best and are unappreciated yet at the same time are not able to recognize the contribution the partner is working towards.
With both sides not recognizing either the role they are playing nor the role their partner is playing, there is a major disconnect and lots of dissatisfaction.
Becoming more conscious is of course the solution. We can see the role we’re playing and perhaps adjust it. We can also communicate it. Seeing those roles as a form of devotion reframes it considerably, placing the mundane into the profound. It also opens us to the love that is present within ourselves.
From divinity, all forms of devotion are an expression of love, however unconscious it is. That’s the beauty of real love. It is unconditional. But so much richer when it is conscious.